'Sexual orientation' removed from Morocco literacy courses

Moroccan ministry employee fired over 'sexual orientation' reference in curriculum
2 min read
14 January, 2022
An employee at Morocco's Ministry of Islamic affairs lost their job over a reference to 'sexual orientation' in materials used to teach literacy at mosques.
The decision to sack the employee has drawn condemnation from activists. [Getty]

Morocco’s Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs fired the head of the ministry's literacy department over the use of the term “sexual orientation” in learning materials used by mosques, according to local media reports.

The dismissal related to the new second grade curriculum, which included a passage from a book saying: “Equality implies that people are treated equally without discrimination regardless of ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability.” 

After an investigation, Minister of  Islamic affairs Ahmed al-Tawfiq decided to fire the person in charge for allegedly promoting homosexuality through the mosques’ literacy courses.

The ministry also ordered teachers in mosques to cross out the term “sexual orientation” from the already printed books.

The decision has drawn condemnation from activists.

“We are one of the few countries that cancel people for doing the right thing. Just see the injustice that this man faced, and imagine how much the LGBTQIA+ community suffers in Morocco,” said a queer Moroccan, who refused to share their name.

The feminist coalition Moroccan Outlaws, which campaigns for LGBTQIA+ rights, slammed the ministry's decision in an Instagram post, asking when violence against Moroccan LGBTQIA+ people will stop.

Homosexuality is widely considered a taboo in Morocco, with some politicians, including former Moroccan prime minister Abdellillah Benkiran, having called for punishing openly queer Moroccans.

According to article 489 of Morocco's penal Code, people involved in sexual relationships with the same sex can be jailed up to three years.