Najate used to be a guide at the Hassan II Mosque, but now guides independently. She is educated and articulate and keen to answer any question about Moroccan and Islam life. She warms up to us by telling us a story.
A woman has 6 children, and sadly her husband no longer calls her ‘honey’, but rather “mother of six”. She is unhappy about this and after a family gathering he once again says “mother of six – let us go”. She had had enough so she replied “Let us go father of four”.
This certainly set the tone for our guided tour of Casablanca – and standing outside the Royal Palace, she explains how life for women has changed a lot since the present King Mohommed VI.
Women can now divorce a man, including for not satisfying them sexually. Men have to go to court to divorce their wives, instead of simply saying “I divorce you” three times, and they also have to make provision for the care of the wife and children and share the assets. The King’s wife is a modern working woman, and has worked especially hard on women’s health in rural areas – in particular breast cancer.
Najate answers all our questions without hesitation, and when she tells us there are 36 women in parliament, tell us that at the next election she hopes that she will add to that number by being elected herself – ensha’llah (God willing).