A pair of prominent Islamist politicians in Morocco who preached and advocated for chastity were allegedly caught having sex on a beach located 40 miles south of the capital city of Rabat.
According to the New York Post, Moulay Omar Benhammad, 63, and Fatima Nejjar, 62, were allegedly found in a “sexual position” inside a Mercedes Benz, police said.
The male and female duo, who both serve as vice presidents of Morocco’s Islamic Unity and Reform Movement (MUR) – which is the ideological wing of the Islamic Justice and Development Party (JDP) – could face punishment for the crime of adultery.
Benhammad is reportedly a married man and has seven children with his current wife. He is also a professor of Islamic Studies at the Faculty of Arts in Rabat. He was charged with attempted corruption. Nejjar, who is widowed, has six children and was reportedly booked for complicity to adultery. The Post notes that in the past, Nejjar urged female students not to give in to “temptation and vice.”
Nejjar has reportedly also lectured on the virtues of remaining faithful and pure, and has spoken out against promiscuity, suggesting those are against the tenants of Islam.
The Post notes that Benhammad said he and Nejjar live together in a common-law marriage and that his wife does not want him prosecuted for adultery.
A statement issued by MUR’s chairman Abderrahim Chikhi on Tuesday indicates that the executive board has accepted the “resignation of the sister Fatima Nejjar.” Benhammad has reportedly also been ousted from the group.
According to Moroccan publication TelQuel, former and first-ever MUR President Raissouni Ahmed issued a statement following the couple’s arrest, suggesting they were merely being smeared ahead of the October legislative elections. The couple was released the next day. Further, Ahmed seemed to defend the couple’s actions, reportedly stating that the “Islamic couple” was together in their vehicle to discuss their plans to convince their families about their wedding plans.
Ahmed also wrote in his statement that Benhammad and Nejjar “had been hounded for weeks by the authorities who wanted to win a victory over the Islamists.”
According to Article 490 of Morocco’s penal code, “[A]ll persons of the opposite sex who are not related by marriage, and have sexual relations with each other, are punishable by imprisonment for one month to one year.”
The duo is reportedly set to go on trial on September 1.
Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz.