By Loubna Flah
By Loubna Flah
Morocco World News
Casablanca, September 5, 2012
Ms. Ajouhi, a young Moroccan woman who embraces modesty in her dress or what is commonly labeled as « the Hijab » was denied entry to Tahiti beach club last Saturday, because of her dress according to the Moroccan daily Le Soir Echos.
On a sunny day, The Ajouhis headed to “Tahiti beach club” in La Corniche in Casablanca along with their two children with the intention to spend a pleasant day at the resort. Yet their exhilaration was soon dampened by deception and bitterness after Ms. Ajouhi was singled out by the club’s security agent and denied entry to the beach. She was asked to remove her “scarf” if she wants to have access to the club.
Outraged, Mr. Ajouhi addressed the beach manager who said bluntly that “Veiled women are not allowed to enter the beach. We are just enforcing the club’s internal regulations”. The Taihti club belongs to the Blue Invest Company built in 1940 and renovated in 2005.
When Mr. Ajouhi asked the manager about the reason behind this obsession with a piece of cloth, the manager answered shamelessly “It is just the way it is.”
Mr. Ajouhi a Moroccan Canadian national who works in various locations between Canada, Burkina Faso and Morocco was ready to pay the entry fee to the club estimated to MAD 400 per person. Yet his wife was singled out and discriminated against for embodying modesty in her dress code as it is provisioned in Islam.
Subsequent to this unfortunate incident, Mr. Ajouhi called his attorney and decided to file a complaint against the club for violating his wife’s constitutional rights.
Indeed, the second section of the Moroccan penal code considers the overt act of discrimination as an unconstitutional act punishable by a fine that amounts to MAD 50,000 with the possibility of imprisonment, especially if the plaintiff has been denied a service or the acquisition of a good, refused a job position or subjected to sanction or fired on different grounds, including gender and religion.
Deeply offended, Ms. Ajouhi retorted “I condemn this measures that disrespect me and all the Muslim women who chose to embrace modesty.” “I had no intention to swim there. I just wanted my children to enjoy the place,” she added.
Sounding an unyielding and stubborn tone, the Tahiti club manager said “what happened is absolutely normal and we are used to these kinds of situations.” “Our reaction is utterly compliant with the club’s regulation. It is not about the veil at all,” she added.
Muslim women who do not want to reveal parts of their body out of religious modesty have become the target of overt and covert acts of discrimination.
Because of their enhanced visibility, Muslim women who wear the head scarves face particular exposure to discrimination especially in job interviews.
These infringements are flagrant violations of both human rights enshrined in the universal declaration of human rights and constitutional rights enshrined in the Moroccan constitution.
Surprisingly, women rights advocate do not lift a finger to denounce this type of discrimination that afflicts a large number of Moroccan women in particular. The reluctance towards the Islamist rhetoric prevents many women rights advocates from taking the defense of veiled women.
It is noteworthy that Islam provisions modesty in the dress code for both men and women, but with more meticulous instructions for women due to their sex appeal.
Islam redefines the concept of femininity in a different way from western standards that have prevailed in many Muslim countries
With the religious revival in the Muslim world manifested in more religious piety and more faithful adoption of Islamic culture, Muslim women and men are increasingly redefining their relation to religion.
Whether Muslim women choose to embrace modesty in their dress code or not, it is a matter of individual freedom that no authority be it religious or political is entitled to breach.