I left Morocco more than 15 years ago. With the years and the distance, I have surely forgotten quite how difficult it is to live without the freedoms that have become so natural to me. I am Moroccan and, in Morocco, Muslim laws apply to me, whatever my personal relationship with the religion. I learned that I could not be homosexual, have an abortion or cohabit. If I were to have a child without being married, I could face criminal charges and my child would have no legal status; they would be a bastard.
Leila Slimani on Sex and an Ethics of Women’s Liberation in Morocco
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‘Virginity is an obsession in Morocco’: an extract from Leïla Slimani’s Sex and Lies
Thousands of women in Morocco have put themselves at risk of arrest by admitting to sex outside marriage and undergoing abortions in order to show solidarity with a year-old journalist who has been imprisoned for the crimes. The year-old writes for Arabic-language newspaper Akhbar Al-Yaoum, which has a history of disputes with the authorities. The declaration, penned by Franco-Moroccan author Leila Slimani and Moroccan filmmaker Sonia Terrab, now has over 7, signatures, which includes men among them. We have reached 7, signatures and are still going.
As if, by culture, I should have been more prudish, more reserved. As if I should have made do with writing an erotic novelette with orientalist shades, worthy scion of Scheherazade that I am. Yet I feel that North Africans are well placed to take on themes relating to sexual suffering, frustration and alienation.