Moroccan Woman Beaten, Stoned And Striped By Salafists Over Revealing Dress; Women's Rights Imperiled

on May 13 2012 7:13 AM

A Moroccan woman was reportedly stripped off her clothes in broad daylight after an ultra-conservative Islamist sect deemed her attire to be too revealing and not in line with religious code of conduct in the country.

The young woman, whose name and age remains undisclosed, was said to have been beaten and stoned for wearing a short dress at a market place in the city of Rabat, reported North African news website Magharebia. It was not known when the incident had happened.

The assault was reportedly carried out by Salafists, an extremist group who in recent years are believed to have a link with Al-Qaeda. The attack reportedly came on the heels of an announcement made by Quran reciter Abu Zeid, who called for a particular day to be consigned to chastity and modesty, the report said.

The incident fuelled outrage among several human support organizations, especially women's right groups, who condemned the attack and brought to light the deficit in women's freedom in the country. Many Moroccans even took to Facebook to decry the assault and necessitate the increased protection of personal liberties, the publication said.

Though this incident appeared in the media and gained wider attention, that does not mean it is not repeated on an almost regular or semi-daily basis in all the alleys and streets of our cities, activist journalist Nora Al-Fuari from the Al-Sabah daily said, according to the report.

It may not end in stripping the girl off her clothing, but the verbal and physical harassment that women may experience is sometimes more heinous and horrible.

The incident also drew Moroccan Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane's attention. Benkirane reportedly said, Individual liberties are sacred and are not to be touched.

Prior to becoming prime minister, Benkirane had said in statement that he will never ask if a woman is wearing a short skirt or a long skirt.

Baghdad-based rights organization Beit Al-Hikma cited a government headed by an Islamic party as perpetuators of the attack, and that the incident would block the move towards democracy, freedoms and the rule of law.

With over 98 percent of the population being Muslims, Morocco imposes idealistic concepts of Islam on its women population. These women, however, enjoy far more rights compared to women in other Muslim-dominated countries, and hold positions in several jobs strictly designated for men, according to the Professional Women's Network.