By Samir Bennis
By Samir Bennis
Morocco World News
New York, June 11, 2012
As stated in the previous article, in parallel to the disparagement of the religion of Moroccans, Spanish chroniclers attacked aspects of their customs. Thus, for most Spaniards at the time, the best reflection of the hardiness and the brutality of their opponents was the ramshackle appearance of their habitats, their way of dressing and eating, etc. These writers also emphasized the alleged lasciviousness of Moroccan women and their propensity to maintain sexual relationships outside of marriage.
Theologians and Spanish chroniclers insisted on other physical and moral defects of the Muslim woman. Thus, most of them were ugly and had no elegance, which would lead men to harass Christian women and captives. Similarly, the “infidelity” of women and their penchant for adultery was one of the characteristics that were inherent to Moroccan women, since, in their view, the concept of honor did not exist in Islam, as long as it allows repudiation. According to these authors, this circumstance compelled women to unleash their sexual desires to satisfy their carnal needs.
Although some authors saw in this lust of women a genetic trait similar to that of men, most of them explained it by two main reasons that made their lasciviousness inevitable. First, there was the issue of male polygamy. As men were unable to spend time with their wives every day, they later were allegedly dissatisfied, hence the need for them to fill their lack of affections with others outside of marriage.
In addition to polygamy, there was the issue of the sodomy of spouses. As the latter were depicted as preferring to sexual relations with men, women were unsatisfied, which allegedly caused them to became inevitably unfaithful and satisfy their sexual desire.
Moreover, contrary to Christian women portrayed as being hard-working and immaculate, their Muslim counterparts were described as being very lazy, loving leisure and disinclined to work, –and their only concern was to indulge in trickery and conjuring. These characteristics resulted in their homes being dirty and in shambles, because they often didn’t clean.
Naturally, these defects of women who normally have a large role in educating their children could not fail to have negative consequences for future generations. The short time that Moroccan women spent with their children, according to these authors, led the perpetuation of their faults among them, because they were influenced by their surroundings, especially by their mothers. Thus, the upbringing they receive is as bad as that of their mothers.
On the other hand, Spanish chroniclers such as Luis del Marmol Carvajal, Jaime Bleda and Diego de Haedo, set to denigrate the culture of their rivals.
In the eyes of these chroniclers, among the unfortunate contributions of Arab-Muslims were their “violence,” their “brutality” “and their bloodthirsty” mindset. Given their lack of culture and the fact that they came from poor land, the Moroccans were characterized by their religious fanaticism, and their lack of respect for other cultures and other civilizations. For this reason, every time they came to seize a territory, they hastened to remove its inhabitants and do away with the remains and monuments left by their predecessors.
Moreover, as put forth by Diego de Haedo, one of the bulwarks of Christian civilization at the time, instead of bringing something new to science and contributing to its enrichment, Arabs would only have copies Christian books. Worse, they were portrayed as having “contaminated” it with their tongue:
According to the Spanish zealots, the lack of culture, bestiality and the hardiness of Moroccans were reflected especially in the upbringing they provided to their offspring. According to these authors, when the Moroccans had children, instead of instilling good values in them, providing them with a sound and useful education, cultivating in them the love and passion for science and knowledge, the only thing that they were interested in was to introduce them to all practices of superstition, Satanism and raise them to worship vice and lust.
Accordingly, as they have not received a sound education that might make them good citizens, Moroccan children allegedly inherited all the flaws and faults of their ancestors and inevitably ended up having the same characteristics. Moreover, the fact that there is no respect or relationships based on love and affection between parents and children, caused hatred, jealousy and suspicion to prevail within Moroccan families.
In the eyes of the Spanish chroniclers who drew such a biased and surreal description of Moroccan society at the time, the main cause of this lack of respect and loving bonds between parents and their offspring was polygamy. To support their argument, they argued that the fact that men marry several women at once created jealousy, enmity and rivalry between the children of each woman, which would result in the absence of such links between parents and their children.
To be continued….
Samir Bennis is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Morocco World News.