TW for child marriage
“Girls are “like a timebomb ready to explode and ruin the family’s reputation,” the Moroccan jewelry trader tells his customer as she admires a display of necklaces.
The solution is to “get rid of this bomb” by marrying your daughters off as soon as you can, he explains.
His customer, Hannane, replies firmly that Islam does not advocate child marriage and that women can also play an important role outside the home.
Hannane is one of a new generation of female religious leaders, known as morchidat – part of a quiet social revolution in the North African country.
Their groundbreaking work is the subject of a British film, “Casablanca Calling,” which will be showcased on Tuesday night at an international conference on child marriage in Morocco’s famous port city.
The morchidat were introduced in 2006, partly in an attempt to counter Islamist radicalism following suicide bombings that rocked Casablanca in 2003.
The hope is that these female spiritual leaders can both encourage a more tolerant Islam and improve the position of girls and women in Moroccan society.
“The morchidat are a rare experiment in the Muslim world,” the film’s Moroccan associate producer Merieme Addou told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“It’s the first time in a Muslim country that a religious role has been given to a woman.”
The morchidat give guidance to women and young people in mosques, schools, orphanages, hospitals, prisons and rural villages.
But Addou says they have their work cut out as they try to overcome the many problems facing Moroccan society.
“So many cultural traditions – from early marriage to women’s education - have become confused with religious teaching and it is challenge to separate them in people’s minds,” she adds.”
Read the full piece and watch the video here