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Morocco’s Islamist Party Wants Film Banned For “Promoting Homosexuality”

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Morocco’s Islamist party has called for a ban on screenings of the award-winning Moroccan film “The Blue Caftan” in national cinemas due to allegations that it “promotes homosexuality” and “violates” the country’s religious morals.

“The General Secretariat strongly condemns the screening of a film that promotes homosexuality in Moroccan cinemas, which is a grave violation of the religious, national, and moral values of Moroccan Muslims,” the Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD) said in a press release on Friday.

“The Blue Caftan,” directed by Maryam Touzani, tells the story of Halim, a tailor who runs a traditional shop in a Moroccan medina with his ailing wife, Mina. While Halim works lovingly and painstakingly with his wife, the couple must live with the secret of his homosexuality, which Mina has come to accept but still causes her to feel jealous.

The film follows the dynamic between the couple and Youssef, a new apprentice who joins them at the shop.

The PJD has urged authorities to “prohibit the film’s screening in accordance with the law in force, which was adopted in May 2015.”

This legal framework, implemented by the PJD government at the time, was used to censor “a movie by the same party, known for its hostile tendencies to the constants and the sacredness of the nation,” according to the party’s press release.

The Islamist party is referring to the film “Much Loved” by Nabil Ayouch, who is also the producer of “The Blue Caftan” and Touzani’s husband.

Despite the controversy, various public figures, including senior advisor to King Mohammed VI, Andre Azoulay, attended the avant-premier of “The Blue Caftan” on 4 June.

The film has been shown in cinemas in Casablanca, Rabat, and Tangier since June 7.

However, its screening has elicited a range of reactions from the Moroccan public.

Many viewers took to social media to express their displeasure with the film’s “scandalous” concept, joining the PJD in their call to ban the film from the country’s theatres.

In Morocco, homosexuality remains a taboo and a crime. Article 489 of Morocco’s Penal Code criminalises “lewd or unnatural acts with another individual of the same sex.”

Nonetheless, pro-LGBTQ+ movements in the country are becoming more vocal and outspoken in their defence of the community’s rights, and they argue that the screening of “The Blue Caftan” is a step forward in the community’s fight for visibility.

“Screening a film about the LGBTQ community in the country’s cinemas is unquestionably a victory for us and the culmination of a long battle against homophobia.” “We hope that its screening will continue,” Safae, a member of Morocco’s LGBTQ+ community, told TNA.

Despite the film’s controversy, “The Blue Caftan” won the International Critics’ Prize at the 75th Cannes Film Festival and the Jury Prize at the Marrakech International Film Festival.

Info source – Newarab

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