JAFFA, Israel – The Islamic movement of Morocco, the ruling Justice and Development Party, has decided to expel two senior officials, a man and a woman, who were reportedly discovered being intimate in a car near a beach.
The two were accused by police of committing an “obscene act and cheating on their partners.” The officials were on their way to a party-related event when they stopped across from the beach.
In its decision to expel them, the party claimed they had broken the ethics code of the organization, particularly considering the fact that they told police in their defense that they were engaged in a civil marriage, a practice that is unrecognized in Moroccan law and rejected by the movement, which views marriage as a matter of Islamic law.
The news of their expulsion sparked significant controversy in the country due to their senior positions in the party, which is very popular in the North African nation. The party said that the expulsion “comes after a hearing process held for the two.”
In an official announcement, the party also said that it “rejects the institution of civil marriage” and the party stance on marriage is “only with the procedures prescribed by law.” These legal procedures are monopolized by Sharia law in Morocco.
In light of the controversy, human rights activists and organizations demanded that Moroccan parliamentarians act to cancel article 490 of the criminal law in the country that forbids sexual acts outside of marriage. Opponents claim that as long as the sexual acts occur between two adults in joint agreement, forbidding such acts constitutes an invasion of privacy.
These organizations launched a petition to change the law, which they say allows for the pursuit of public officials and others for relationships characterized by mutual agreement. According to them, hundreds such cases occur in Morocco, in which the law is enforced without any logic.
The law “contradicts Morocco’s obligations in regards to the charter of human rights and especially the flagrant violation of individual liberties,” said the groups.