In Morocco, a turn in the road for women?
Rime El Jadidi

-Analysis-

RABAT – Recent estimates from the Moroccan High Commission For Planning (HCP) found the median age for marriage in Morocco was 31 for men and 27 for women.

There are many reasons for this – more years spent studying, and the high cost of housing and wedding ceremonies being the most obvious. Some, it seems, now want to add monogamy to this list of reasons why young Moroccans are getting married later in life.

The idea might seem absurd at first, but in a country where rape victims have been forced to marry their rapists, it’s really not so surprising.

Abdesslam El Bouraini, the president of the National Order of Religious Notaries argues: “The median age for marriage increases more and more, while women can’t find husbands. So why don’t we modify the polygamy law to allow men to marry several women?” Supply and demand, if you will.

In Morocco, polygamist marriages are almost non-existent because of strict legal restrictions: a woman has to sign consent, and in case of divorce, assets have to be divided among the wives.

Fouzia Assouli, the president of the Federation for the Democratic League of Women’s Rights (FLDDF), says El Bouraini’s proposal is “mind-blowing.”

“There is no scientific evidence to support this notion, and it’s a violation of human rights and women’s rights. Celibacy is also a personal choice," she says.

What if Morocco faced the opposite situation? “In Saudi Arabia, women outnumber the men, should we allow them to have several husbands?” asks Assouli.

“If Islam allows it, then it’s for the good of the community, otherwise, it’s an open door to debauchery. The legal restrictions on polygamy have driven men and women to have extra-marital intercourse,” believes El Bouraini.

If we are to believe him, Morocco’s strict polygamy laws are the reason why men commit adultery. But isn’t excusing adultery and infidelity contrary to the basic principles of Islam? If polygamy was the solution, there wouldn’t be high rates of single people in the countries where it is common.

The poverty argument

The pro-polygamy advocates also say that rich men would be able to help women in need. Yet it's hard to believe that polygamists are great altruists. In most cases, the only reason why they take a second wife is to marry a younger woman.

Fouzia Assouli says that even if polygamy was aimed at getting women out of poverty, “marrying two women instead of one won’t solve anything. Even four won’t be enough in this context.”

What about poor men? If the issue is poverty, why can’t a wealthy woman marry several poor men? This, of course is not up for debate.

According to a 2007 survey by researchers Hassan Rachik, Mohamed El Ayadi and Mohamed Tozy, 44% of Moroccans are in favor of polygamy. For many of them, polygamy is a religious practice, not a solution to low marriage rates, even though some might find it a good idea.

“Those who advocate such principles still haven’t processed the social changes that Morocco recently went through, and are still dreaming of owning a harem,” says Assouli.

She believes allowing polygamy would be a step back in time. “It’s a violation of women’s dignity and freedom. We must not forget that not so long ago, a woman committed suicide with her daughters because her husband had forced her to accept his second wife.”

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La Sagrada Familia Delayed Again — Blame COVID-19 This Time

Hopes were dashed by local officials to see the completion of the iconic Barcelona church in 2026, in time for the 100th anniversary of the death of its renowned architect Antoni Guadí.

Work on La Sagrada Familia has been delayed because of the pandemic

By most accounts, it's currently the longest-running construction project in the world. And now, the completion of work on the iconic Barcelona church La Sagrada Familia, which began all the way back in 1882, is going to take even longer.

Barcelona-based daily El Periodico daily reports that work on the church, which began as the vision of master architect Antoni Gaudí, was slated to be completed in 2026. But a press conference Tuesday, Sep. 21 confirmed that the deadline won't be met, in part because of delays related to COVID-19. Officials also provided new details about the impending completion of the Mare de Déu tower (tower of the Virgin).

El Periódico - 09/22/2021

El Periodico daily reports on the latest delay from what may be the longest-running construction project in the world.

One tower after the other… Slowly but surely, La Sagrada Familia has been growing bigger and higher before Barcelonians and visitors' eager eyes for nearly 140 years. However, all will have to be a bit more patient before they see the famous architectural project finally completed. During Tuesday's press conference, general director of the Construction Board of the Sagrada Familia, Xavier Martínez, and the architect director, Jordi Faulí, had some good and bad news to share.

As feared, La Sagrada Familia's completion date has been delayed. Because of the pandemic, the halt put on the works in early March when Spain went into a national lockdown. So the hopes are dashed of the 2026 inauguration in what would have been the 100th anniversary of Gaudi's death.

Although he excluded new predictions of completion until post-COVID normalcy is restored - no earlier than 2024 -, Martínez says: "Finishing in 2030, rather than being a realistic forecast, would be an illusion, starting the construction process will not be easy," reports La Vanguardia.

But what's a few more years when you already have waited 139, after all? However delayed, the construction will reach another milestone very soon with the completion of the Mare de Déu tower (tower of the Virgin), the first tower of the temple to be completed in 44 years and the second tallest spire of the complex. It will be crowned by a 12-pointed star which will be illuminated on December 8, Immaculate Conception Day.

Next would be the completion of the Evangelist Lucas tower and eventually, the tower of Jesus Christ, the most prominent of the Sagrada Familia, reaching 172.5 meters thanks to an illuminated 13.5 meters wide "great cross." It will be made of glass and porcelain stoneware to reflect daylight and will be illuminated at night and project rays of light.

La Sagrada Familia through the years

La Sagrada Familia, 1889 - wikipedia

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