"Veiled Love" – the film that’s causing a scandal in Morocco

"Veiled Love", or "Hijab el Hob", tells the story of a young Moroccan woman who chooses to have sex before marriage.

Film maker Aziz Salamy introduces us to Batoul, a young, well brought-up woman, who with her boyfriend, decides to embark on a sexual relationship which is both enflamed and marred by their not being married. A relatively harmless story, even in Morocco, but made shocking by the fact that the young woman wears a hijab... Especially as the director chooses to show the couple kissing and taking a bath together. Our Observer explains why some Moroccans consider the film an attack on Islam.   

Does the story shock you? Tell us what you think. The best comments will be translated into French and read as part of Saturday's RFI radio show "Atelier des medias", to which The Observers contributes.


The trailer

The film came out at the end of January and has just been showcased at the Belgian Mons International Love Film Festival. The blurb: "Batoul, 28, is a girl with a happy family life and a budding career in medicine. The day she meets Hamza, she finds herself breaking all the rules she once preached, to live a passionate love with the man who obsesses her..." (source).

"In Morocco, a woman who has premarital sex is called a prostitute"

Abdelhalim Talhaoui, 28, is a journalism student in Casablanca. He alerted us to this story.

People are talking about this film a lot. Leaders of several Islamic parties have even attacked it directly in the media. I went to see it at the cinema and personally I wasn't shocked. But you have to understand that Moroccan society is very conservative and hypocritical. In Morocco, a woman who has premarital sexual relations is called a prostitute. It doesn't bother people if a woman doesn't wear the hijab. But the veil is a religious symbol, it's conjures up deeper meanings. That's why the film is considered an attack on Islam.

Everyone knows that the narrative of the film is quite credible. But I think the director should have treated the subject with a little more tact to avoid shocking the country. He wanted it to be talked about, and it worked."


Film opinion

Is not correct to say that woman who has premarital sex is a prostitute. It doesnt make any sense. The film song is very well produced. Congratulations for all the film makers. Kisses! Paula.


Welcome to the "one world" utopia that the politicians are pushing down your throat!!!

Live and let live - try JASAD in Lebanon/Pink undies in India.

Guys !
It's interesting reading about all our different cultures/traditions/values/norms. Guess globalization is touching everyone alive.Perhaps that's the trick/formula they've used to access our backyards and therefore, no where else to hide our fannies. During the St. Valentine's week, I read something from this same news medium about Indian women sending pink underwares before some wild/ruthless guys or group that goes about beating and harassing females up in bars. Then came JASAD from Lebanon and now "Veiled Love" which is raising lots of dust for absolutely nothing. Hopefully, one of these days, we'll learn the truth. Remember this one thing, "If time is the healer, the truth comes a real close second". Time will tell folks, don't go on cuddling a stool/bench whereas Mom is pregnant - wasted energy. Just hang in there and wait for the baby to be delivered so you can carry the baby for as long as you can - don't you think? Are you lost or what?

A spotaneous comment before watching the movie !

Regardless of the intentions or goal of the producer...I think that this is a film worth producing to bring up an interesting topic "maybe still under the taboo category" I don't believe that the producer is talking about something that does NOT exisit. Being a Moroccan well travelled and well knowledgeable about Morocco and Moroccans..., it is very hypocritical to start preaching great values and principals while in reality very few may practice them. Worse than that, to start an attempt of criticism trying to put a lid on facts within our own society is insane in itself. So what if we become true to ourselves???? This has NOTHING to do with the religion "Islam" it has to do with people who (in this case) happen to claim to be followers of this respectful faith. Our FAITH is one thing and our DEEDS is something else.

Religion in general is a set of great values, principals and teachings...(in addition to the nature of the creed or who/how you worship) BUT followers (or so called followers) of a certain religion is totally something else. Enough of being hypocriticals to ourselves first before to the others. There is a LOT of SHIT that is happening in our country that is very far from the values we preach on to others. But untill we become honest with ourselves and start understanding our realities and our inner selves....we have no right to defend or protest against facts. The last and most important thing I want to say is: Be a great role model and shut the....up, let your deeds speak for you and NO need to preach. Just BE, and let people BE. Chacun pour soi et Dieu pour tous !

A bold talker and a straightshooter Moroccan!

"In Morocco, a woman who has premarital sex is called a prostitu

If it's not too much to ask, what is the man who has sex with the woman called?
Wasn't there a case just a short while ago where a woman was raped, and SHE was executed.

So it's OK for the guy or for a rapist to get up to naughties, but the woman, even when a victim of abuse, is in a NO NO situation every time.

Look at the little logo on the side of my blog: BS free zone: and that is pure unadulterated taurean doo-doos, with a large helping of hypocrisy throw in for good measure.


Know the facts or shut your pie hole!

@David: Yes the title is directed at you!
You said: "If it's not too much to ask, what is the man who has sex with the woman called?
Wasn't there a case just a short while ago where a woman was raped, and SHE was executed."

Where was this woman that you talk of? Are we talking about Morocco still?

By the way, a woman who has sex before marriage is not called a prostitute in Morocco. Maybe a whore, the Moroccan word is "Qahba". It is a derogatory term just like "Salgout" which is what you would call a guy engaging in the same type of practices.

I haven't seen the movie, but from I've gathered the producer did intend for it to be controversial. For some reason, Muslims do not have the right to get upset, they are not allowed to feel hurt according to some.

If this were a movie about a nun, a Mormon... or any other girl whose clothes are a clear indication of her religious affiliation, the respective followers of that religion would get all bent out of shape.

What bothers me the most is that the people that brag about how they are "open minded" fail to understand that different religions and cultures are entitled to their own ideas and principles. Instead, these self proclaimed open minded and modern people go off spewing hate speech.


Who cares? Its a movie -

Who cares? Its a movie - not reality. It might totally wind you up, but it is still a movie made with actors and directors etc.. Don't let it get to you.

It's not the movie that upset me..

The movie could be based on true facts for all I care. What bugs is that the MAJORITY of the people in this country (U.S.) that I have come to love and care about...are so hatefully ignorant. They seem to have chosen not to educate themselves on the facts. Instead, they continue feeding their hateful and egocentric nature.

The guy jumped directly to citing an instance where a woman was executed after she was raped. If my memory serves me right; Morocco's last execution was around '93-'94. How's is that for being a country in "the middle east"?

Going back to the movie, I think it's OK for the producer to have taken that route. It is EQUALLY fine for some people to be offended by it. What I don't accept is DENYING somebody the right to FEEL offended.

Be more critical and open your eyes

I dont know much about Morocco or that part of Africa. I also dont understand some of the punishments women face for crimes they are not responsible for. But there was a similar situation in which a muslim stepfather raped his teenage daughter. The girl reported the incident and she was sentenced to death by stoning,,,despute the fact that the father went on to admit what he did a few days later to the courts. This happend in Nigeria. The girls life was saved when a pro-feminist Winnie Mandela stepped in and made a lot of noise about injustice to women.

Im not saying muslims are bad (some of them are my best friends) but when you hear stories like this you have to wonder as an oustider.
This movie is probably a critique on the current youth culture of today. Above all it is a movie and it is subject to many interpreattions while it entertains. People really should learn to read between the lines,,,its not that hard.


I wonder how close to reality the Moroccans that are upset about this movie are. Having grown up in Rotterdam in a neighborhood with many Moroccans, I can tell from own experience that the girls of this community nearly all have sex before marriage and that they marry with men from their community or often with men in Morocco. Does this make them all prostitutes? Their are surgeons in Holland that make big money with reconstructive hymen surgery. Go Moroccan girls go, you are among the best!