The 4 Freedoms Library

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Star of Morocco's sex workers film flees to France after 'brutal' assault

Loubna Abidar, who plays a sex worker in Much Loved - lauded in France but banned in Morocco - flees to France after after violent assault

Moroccan actress Loubna Abidar on stage after being awarded with the Valois Best Actress trophy for the movie
Moroccan actress Loubna Abidar on stage after being awarded with the Valois Best Actress trophy for the movie "Much Loved" during the 8th Francophone Angouleme Film Festival. Photo: AFP/Getty

The star of a film on sex work in Morocco has fled the country for France after being savagely beaten in Casablanca, where she said she was denied hospital or police assistance.

Loubna Abidar, who portrays a Marrakech sex worker in Much Loved, a film by Nabil Ayouch, a renowned French-Moroccan director, caused a stir in Morocco after a series of previews were released on YouTube.

The film, a tale of four female sex workers including scenes with rich Saudis, French tourists and corrupt police officers, was lauded at this year’s Cannes Film Festival in May. But Morocco banned it barely a week later on the grounds it was a “grave insult to moral values and Moroccan women".

Loubna Abidar posed photos on Facebook of her injuriesLoubna Abidar posed photos on Facebook of her injuries  Photo: Loubna Abidar

Ms Abidar remained out of her native country for a while afterwards, waiting for the media controversy to die down, and had been living “hidden and veiled” in Casablanca, according to French media.

In a video filmed by herself, a bruised and bleeding Ms Abidar describes her ordeal by unknown, knife-wielding assailants.

“I was the victim of an attack in Casablanca. No police station or hospital would take me in,” she said in a video posted on her Facebook page last Friday. “I went to Casablanca’s main police station in the middle of the night and was received with laughter. The police officer said: “Finally Abidar, you got beaten!.”

However, Casablanca police department on Friday said that her allegations were “false”.

“(The police) has no position against Abidar or anybody else, all citizens are equal and any citizen has the right to lodge a complaint, and the duty of the police is to listen to him,” a police source was cited as telling Alyaoum 24 website.

The actress took aim at those behind violent criticism and death threats by saying: “All this because I made a film that you haven’t even watched. You only saw what they wanted you to see. Judge me on the real film."

Loubna Abidar in Much LovedLoubna Abidar in Much Loved  Photo: PYRAMIDE FILMS

Immediately after the attack on Thursday, she reiterated a previous statement on her intention to seek political asylum in France because authorities had failed to take her fears over threats by social conservatives seriously.

She then retracted her statement, saying that she was confused after the beating. Posting multiple photos of her head wrapped in a bandage and several bruises and lesions on her back, she wrote: “I am better, thank the Lord.”

However, on Sunday she posted another selfie wearing dark glasses and the caption: "Left Morocco, in France."

Le Figaro on Monday said she had "sought refuge" in France “for security reasons”. “She cut her mobile phone and took the first plane to France,” it wrote.

Ms Abidar, a mother of a six-year old girl, recently said that she was determined to continue making “committed films” and to become a “spokeswoman in defence of the Arab, Moroccan, Syrian, or Lebanese female condition”.

In June, she told Le Figaro: “I’m not scared to die for a film, but I hope that things will calm down and that Moroccan society will evolve.”

While the film was banned in Morocco, it is credited with prompting authorities to publish their first ever official statistics on the sex industry.

The poster for Much LovedThe poster for Much Loved  Photo: PYRAMIDE FILMS

Local health ministries in Agadir, Fez, Rabat and Tangier in May reported that there were 19,333 sex workers in those cities in 2011. Critics said the number was likely much higher in a nation where prostitution is said to be a significant, if little-discussed, informal sector of the tourism industry.

While receiving support from some women’s rights advocates, others have criticised the film’s tone, saying it must respect the sensibilities of the country’s Sunni Muslim majority.

The Moroccan Association of Human Rights, Amdh, declined to comment, saying it was looking into the incident.

But Ibtissame Lachgar of the Alternative Movement for Individual Liberties, an advocacy group that focuses on women’s and gay rights backed Ms Abidar.

“There are taboos we need to break,” she told the Independent. “We can’t stop fighting.”

Tags: Abidar, Islam, Loubna, Moroccan, at, beaten, conformity, delighted, fascist, for, More…free, insulting, left, speech

Views: 468

Replies to This Discussion

I expect that if she is invited to speak at UK universities, those filthy fascists and cowards that run their Student Unions will ensure she is banned for 'Islamophobia'.

This is just ordinary Muslims doing what ordinary Muslims do, beat, mutilate or kill anyone that breaks Mohammed's rules.

There is no such thing as an innocent Muslim they have all been brought up to believe in and abide by these rules. The only innocents are the victims of the Muslims. The first thing a Muslim victim of Islam must do is to renounce Islam, if he or she cannot openly do this because of personal danger and loss of family, they must at least reject Islam in their hearts.

The point is we cannot have Islam on this Planet anymore. And we all have to realize this and stop using half-measures.

Call Islam what it really is, start telling the truth for a change, The Religion of Evil.

Here is the trailer for Much Loved ; - i hope an English subtitled version comes out soon as it looks like a good film, and as an added bonus, the women are georgeous. Also hope that all the Moroccan Ladies of the night get through the difficult islamic times ahead. This is something Femen should do some activism around.


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