Morocco has added itself to the list of farcical counties in the Middle East with two women prosecuted for wearing skirts. Morocco has a significant population of modern and secular Muslims but also has a growing influence of Islamic advocates demanding greater criminalization of immoral and anti-Islamic conduct. In this case, a market trader told police that there were two women wearing skirts and a crowd formed calling for their arrest in Inezgane last month.
Secular activists have launched a petition to call for the charges to be dropped against the two women, 23 and 29. Indeed, some women have taken to mini-skirts in a unique form of protests.
Prosecutors however insist that wearing a skirt is an act of “public obscenity” that can result in up to two years in jail. The court will rule on July 13th.
It is ironic that Muslim countries often portray the United States as obsessed with sex but these actions suggest the inverse. Sharia courts and morality codes in these countries show a preoccupation with women and sexual relations — as well as a palpable fear over the impact of women being allowed to dress and move freely in their society. It is particularly distressing to see such prosecutions in Morocco, which has a significant modern, educated, and secular population. I continue to believe that the natural progression of humanity is toward more freedom and equality. Countries like Morocco hold the greatest promise for such advancement — as did Turkey before the takeover by Islamic parties.
On the other end of the bizarre spectrum is a French school telling a Muslim student that her shirt was too long. I find both efforts to control the fashion choices of women to be ridiculous and an infringement of individual expression.