< /head > Colorado Coalition for Human Rights: Grandmother Tests Democratic Reforms in Morocco

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Grandmother Tests Democratic Reforms in Morocco

From the Washington Post:

The monarchy in this North African country dates back 1,200 years and has survived foreign invaders, civil wars and communist plots. Now it is confronted by a new threat: a grandmother who preaches nonviolence and democracy. This week, Moroccan prosecutors are scheduled to resume a criminal trial against Nadia Yassine, a leader of Justice and Charity, an underground Islamic movement that has become increasingly aggressive in testing the rule of King Mohammed VI. Yassine, 47, was charged last June with publicly criticizing the monarchy after she stated in a newspaper interview that the country would be better off as a republic than as a kingdom...Since ascending the throne in 1999, Mohammed has transformed his country by approving parliamentary elections, a robust press and equal rights for women, giving Moroccans more freedom than most of their Arab neighbors in North Africa and the Middle East. Those changes have also given new life to long-suppressed opposition groups that are demanding more concessions from the king but do not necessarily believe in a Western-style democracy...While the trial has attracted international attention as a test of Morocco's commitment to free speech and democracy, it has shed less light on Yassine, a complicated figure whose dedication to individual rights is questioned by many people here...The Moroccan constitution makes it illegal to criticize or insult the king, who traces his lineage to the prophet Muhammad. Authorities said they had long tolerated Yassine's outbursts but that this time she went too far...She has cast herself as a feminist and a champion of democracy whose Justice and Charity movement has sworn to remain nonviolent. But Justice and Charity also favors the establishment of a strict Islamic state and has strongly opposed many of the democratic changes that have taken place under Mohammed, such as a new family code that gives more rights to women.

Click here to read the article.

--Tom Hayes


Post a Comment

<< Home


(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)