King Mohammad VI was born August 21, 1963 . His father was King Hassan II who ruled Morocco from 1961 to 1999. Mohammad VI’s upbringing groomed him for kingship. He acceeded to the throne on July 23 1999 after the death of his father.
Shortly after he took the throne, King Mohammad addressed the nation via television, and promised to take on poverty and corruption, create jobs and improve Morocco’s human rights record. Mohammad VI has accomplished some of these objects. He had addressed human right abuses during his father’s rule by conducting a series of investigations into alleged abuses. The King has made poverty a priority which has earned his the name “guardian of the poor.” His liberal economic policy has attracted foreign investment. On July15, 2004, Morocco became the first African nation to establish a bilateral trade agreement with the United States. The agreement was aimed at increasing trade and creating new investment opportunities between the two nations. Mohammad VI has also worked to provide better basic services to shanty towns and rural areas, however several non-government groups argue that little has changed and poverty and unemployment are still high despite the King’s efforts.
In February 2004, King Mohammad instated key reforms that granted more rights to women. In Moroccan law, the Mudawana is the family code which concerns issues related to the family including marriage, polygamy, divorce, inheritance, and child custody. In 2003, Mohammad announced his intention to replace the code entirely and by January 2004, the Moroccan parliament ratified the new version. Major components of the reform include raising the minimum legal age of marriage to 18 for both men and women, establishing joint responsibility for the family among men and women, limiting the terms of polygamy and divorce, and granting women more rights in the negotiation of marriage contracts. Supporters of the reforms cite the new law as a successful example of a progressive reform that is consistent with Islamic principles. Critics of the reforms point to the elitist roots of the reform movement’s advocators, the influence of Western secular principles, and the many barriers to the law’s implementation within Moroccan society.
The bomb attacks in Casablanca in 2003, prompted King Muhammad to enactment a set of new anti-terrorism laws and a reinvigorated campaign against extremists.
King Mohammed married computer engineer Salma Bennani in 2002. They have a son, Crown Prince Moulay Hassan, born in 2003, and a daughter, Princess Lalla Khadija, born in 2007.