Morocco: Ruling PJD in a Sticky Situation over Sexual Scandal

mur-partyThe Party for Justice and Development, at the helm of the Moroccan Government since 2011, and its religious and ideological arm, the Movement for Unification and Reform (MUR,) found themselves in a sticky situation after a sexual scandal shattered them.

Actually, shocking revelations surfaced over the weekend when two Vice-Presidents of MUR were caught Saturday at dawn by a police patrol having sexual intercourse in a car, parked near the Mansouriah beach, at a few KMs from Casablanca. They are facing charges of marital infidelity and adultery, that Moroccan law punishes from one month to one year in prison.

The MUR two executives were brought to justice, the day following their arrest. The attorney released them on bail pending their trial set for September 1, 2016.

The case of the two lovers, Moulay Omar Benhamad and Mrs Fatima Nejjar, respectively first and second Vice-President of MUR, triggered an uproar on social networks, not because Moroccans are prudish, but because the culprits incarnate Tartuffe, Molière’s religious hypocrite.

Social networks users circulated a video of Fatima Nejjar, dating back to 2011, showing her advising young students to be virtuous and not to yield “to temptation and vice.”

Fatima Nejjar, a 62-year old widow and mother to six, was also filmed giving religious lectures, wherein she criticizes extra-marital love affairs and advises her audience to be virtuous. After her own adultery affair surfaced, several videos of her righteous lectures were posted on social networks.

Other users recalled Benhamad’ s equally orthodox stands, as when he  published “a fatwa” on the official website of the MUR in 2013 declaring that “The exaggerated exchange of words of love between a husband and wife on social networks, mainly Facebook, is not recommended and could even be considered haram (a sin).” According to the hypocritical philosophy of this university professor and PhD.holder in Islamic Studies, exchange of words of love between legitimately married couples is a sin, but having an extra-marital affair is not.

Benhamad, 63, married and father to seven children, who doubles as a Friday prayers preacher, was also recorded strongly denouncing, in a sermon in 2003, the proliferation of depravity on beaches and the spread of prostitution. In other sermons, he fiercely denounced adultery and praised moral rectitude and probity that all good Muslims should observe.

What is even more scandalous in the attitude of this “good Muslim” is that his lover is the widow of his close friend, Abdeljalil Al Jasni, who passed away in 2015. This goes beyond understanding!

In their attempt to escape legal pursuits, the two lovers told the investigators that they were actually husband and wife under a customary marriage contract, an undocumented marriage that is not recognized under Moroccan laws. The judge can add lying charges to cheating and adultery.

According to an analyst, this sex scandal has exposed the duplicity of the moralizing discourse of the MUR and PJD leaders and revealed that their righteousness is just a window dressing through which the Islamist movement seeks to gain undue respect.

What is sure is that these Islamists have become proponent of “Do as I say, not as I do.”

About Geraldine Boechat 2180 Articles
Senior Editor for Medafrica Times and former journalist for Swiss National Television. former NGO team leader in Burundi and Somalia