Influential Moroccan rapper tackles domestic violence with new song
Mohammed El Hadi Mzouri, a 39-year old rapper from Morocco who goes by the name "Muslim", released the new track to more than 1.6 million followers on the popular social media platform on Wednesday.
"We are united, we reject violence, we came here to say no," the rapper starts, before directing the rest of the song at the "sons of my country".
"Keep the daughters of my country in your eyes (protected), it is no manly to extend your hands, a woman is a partner that strengthens you," he goes on to say.
The song, which was released on Instagram to mark International Women's Day on March 8, was welcomed by thousands across social media who thanked the rapper for discussing a taboo issue in the region.
"Big up to Moroccan rapper Muslim for addressing this on International Women's Day," Hassan Ahmad Dennaoui, better known as the Saudi hip-hop guru "Big Hass" said on Instagram.
"Muslim is considered one of the most influential Arab rappers - he has been at it for a long time," Big Hass told The New Arab.
"For him to release a song on IWD talking about what real men should act like towards women and how respectful they should be is very important, however what is more important is that he’s telling his sisters to keep their heads up while at the same time championing the anti-domestic violence cause and encouraging women to live free and respected," Big Hass added.
Around one in four women are likely to be subject to domestic violence in Yemen, Morocco, Egypt, Sudan, and Algeria, according to a study carried out by Princeton University.
Men are also likely to suffer domestic abuse in every single one of the countries surveyed.
The study also showed that most women believe men still have the final say in family matters. These two factors together mean that many do not look to the state for help or authority, and that family life still dictates the future of domestic violence victims.
Sexual assault and rape remain a major problem in Morocco, with 52 percent of Moroccan women affected, according to government figures. Despite that, only three percent of victims report the violence.
Almost half the countries in the Middle East and North Africa in the past five years have enacted laws addressing domestic violence, according to Human Rights Watch.
But states are also passing legislation that may not necessarily act as effective measures, but rather serve to provide an illusion of progression to the international community.