DRACONIS BLACKTHORNE (dblackthorne) wrote,

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Going To Jail For Satanic T-Shirt

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 moralising 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.

Tags: news, satanic, shirt

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