‘Do as I say, not as I do’.
Morocco: Uproar After Arrest of Couple of Muslim Preachers For Adultery
By Ezzoubeir Jabrane – Morrocco world news
August 22, 2016 , 10:42 pm
Rabat – Two vice presidents of the Reform and Unity Movement were reportedly caught by police forces in the act of adultery Saturday morning creating a political firestorm and a scandal on social media.
Moulay Omar Benhammad, 63 and Fatema Nejjar, 62, were reportedly found “in the act of adultery” by National Judicial Police Brigade forces (BNPJ) in a car at Mansoria beach near Casablanca.
The story, as recounted by the Alyaoum24, begins with the couple in question meeting Saturday morning in Rabat, where Fatema Nejjar was supposed to take part in one of the movement’s activities. The couple headed to Mansoria beach and remained in the car until the police interrupted their moment together around 7 am.
During a short exchange with the couple, the police inquired about the identity of Fatema Nejjar. Benhammad answered that she was his wife. When they requested to see the Marriage Contract, he responded that they are under a “customary marriage,” a relation prohibited in Maliki Islam as well as Moroccan law.
After the preliminary hearing, the couple was granted a bail as Benhammad’s wife decided not to institute a legal proceeding against him for adultery.
According to the Moroccan news outlet Al3omk’s source, the couple in question was not in an intimate relationship when the police arrested them.
The story has stirred an avalanche of criticism on social media, especially since the individuals in question are famous Muslim preachers known for advocating chastity and purity.
Moulay Omar Benhammad is a Muslim preacher. He is a professor of Quran and Interpretation Science at the faculty of Hassan II, Mohammadia. He earned his PhD in Islamic Studies in 2001 from the same university.
Fatema Nejjar is a preacher and educational activist. The widowed mother of six held the position of second vice-president in Reform and Unity Movement before the movement suspended her along with Benhammad.
The movement is the religious wing of the Party of Justice and Development (PJD), leader of the coalition government.
Following their arrest, the movement released an official statement announcing the suspension of Benhammad and Nejjar’s memberships. The statement released in the movement’s official website also expressed its “utter rejection of the so-called customary marriage” and its appreciation for the couple’s “statures, favors and contributions”
Two Moroccan scholars sprang to the couple’s defense. Ahmed Raysouni, a famous Moroccan scholar said in an article shared on his website:
“Moulay Omar appeared bravely before the Executive Office of the movement, before he even went to his home, he went to recount his story, testify, and express his magnanimity” noting that the situation has been exploited.
“Why wasn’t the Amazigh activist Ahmed Assid and Malika Mzan prosecuted when they announced their marriage in the name of god Yakosh … wasn’t that customary marriage?,” controversial Moroccan Salafi Sheikh, Mohammed Fizazi, said according to Lakome2.com.