No Freedom Here...........

John A. Quayle blueoval at SGI.NET
Sat Apr 12 10:09:06 MDT 2003


Going To Jail For Satanic T-Shirt


         A Moroccan hard rock fan has been jailed for a year after a judge
ruled that the music he listened to and the black T-shirts he wore were
"satanic".

         A court in Casablanca decided that Bouchaib Hemdani, 27, and 13 of
his friends - all described as middle-class youngsters - were a demonic
group guilty of trying to "weaken the Muslim faith" with their musical
tastes and dress.

         The sentences prompted an angry reaction from other young
Moroccans, who took to the streets of Casablanca in protest, accusing the
authorities of becoming increasingly fundamentalist.

         "If these guys weren't facing up to a year in prison, it would be
funny," said one. "Instead, it is just tragic. It's a worrying sign of the
growing influence of the moralizing ideas of some in the Islamic movement."

         The 14 music fans, aged between 18 and 30, were arrested after
police raided a cafe called Chez l'Egyptien in a chic area of Casablanca.

         During the trial, Judge Abdelouahed Majidi held up a black T-shirt
that had been confiscated by the police. "What is the significance of
this?" he asked. "It's just a T-shirt," replied Hemdani.

         The judge appeared unconvinced. "I see it's black. Is that
normal?" he asked.

         "Yes," said Hemdani.

         Holding up a number of similar T-shirts, the judge then asked:
"Why do you have five of them?" When Hemdani said that he wore the T-shirts
at rock parties, the judge pronounced: "Normal people go out in the evening
in a suit or a shirt."

         The court also heard that Hemdani not only listened to hard rock
music by bands such as Metallica, but also composed songs for some of his
co-defendants, who play in a student band.

         The judge, however, revealed himself to be a fan of popular
Moroccan middle-of-the-road singing. "If you like music," he declared, "why
don't you listen to Fatma Ben l'Houcine?"

         Hemdani and two other fans were sentenced to one year in prison
for attacking the Muslim faith. The remaining defendants received sentences
of several months on charges of "transmitting pornographic music". They
have all appealed and will appear again in court this week.

         The judgment has dashed many Moroccans' hopes that their country
would become more liberal after the accession of King Mohammed VI.

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