Moroccan ministry worker fired for mentioning ‘sexual orientation’

Activist in Morocco

The head of literacy at Morocco’s ministry of endowments and Islamic affairs has been fired for simply mentioning sexual orientation in adult learning materials.

According to The New Arab, the employee oversaw the production of adult literacy courses used in mosques, and recently released a new curriculum.

But one part fo the curriculum included a quote from a book, which read: “Equality implies that people are treated equally without discrimination regardless of ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability.”

For Morocco’s minister of Islamic affairs, Ahmad al-Tawfiq, the mere mention of sexual orientation was a fireable offence.

Al-Tawfiq conducted an investigation, and concluded that the head of literacy had been trying to “promote” homosexuality in mosques.

He was fired immediately, and teachers across Morocco have been ordered to cross out the words “sexual orientation” in their copies of the curriculum.

A queer person currently in Morocco, who chose to remain anonymous, told The New Arab: “We are one of the few countries that cancel people for doing the right thing.

“Just see the injustice that this man faced, and imagine how much the LGBTQIA+ community suffers in Morocco.”

Moroccan Outlaws, which lobbies for LGBT+ and women’s rights in Morocco, asked on Instagram: “When will the violence against the Moroccan LGBTQIA+ stop?”

According to article 489 of Morocco’s penal code, sexual acts between people of the same sex are punishable with up to three years in prison, plus a fine.

Abderrahim El Habachi, a 28-year-old gay writer and actor who fled persecution to seek asylum in the UK, previously described being LGBT+ in Morocco in an interview with ITV.

He said: “It was always, ‘hide yourself, hide yourself’, and don’t show your colours.

“If you show your colours it means that you are going to face the most discriminatory behaviour and homophobia… If people sense that you are gay, they can beat you – and you have no right to complain.

“You are the victim at that moment but in the eyes of the law, you are the criminal because you are gay.”