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Jennifer Lopez and the double standards of Morocco's Islamists Open in fullscreen

Hakim Ankar

Jennifer Lopez and the double standards of Morocco's Islamists

Lopez performing at the Mawazine Festival in Morocco on 29 May 2015 [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 2 June, 2015

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Comment: The Moroccan banned a film about prostitution but said nothing about Lopez's recent stage performance. Where is the consistency, asks Hakim Ankar.

Moroccans have protested on social media at the government's double standards over Jennifer Lopez's performance at the Mawazine Festival, and the campaign against Nabil Ayouch's film about prostitution, Much Loved.

Many were suprised Abdelilah Benkirane's Islamist government remained silent over Lopez's performance, which was watched live on television by millions of Moroccans, especially after it had attacked Ayouch's film for nudity.

"What is the difference between Lopez's performance and the dancer in Nabil Ayouch's film?" one Moroccan wrote.

Lopez reportedly toned down her act for a more conservative society. It featured several changes of costume, many of which were revealing, and dance routines described as "suggestive".

The ministry of communications headed by Mustapha el-Khalfi, a prominent member of the ruling Justice and Development Party, banned the distribution of Ayouch's film due to "serious outrage to the moral values of the Moroccan woman".

The government's position was also criticised by other Islamists in the kingdom. Al-Adl wal Ihsane group argued the ruling party was committing a political mistake by banning the film while remaining silent about a festival which it had previously opposed, a position that had previously boosted its popularity.

The Justice and Development Party stopped attacking the Mawazine Festival once it achieved a position of power because it is sponsored by the state.

Such festivals have now become normal, and only a minority of politicians have called for them to be banned to win favour with the conservative electorate. However, these politicians run the risk of repeating the Justice and Development Party's mistake of adopting a populist position when campaigning, but then backtracking once in power.

Moroccans are beginning to understand that politicians need to shed their ideals if they want to get into positions of power.

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of al-Araby al-Jadeed, its editorial board or staff.

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