Moroccan Court Sentences 27 People on Counts of Terrorism

On February 23rd, 2012, The Moroccan Court decided on the sentences for 27 men who were arrested last year. The group was arrested on January 4, 2011. Each of these 27 ended up with a prison sentence of 1 to 6 years. These sentences were established for allegedly planning terrorist attacks.

The authorities found this stock pile of weapons

The court in Sale, Morocco, found Hicham El Ba, a 40 year old Moroccan, to be the leader of this operation. The court accused Hicham El Ba and other Moroccan men of collectively planning terrorist attacks in order to do serious harm to public order, steal, and profit. The interior ministry and the court also discovered that one of these men is a member of AQIM, or Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. This organization said that they want to make Morocco “a base for preparing terrorist acts.” The AQIM is thought to be based in the surrounding countries of Algeria, Niger, Mali, and Mauritania.


Arab Art as an Early Indicator of Revolution

The New York Times published an article on October 5, 2011, about how looking back on Moroccan art and other Arabic art from the last decade can show the unrest that the people have been feeling. The works of art leading up to the Arab Spring revolution are truly moving and full of meaning. These works of art from the 2000s are great predictors of what was to come in 2011. The article goes on to discuss the depictions of true emotions in these works of art and how they indicate the future of revolution.

The article focuses on the Marrakech Art Fair, held in September and October of last year in Morocco. At this fair, the work of Moroccan photographer, Hicham Benohoud, was featured prominently. Here is the photograph that the article is centered around:

photograph of a child, physically tied to and trapped in his environment

Benohoud’s photography, along with the other works of art at the fair, capture the  yearning and longing that Moroccans have been developing over the past decade. Benohoud features children tied to their surroundings in his works; he is representing the entrapment that Moroccans experience in their society.

another photograph by Hicham Benohoud, featured at the Marrakech Art Fair

Here is another photograph from the show, featuring a Moroccan man and woman filled with yearning. The Marrakech Art Fair was a great predictor and indicator of the revolution that followed.

The works on show position Arab artists, whose desire for freedom was strongly reflected in their works, as visionaries of the changes these countries were to undergo.

Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane Supports Changing Abortion Laws

On January 11,2012, the New York Times published an article about the possible change of Morocco’s severe laws and limitations on abortion. The article focuses on the newly elected Prime Minister, Abdelilah Benkirane, who has been in power since November of 2011. The Prime Minister is the Islamic leader of the Justice and Development Party.

Women at a political rally in Casablanca. The prime minister, who comes from a moderate Islamic party, would support an initiative to allow abortion in cases of incest and rape, one of his aides said.

Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane is pushing for change in regards to the laws surrounding abortion. He believes that in some cases, abortion is a viable option. The laws that are currently in place are too strict and do not provide Morrocan women with options.

The Prime Minister would like to change this so that in extreme cases, involving incest or rape, women would be allowed to have an abortion. The newly elected Prime Minister is already trying to make changes for the betterment of Moroccan society, just a few months into his new post. The Prime Minister would also like to address and attempt to remedy the issue of illegal, unsafe abortions that are taking place in Morocco. Many Moroccan women support the new Prime Minister and the changes to Moroccan society that he is trying to induce.

Trial Draws Attention to Morocco’s New Charter

The rapper, El-Haqed

On January 18, 2012, the NY Times published an article about the imprisonment of a famous rapper, El-Haqed, who is extremely anti-monarchy. El-Haqed, or The Spiteful, was sentenced for insulting the King through his lyrics. He fiercely criticizes the Moroccan society, government, and especially King Mohammed VI.

The Monarchy

Although his sentence was relatively mild and his fine was only 500 Dirham (about $57 US dollars), his court proceedings were of much interest to Moroccans. Because the constitution was just recently changed to guarantee the independence of the judiciary, Moroccans were expecting this matter to be handled differently. This trial called Moroccans to question whether or not the changes to the constitution are actually being enacted.