Saturday, September 27, 2008

Morocco shuts sixty Muslim schools

Authorities in Morocco have shut down about 60 Qur'anic schools belonging to a Muslim theologian who argues that girls as young as nine can marry. The authorities also plan to close down the internet site on which Sheikh Mohamed Ben Abderrahman Al-Maghraoui decreed earlier this month that the marriage of nine-year-old girls is allowed by Islam.

The sheikh said his decree was based on the fact that the Prophet Mohammad consummated his marriage to his favourite wife when she was that age.

Lawyers, the media, and finally Muslim scholars rounded on Maghraoui for effectively seeking to legalise paedophilia.

The authorities finally took action on Wednesday, shutting down his headquarters in Marrakesh and dozens of his small Qur'anic schools dotted around the country.

"The internet site '' is going to be closed, while the headquarters of the Mohamed Maghraoui association in Marrakesh and his 'Qur'anic Houses' have already been closed," a security official said.

Sheikh Maghraoui's 'fatwa' or religious decree was condemned on Sunday by Morocco's top body of Islamic scholars. The High Council of Ulemas, which is presided over by Morocco's King Mohammed VI, labelled the sheikh an "agitator" and denounced his "utilisation of religion to legitimise the marriage of nine-year-old girls".

Rabat-based lawyer Mourad Bekkouri filed a complaint against Maghraoui and his fatwa earlier this month in which he said the decree damaged children's rights by increasing the risk of rape.

He said the theologian is undermining Islam and its followers and that he had requested the state prosecutor to speed up the case.

In related developments, Al-Ahdath Al-Maghribiya newspaper reportes that a Religious Ministry official has been fired in Marrakech for not catching al-Maghraoui's contentious fatwa.

None of the newspapers named their sources and Moroccan officials could not be reached Friday for comment. However the lawyer, El Bekkouri, confirmed the media reports.

Al-Maghraoui was not immediately available for comment, but his Web site appeared to be accessible from outside Morocco.

Several newspapers reported that al-Maghraoui's religious schools and his Web site were funded by Saudi Arabia, which promotes a particularly rigorous strain of Islam known as Wahhabism. Since suicide bombings in Casablanca in 2003 Morocco has been deeply concerned about rising levels of extremism, and in particular the Wahhabi schools set up by Saudi Arabian-funded preachers.



Adilski said...

Morocco shuts sixty "Muslim" school??

Anonymous said...

Yes, sixty.

mikemathew said...

There is much anxious anticipation of circumcision at the age of puberty, because the initiand is increasingly aware of his own sexuality and needs also to demonstrate his bravery and honor. The adults talk a lot about the fearsomness of the circumciser and make frightening remarks right up to the time of the event, which in some causes is semi-public, although it is more and more often performed in a clinic or hospital. In any event, there is much festivity, with music, special foods, and many guests. While the actual event is taking place, one may hear praise of God, partly, as some observers have suggested, to drown out the boy's cries. But the procedure is relatively safe, and those whom perform it are usually trained and experienced.
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Unknown said...

After reading your comment, I was questioning the role of religion. Do you ever feel that religion is being used to explain actions that are not religiously based?

Anonymous said...

Hello to all of you. Nice website. One question though: What has mike mathew's comment to do with the article. It doesn't make sense to me. The article is about a radical fatwa by a pedofile and mike talks about circumcision... It really doesn't make sense to me.