Morocco did update its Family Code in 2004. It contains eleven subject headings. Reforms include adopting modern words that remove “degrading and debasing” terms for women, equality of age in marriage for both sexes, and expanding divorce, property and child rights for women. Heading two is germane to the case at hand. It entitles “the woman who has come of age to tutelage (guardianship) as a right, and she may exercise it according to her choice and interests, on the basis of an interpretation of a holy verse stipulating that a woman cannot be compelled to marry against her will: ‘…place not difficulties in the way of their marrying their husbands, if it is agreed between them in kindness.’” A woman may, of her own free will, delegate tutelage to her father or a male relative.
Despite this statute, all reports on this story indicate that Amina Filali was indeed forced to marry against her will. Furthermore, as defined in Heading three, which stipulates 18 as the minimum age for marriage, there is an out. The age limit may be reduced by a judge “only in justified cases.” Thus, despite reform, one is left to conclude one of two things. Either a 16-year-old girl does not have the same rights as an 18-year-old woman, or rape, when balanced against the culturally construed loss of honor incurred by the victim’s family, is seen as justification for forcing marriage to a rapist.
Measured against the reality of a government study conducted last year revealing that about 25 percent of Moroccan women had been sexually assaulted at least once, it would appear a substantial number of Moroccan women are faced with an odious choice: keep an assault secret, endure possible abuse (or worse) from one’s own family for their loss of honor, or marry the assaulter. Such might explain a 2009 UN report revealing that only 3.6 cases of rape were reported per 100,000 women in Morocco.
All in all, there can be little argument that Article 475, coupled with both the definitions of family dishonor and the generally low status of Moroccan women, reflects rather badly upon Muslim “tradition” and Sharia law. What was also disgraceful, however, was the report on this story by the left-leaning Associated Press, which noted that there is a “similar injunction in the Old Testament’s Book of Deuteronomy” regarding the exoneration of rapists who marry their victims. That the AP would make such a ham-fisted effort to equate Biblical passages more than two thousand years old with a modern-day Moroccan statute (and still-active cultural imperatives in the Muslim world) is the essence of morally relative, multiculturalist drivel.
Yet it is the kind of multiculturalist drivel that has gained a foothold in the West. This past Saturday, Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, announced his retirement. He is best remembered for his 2008 statement in which he contended that the adoption of “certain aspects” of Sharia Law in the UK was “unavoidable,” Muslims living in Britain should not be faced with “the stark alternatives of cultural loyalty or state loyalty,” and the UK must “face up to the fact” that some of its citizens do not relate to the British legal system. He suggested the adoption of Sharia law would facilitate “social cohesion.”
Social cohesion? One is left to imagine what the former Archbishop might have advised Amina Filali to do had she been living in Britain. The “cultural loyalty” that turned her family against her, caused a judge to give her to her rapist, and allowed that rapist to beat her with impunity while they were married, is an integral part of Muslim culture and Sharia law.
16-year-old Amina Filali opted for suicide by rat poison. She joins countless other Muslim women who have died or been killed for honor’s sake. Such “honor” is utterly incompatible with Western values. The multiculturalists, whose entire philosophy rests on a “split the difference” premise that all cultures are equally viable, are terminally naive. If the West is to survive, their odious philosophy must be completely rejected.
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