Politics and LGBTQ people of Morocco: When politically sponsored hate-speech threatens Moroccan’s sexual and gender minorities.

Is it the trend in Morocco for LGBTQ+ people to be the punching bag of politicians? Last year, after the scandalous statement made by the Moroccan Human Rights Minister, Dr. Mustapha Ramid in 2017 tagging LGBTQ+ people as “scums” in a response to a journalist’s question; former Prime Minister of Morocco, Abdelilah Benkirane has recently made frivolous and threatening statements and call for actions against the Moroccan sexual and gender minorities.

queer people exclusion

On the 6th August 2018, in a conference meeting with the youth members of his Islamist Political Party, Mr. Benkirane, taking reference out of the Koran, called the Moroccan LGBTQ+ people as “infidels” and questioned their faith and beliefs towards the Islamic religion. With the same momentum, Mr. Benkirane asked the audience to take a stand against queer Moroccans in denying equal rights and freedoms for LGBTQ+ people of Morocco. This statement from Morocco former Prime Minister, not only attempts to shun LGBTQ+ Moroccans outside of the sphere of their spirituality and religious belief; but is also an attack and threat to both the existence and safety of queer Moroccans.

Morocco’s Former Prime Minister, Mr. Abdellilah Benkirane

The politically and religiously motivated hate speech, without doubt, exposes once more the LGBTQ+ individuals of Morocco to additional risks of social rejection, prejudice and physical, emotional and verbal assaults in both private and public spheres of their life.

While the majority of local LGBTQ+ activists and individuals in Morocco condemn the politically motivated hate speech, some others tried to establish a positive perspective in the statements of Morocco former Prime Minister for the lack of visibility of LGBTQ+ Moroccans. For instance, the Moroccan gay-androgynous Hiba commented: “It was awful what he said, but it’s like that first match that would shed lights on us.”

anti-sodomy law enforced

Hate speech towards sexual and gender minorities of Morocco are frequent; more to it since the existence and enforcement of Article 489 of the Penal Code of Morocco which considers homosexual acts as a criminal offence under the term “lewd or unnatural acts with an individual of the same sex” and that is punishable with 6 months to 3 years of imprisonment and a fine ranging from 200 to 1,000 Moroccan Dirhams (20 to 100 USD).

About the author

Jamal Malek is a Moroccan youth LGBTIQ+ activist and human rights advocate. He is a sexual health advisor for MSM persons at ALCS (Association de Lutte Contre le Sida) as well as ACEF’s general secretary and board member. Jamal is also a member of the African Queer Youth Initiative.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the position of the African Queer Youth Initiative.