By Youssef El Kaidi
By Youssef El Kaidi
Morocco World News
Fez, April 26, 2013
The Amazigh movement has received with great satisfaction the decision of civil status officers to accept birth declarations in the civil status records for Amazigh names, according to the Amazigh World Federation and the Moroccan daily newspaper Assabah. Starting from this week, Morocco will allow parents to give Amazigh names to their children.
Anir, Sifaw, Tifawt, Thiyya or Bahac are some of the many Amazigh names that are now recognized and authorized in Morocco after the Minister of Interior, Mr. Mohand Laenser, passed the 32.20 circular which was sent to all registry offices in Morocco and Moroccan consulates abroad ordering them to accept henceforth Amazigh names.
The circular sent by the Ministry of Interior is regarded by Mounir Kejji, an Amazigh activist, as a “victory” because it “marks the end of a racist law against all Amazigh because banning parents from giving the names they wish to their child is totally discriminatory,” he was quoted by the news outlet Yabiladi as saying.
The decision to lift ban on Amazigh names is the outcome of a long and hard fight that began in 1996 when a circular was sent to Moroccan civil status registry offices to ban Amazigh names. Since 1996, dozens and dozens of families were denied to give Amazigh names for their children, whether in Morocco or abroad.
“The most ridiculous thing is that there were names that were banned in a city and allowed in another, as if there were two laws in a single country,” says Mounir Kejji.
I think that Amazigh names should have been rather encouraged the government long ago in accordance with the new constitution,” Fatima Maatouse, a Master student at the University of Fez, told Morocco World News.
It should be noted that many Amazigh associations have been putting pressure on Moroccan authorities in recent years whenever an Amazigh name was forbidden.
One can even speak of an Amazigh lobby in Morocco today.
The recommendations made by international organizations of human rights, such as Human Rights Watch might have played a role in pushing the Moroccan government authorities to recognize and authorize Amazigh names.