Home Institution

Washington University in St. Louis

Publication Date

Spring 2020

Program Name

Morocco: Multiculturalism and Human Rights


This study examines the role that Islamic law has played thus far in reforming the Moroccan Family Code, also known as the Moudawana. When King Mohammed VI reformed this law in 2004, Morocco received immediate international praise for its liberal strides towards gender equality. Through this study I investigated the hermeneutical tools and methods of ijtihad employed both by the drafters of the Moudawana and by activists leading up to the 2004 reforms. I then investigate impediments to the implementation of this Code in providing substantive legal rights to Moroccan women and the role that interpretation of Islamic law plays in these barriers. I will also situate this in larger debates concerning the role of CSOs in authoritarian regimes, the international regime’s conception of universal human rights and state control of religion. Finally, this study examines the strengths and challenges facing the Islamic feminist movement and assesses the potential for this movement to produce further reforms to the Moudawana and increase gender equality in Moroccan society.


African Studies | Gender and Sexuality | Human Rights Law | Islamic Studies | Law and Gender | Politics and Social Change | Religion Law | Social Policy | Women's Studies


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