Activist Bouchra Abdou rejected Najia Adib’s claims, emphasizing that pedophiles often “come from other countries and threaten the safety of our children.”
Rabat – Moroccan activist Najia Adib has made a controversial claim, arguing that pedophilia and the sexual abuse of children are more “prevalent in Arab and Muslim countries” than others.
During her participation in a recent Hespress seminar on “pedophilia and the enforcement of the death penalty,” Adib defended calls for the death penalty as punishment for perpetrators of sexual assault against children.
The news outlet held a seminar to discuss the issue of pedophilia following the murder and rape of Adnane Bouchouf, an 11-year-old boy from Tangier.
On September 11, Moroccan police found the remains of Adnane, who had been missing since September 7.
A 24-year-old man murdered Adnane in cold blood after kidnapping and raping him in his apartment, not far from the victim’s home.
The heinous crime sparked outrage among Moroccans, with many calling for the death penalty against the defendant, who is now facing murder, kidnapping, and rape charges.
Najia Adib is among those calling for the death penalty to restore the honor of Adnane’s family and to make the perpetrator “an example to others.”
She said that child abuse and pedophilia should not be a “seasonal topic,” calling for more efforts to combat the crime.
One of the statements from the activist, however, sparked outrage among many Moroccans. Adib claimed sexual abuse is “more prevalent in Arab and Muslim countries” than others.
“In these societies, the child is deprived of will and does not have any value within the family, and we always call him young and ignorant,” she said. In contrast, Adib said children in the West are “sacred.”
Pedophilia and the sexual abuse of children occur in Morocco and the rest of the Arab and Muslim world, but data and statistics from worldwide organizations show that these issues are global.
Pedophilia: A universal threat
A report from the Economist and the Intelligence Unit argues that pedophilia and sexual violence against children happen “everywhere, regardless of a country’s economic status or its citizens’ quality of life. It is a universal threat.”
The World Childhood Foundation contributed to the report. The report featured an index with 60 countries.
Morocco received a score of 47.7 out of 100. The score considers Morocco’s environment, legal framework, government commitment and capacity, and engagement in the fight against child sex crimes.
The report ranks countries taking into account the environment in which child sexual violence takes place and how a country’s legal framework addresses issues to protect the safety of children.
The report deconstructs the narrative that pedophilia and child sex abuse are only prevalent in low-income and developing countries: “Several high-and middle-income countries made it into the bottom quartile of the index – including China, Argentina and Russia.”
The report also refutes myths that pedophilia and child sex abuse are linked to specific religions or cultures. For example, Islamophobic discourse attempts to link sexual deviance to Islam, but the report assigns low scores to non-Muslim countries such as Venezuela, Argentina, Nigeria, and others.
The threat of social media
According to Science Direct, pedophilia is defined as an adult’s “persistent sexual interest” in children, along with “sexual fantasies, urges, and goal-directed behavior.”
Morocco World News contacted Bouchra Abdou, activist, feminist, and the chairwoman of the Tahadi Center association for comment regarding the issue of pedophilia in Morocco and Adib’s statement tying Muslim countries to sexual abuse against children.
Abdou said “pedophilia exists everywhere,” emphasizing that the issue is not exclusive to a specific country, religion, or society.
The feminist recalled the recent tragedies and pedophilia crimes that threatened the safety of young girls in several cities throughout Morocco.
In 2018, police arrested a 58-year-old French pedophile for committing sexual acts on minors in Fez.
The man admitted to drugging and raping girls, but blamed their families for exploiting their children.
Abdou said several tourists have been linked to cases of pedophilia in several other Moroccan cities, including Marrakech.
“We cannot say that the phenomena exist in Muslim countries only, this cannot be. Several people come from other countries and threaten the safety of our children,” she said.
Abdou also shared sadness and regret at what happened to Adnane Bouchouf, saying that the country should mobilize efforts to fight such crimes.
Abdou, however, does not think the death penalty is the right punishment for Adnane’s killer.
“He needs to face a more severe punishment than the death penalty. He should be jailed and should be tortured through hard work under high temperatures outside. The death penalty will be a mercy for him,” the activist argued.
She emphasized the importance of sexual education and awareness among children to protect them and make them aware of the danger of exploitation.
She also condemned a lack of monitoring on social networks, where pedophiles can easily prey on minors.
“How could admins block content with sexual connotation in public and not others in messenger and other messaging means. This is dangerous. Admins should also block people who send sexual content to children via social networks,” she stressed.
Abdou emphasized that some people use Facebook and other means to “hunt their victims.”
“Such social networks should really not allow anyone to create accounts unless they present their IDs. They are dangerous and children do not really have an idea about how serious these issues can be,” she underlined.
The activist, however, acknowledged that social networks also played a huge role in exposing such crimes and making the arrest of such criminals possible.