Madri nubili e figli “illegittimi” in Marocco: pratiche discriminatorie e nuove forme di agency

Autore: Alessandra Santantonio
In: Genesis. XVII/ 1 , 2018
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According to Islamic law, only children born to a married couple can be legitimate, whereas children born out of wedlock are not legally recognized, as extramarital sexual relations are considered a sin and are punished according to article 490 of the Moroccan Penal Code. Despite various but minor changes in the Moroccan legislation, the implementation of the new law is not yet optimal in a society where the best interest of the child is not necessarily ensured and the concept of ḥšuma (modesty/shame/shyness) is deeply rooted. The aim of this paper is to investigate the main issues of juridical and social discrimination against unwed mothers and “illegitimate” children in Morocco. In the light of some ethnographic materials, collected during my field research in Morocco, the article describes the key role played by associations for the protection of single mothers and their children and the judicial practice regarding the search for paternity, as well as its social and legal implications.