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Saturday, 21 March 2009

Gay seminar stirs outrage in Morocco

Outrage swept across Morocco following a gay association's announcement of a planned seminar on sexual problems.

The seminar entitled "Gender and Sexuality," is set to be held in April and will tackle sensitive issues that people are too shy to discuss for religious and social reasons, said Mariam Benebodallah, media spokesperson for the Moroccan homosexual association Kif Kif.

"The seminar will host experts and lecturers who will present their points of view about how Moroccans can develop their sex life," she told"We will tackle the issues at the seminar with extreme caution, and we are not trying to provoke anyone."

Foreign Support Blamed

Moroccan observers said it was unlikely that Moroccan authorities would allow the association to hold such activities and blamed foreign support.

Moroccan sex researcher Hassan Serrat said Moroccan homosexuals are a small group and cannot organize such activities on their own.

"They are definitely getting foreign support especially from British and Spanish gay rights associations," he told

Serrat pointed out that Spanish homosexual associations were outraged at the gay arrests that took place four years ago in the northern Moroccan city of Tetouan and a year ago in the northwestern city of al-Qasr al-Kabir.

"It seems the International Lesbian and Gay Association delegated the homosexuals of Spain to defend those of Morocco," Serrat said.

Kif Kif's spokesperson, however, denied all allegations that the association receives foreign funding and stressed that Moroccan law grants them the right of assembly.

An ongoing battle

Serrat insisted there is an ongoing battle between Moroccan authorities and the association, especially since homosexuals have been attempting to infiltrate Moroccan culture.

"The religious background of Moroccans and their knowledge of the curse of homosexuality has made that hard for them," he said.

He claimed the association managed to gain access to the media when a Moroccan state television show hosted a gay writer and when al-Sabah newspaper interviewed the association's coordinator.

Serrat added that Moroccan authorities are in a very awkward situation since they are torn between European pressure and Morocco's conservative community.

However, Serrat said he expected that the authorities to ban all homosexual activities since they tarnish the image of Muslim Morocco.

"How can Morocco severe ties with Iran in defense of the Sunni faith then overlook homosexuality," he said.

Dr. Mustapha Ben Hamza, chairman of a local council, said it is very unlikely that the authorities will allow such a seminar to take place.

Hamza argued that the seminar announcement was just propaganda as part of homosexuals' attempts to be integrated into Moroccan society.

"They will never be accepted in Moroccan society," he concluded.





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