Sheik Mohammed Ben Abderahman al-Maghraoui is a well known religious figure in Morocco. With money from Saudi Arabia he runs a network of 60 schools all over Morocco, all preaching the radical version of Islam – Wahhabism. Sheikh Mohammed al-Maghraoui also runs a web site in which he issued last week a Fataw (Islamic religious dogma) where he argued that girls as young as 9 could marry because Islam’s Prophet Mohammed had done so, Moroccan media reported on Friday 09/26/2008. In Morocco the legal marriage age is from 18.

The Moroccan authorities acted decisively. His 60 schools in Morocco were closed, the website blocked in Morocco and the Council of the Oulemas (Islamic scholars) — the country’s highest religious authority — denounced Mohammed al-Maghraoui as an “agitator.” A Religion Ministry official has been fired in the southern town of Marrakech for not responding immediately to al-Maghraoui’s contentious fatwa as the ‘Al-Ahdath Al-Maghribiya’ newspaper reported. A lawyer, Mourad El Bekkouri, filed a legal complaint asking “the king’s prosecutor to sue al-Maghraoui for promoting pedophilia and rape.”

The event, although swiftly responded to by Moroccan authorities, raised the question of female rights in the Muslim world and especially the rights of Muslim girls.

In Yemen it is a common practice to marry girls as young as 8. They don’t need a Fatwa, they just do it on a regular basis all the time. In Somalia, Sudan and Egypt almost 80% of teenage girls are subject to a painful female Circumcision, meant to reduce their sexual pleasure and drive. In Afghanistan and large parts of Pakistan Muslim girls are supposed to be covered from their teenage up to their old age in order to prevent them from seducing men or provoke their impulses. In the same region women and young girls were denied any education as it was in the days of the Taliban regime. Even today (09/2008) only a third of Afghanistan girls receive any basic education.

All over the Muslim world “Honor killings” are still a phenomena. Teenager girls are killed for a verity of reasons from refusing to marry someone, disobey older brother’s instructions, speaking with a stranger or choosing an independent career. Generally speaking “Honor” is too often associated with killing and destruction in the Muslim world. It is an “Honor” to kill infidels, to decapitate them or to be a “Shahid” – some one who sacrifices himself for Islam. The highest degree of ‘Honor” is to became a Shahid by committing a suicide attack, which in most of the cases kills many other innocent Muslims.

Women are half of humanity. The oppression and submission of women, so common in the Muslim world, is one of the main reasons why the Muslim world is failing behind. 


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