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News release

Moroccans want family-code reforms to be based on Islamic law, Afrobarometer survey shows

17 Mar 2023 Morocco
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News release
Key findings
  • Almost eight in 10 Moroccans (78%) say any reforms of the family code to promote gender equality should be based on Islamic law, or sharia (Figure 1).
  • Fully half (51%) “strongly agree” with this view.
  • Only two in 10 (20%) want reforms to be based only on international agreements signed by the Kingdom of Morocco.
  • Support for basing reforms to the family code on Islamic law increases with respondents’ age (ranging from 73% among those aged 18-35 to 85% among those aged 56 and above), and decreases with one’s level of education (88% among those with no formal education vs. 65% among those with post- secondary education) (Figure 2).
  • Men (80%), rural residents (82%), and economically disadvantaged citizens (81%) are also more in favour of this view than women (74%), urban residents (74%), and economically well-off citizens (76%).

A large majority of Moroccans say any reforms of the family code to promote gender equality in the country should be based on Islamic law, or sharia, a new Afrobarometer survey shows.

While this preference is widespread across key demographic groups, it is particularly strong among men, rural residents, older citizens, and those with less education. If there are any reforms to the family code, citizens want them to prioritise issues related to divorce, reconciliation, and alimony proceedings; sex outside marriage; and marriage of minors.

Nearly two decades after the adoption of the Moroccan family code to increase the rights of women in the family, women’s-right activists and human-rights organisations have expressed concerns about persisting gender gaps and are calling for reform of the code. During his speech on the 23rd anniversary of Throne Day, King Mohammed VI noted imbalances and obstacles in the implementation of the family code