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Morocco: Adoption Of Orphans Under Attack By Islamist Government

Boys in a Moroccan orphanage

Regarding a growing unease over moves by current islamist Justice Minister Mr. Ramid efforts to restrict adoption in Morocco, at a time when the situation of orphaned or abandoned children is critical.  A recent circular from the Ministry of Justice dismissing the right of non-resident foreigners to adopt has led to grave concerns about the future welfare of Moroccan orphans.

The latest protests come from a group of six children's welfare associations. Their concerns join those of couples currently in the process of adopting.

Unfortunately Morocco has not kept pace with international standards when it comes to adoption and still adheres to what many see as an outdated system known as kafala. Islamic views on adoption are generally distinct from practices and customs of adoption in other non-Muslim parts of the world like Western or East Asian societies. Raising a child who is not one's genetic child is allowed and, in the case of an orphan, even encouraged. But, according to the Islamic view, the child does not become a "true" child of the adoptive parents. For example, the child is named after the biological, not adoptive, father. More conservative Muslims go so far as to claim that adoption is forbidden by Islamic law but that it is permissible to take care of the child in a fostering arrangement. In Arabic this is known as kafala.

The intent of kafala is to ensure that a child is raised as a Muslim. But, because monitoring kafala can not be assured abroad, the Ministry fears that the adopted child will not be educated in the teachings of Islam.

On September 19, a circular (No.40 S/2) issued by the Ministry of Justice and Freedoms was a bombshell, saying that after investigation kafala should be refused "to foreigners who are not ordinarily resident in Morocco." And therefore it "is granted only to applicants who reside permanently in the country."

The argument developed by the Ministry is based on the fact that judge responsible for granting or denying kafala has an investigative role to determine "moral fitness and social ability to raise an abandoned child in the the precepts of Islam". In the case of adoptive parents living outside Morocco this is impossible. Article 9 of the Law on kafala requires the supervising judge  to ensure that all the terms of any agreement continue to be met. Failure to do so gives the judge power to revoke the kafala. In practice this is never done, but is all the justification needed to deny kafala to foreign couples.  What all this ignores is the welfare of the child.

The six Moroccan associations fighting for the right of abandoned children to have parents were alarmed by the September 19th circular and took the case to the Courts of Appeal and Courts of First Instance.

The decision to exclude foreigners to kafala, even if they are Muslims (who do not live Morocco) has caused great  concern and confusion within the associations working to better the lives of abandoned or orphaned children.  The associations in the frontline of this fight for the children are Village Children, The Babies Association of Morocco, The Rita Foundation, The Zniber Association, Dar Al Wafa Atfal, The Osraty Association and the Association of Children's Friends. These associations are gaining strong support for a public a petition against the Ministry's decision. They have also questioned what, if any, alternative measures the Ministry will come up with "to protect the best interests of the child as defined by national and international law."

As it currently stands, the Ministry circular has effectively deprived thousands of children the opportunity of adoption and a better life. The children will continue to live in orphanages with often substandard conditions and the risk of institutionalisation. According to the welfare associations the damage to the children is significant and, " 80% of children who remain in orphanages become offenders and 10% commit suicide." The associations go on to say, "This circular will aggravate the situation for the centres who are even now unable to receive more children and child trafficking networks of all kinds will not miss this opportunity."

It is difficult to understand how the Ministry intends to rectify the situation that will develop from the kafala ban.  According to estimates, 24 babies are abandoned every day in Morocco. With an annual rate of 6000 abandoned children, the capacity of the orphanages has been far exceeded. The numbers of Moroccan families and foreigners resident in the country cannot absorb the number of children. According to Asmaa Benslimane, founding president of the association Babies Morocco, the rate  "national kafala is practically equal to the international kafala (50%)."

The effects of the ban, according to the authors of the petition, will be "dramatic" as the numbers soar of infants and children without parents who are unable to be adopted. The statistics confirm their case.  Public awareness of abandoned children has gained momentum in recent years and rather than banning adoptions, Morocco needs to encourage suitable applicants, whether they live in Morocco or abroad. According to the national survey conducted in 2010 by INSAF, 27, 200 single mothers gave birth in the previous year out of wedlock. According to the same study, 153 babies are born out of wedlock every day, and 24 of them are abandoned.

An earlier study, conducted in 2009 by the Moroccan League for Child Welfare and UNICEF , revealed that the number of abandoned children was 4,554, (in 2008), representing 1.3% of total births in that year. These children, some of whom are lucky enough to be accommodated in nursing homes and other care centers for children, "have the right to parental affection," said the Child Welfare League.

A major concern for the associations is the question: why does this circular prohibit kalfala to couples not resident in Morocco, knowing that 50% of adopting parents are foreigners, and that the ministry was aware of this?

The answer to this first question comes from the circular itself: "Monitoring of judicial practice indicates that these provisions (those provided by the Kafala Act) are not executed efficiently and correctly, to reflect the legislator's intentions which are to find the appropriate framework for the protection of the abandoned child, and that education takes place in a climate that prepares a child's future, so that it plays its role in society."

Latifa Taoufik, a judge and assistant general secretary in the Ministry of Justice, is reassuring. She  said that the circular came "in response to reports that the Department has received, and that state that there are adoptive parents who exploit and abuse children adopted abroad without any control." Since the procedure is applied incorrectly, Taoufik says, the department "wanted to tighten up the procedure, until bilateral agreements are signed on the issue with countries where kafala is applied."

And what of the foreign applicants who have already started the process?  Their fate is still uncertain. For example, the Lalla Hasna orphanage in Casablanca, opened in 1956 making it one of the oldest in Morocco, has are no fewer than 22 pending applications from foreigners not resident in Morocco.
"The couples are varied, with mixed marriages, foreigners converted to Islam and Muslims by birth. They come from France, Canada, Dubai, United States," said Samira Kaouachi, director of the orphanage. She added that these foreign Muslims often choose children with physical or mental conditions, that Moroccans would never accept.

She concludes that "It is not normal that the 22 pending cases are not resolved, the future parents are determined and they feel a sense of frustration at not being able to complete their process. Let's get these files first." She says it is unacceptable that these children are "stored" in an institution and face an uncertain future.

Another problem complicating things in the Casablanca children's home is that from late 2011 to October 2012, the orphanage has recorded four returns of adopted children, and two more are in progress. "In all cases, the adoptive parents are Muslim Moroccans living in Morocco, who have decided these children are defective products, simply because they are nervous, restless or whatever. Is this Islam?" asks the forthright Ms Kaouachi.

From 1990 to October 2009, the Lalla Hasna orphanage welcomed 2,447 children and 1,389 of these benefited from kafala adoptions. Between 2010 and October 2012, it hosted 300 children. 244 of these were adopted - 50 to non-resident foreigners in Morocco. Currently, another 22 are awaiting adoption by foreigners. Of these, 18 suffer from a physical or mental disability. Boys are in the overwhelming majority, because the orphanage receives almost no girls. "Girls do not come here unless they are sick or disabled," said Samira Kaouachi, psychologist and director of the orphanage. This is explained by the fact that, "mothers rarely leave the girls, they are more docile than boys and their education is relatively easier. We receive only girls whose mothers are in prison, needing psychiatric treatment or girls with disabilities".

The orphanage receives abandoned children whose parents are unknown, and advises couples wishing to adopt a child. "Even if (the adoptive parents) they have good conditions, they feel the lack of a child. The balance, training and affection are only possible in a home between loving parents, even if they are adopted. 70% of these children are cared for every year through kafala, and we would have liked it to be more. We would like our orphanage to be seen as reception center, " laments Samira Kaouachi.

The Hague Convention

The best solution to Morocco's adoption problems would be to sign the the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (or Hague Adoption Convention). However, the problem arises that the convention and Islamic law have fundamental conflicts that need to be overcome.

It is an international convention dealing with international adoption, child laundering, and child trafficking. It was concluded on 29 May 1993 and entered into force on 1 May 1995.

Recognising some of the difficulties and challenges associated with international adoption, and in an effort to protect those involved from the corruption and exploitation which sometimes accompanies it, the Hague Conference on Private International Law developed the Convention.

The main objectives of the Convention are:

To establish safeguards to ensure that intercountry adoptions take place in the best interests of the child and with respect for his or her fundamental rights as recognized in international law;

To establish a system of co-operation amongst Contracting States to ensure that those safeguards are respected and thereby prevent the abduction, the sale of, or traffic in children;
to secure the recognition in Contracting States of adoptions made in accordance with the Convention.

As of April 2012, this Convention has been ratified by 89 countries. Haiti, Nepal and The Russian Federation are signatories, but have not ratified.

The convention states:
"Intercountry adoptions shall be made in the best interests of the child and with respect for his or her fundamental rights. "

 

Article Previously published by View From Fez
Title of article picked by MB News

Comments (27)  

 
Esprit
+3 #1 RE: Morocco: Adoption Of Orphans Under Attck By Islamist GovenmentEsprit 2012-11-12 19:34
They'd rather have the kids live on the street and be abused by anyone and everyone than have them in a home with people that love them and would give them a future at all in Morocco or abroad.
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Robo
+2 #2 NoneRobo 2012-11-13 04:50
This is yet another example of how orphans are abused and have no lobby.
It is a disgrace and outrage that abandoned children with no resources are essentially treated like garbage in the Islamic world.
Morocco is just the latest example, before at least they were more progressive having allowed foreign adoptions.
Wonder how the people sleep at night knowing there are children living on the street?
Wow...
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Hanne Andersen
-10 #3 RE: Morocco: Adoption Of Orphans Under Attack By Islamist GovernmentHanne Andersen 2012-11-13 04:57
No guarantees that when a child is adopted they are going to be loved and not abused. Many adopters are pedophiles.
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Redouane
-4 #4 The Spanish ArmadaRedouane 2012-11-13 07:07
I am uneasy about the way some Spanish couples have reacted recently with the tacit support of some Moroccan NGOs and some liberal-leaning commentators.

Some of these childless Spanish couples have recently decided to settle temporarily in Agadir and other cities with the view of adopting Moroccan kids. But their real intention is to leave the country once they get the kids and the papers sorted.

This way they will be able to disappear from Morocco only to appear again in Spain with the "loot" in their luggage.

These kids will get their names changed to Spanish ones. They will never get to learn about their language and culture unless the parents are open-minded enough to let them learn about their real origins.
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Morcelli
+3 #5 RE: Morocco: Adoption Of Orphans Under Attack By Islamist GovernmentMorcelli 2012-11-13 11:55
Every time you mix Islam, Christianity, Judaism or any other religion in anything, the result is always a disaster.

Moroccan authorities will always come up with an Koranic verse to make their point when it suits their needs.

Moroccan law is mostly based on Shariaa, until we have separation of mosque and makhzen, we'll always have polygamist justice ministers screwing people's lives, in this case, children's lives.

Let's not forget that the way we look at things here is totally different from how the majority on people in Morocco see it. Many Moroccans will agree with the Justice minister, because in their head, Islam is always right and if sometimes it is not child or woman friendly so be it.
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Morcelli
+5 #6 RE: Morocco: Adoption Of Orphans Under Attack By Islamist GovernmentMorcelli 2012-11-13 13:05
Let me please ask this question:

If you are 4 year old orphan, which is more important for you?
Living a decent life with loving a family who considers you as their own child or the worry that your name is Steve and your adoptive parents are Christians?


My suggestion is before you make any comment, please place yourself in the orphan's shoes and see which option is more suitale.
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Morcelli
+2 #7 RE: Morocco: Adoption Of Orphans Under Attack By Islamist GovernmentMorcelli 2012-11-13 13:50
Quoting Hanne Andersen:
No guarantees that when a child is adopted they are going to be loved and not abused. Many adopters are pedophiles.


I thought about that but what is the likelihood that such a thing could happen?

Remember that Children living with their biological parents get abused too if not more often.

The extreme majority are simply people who want to be parents and they feel they have something to share to save a child.

We do not live in a perfect world, if something bad is meant to happen, it will happen no matter what.

No reason should Keep children in orphanages when there are folks out there who are ready to open their homes and their heart to defenseless children.

What I would like to see is countries work with each other for the protection of children, apparently that is not profitable for both countries.
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Frankie
0 #8 AdoptionFrankie 2012-11-14 18:49
Name change has nothing to do with religion, sometimes for safety, or being accepted in a sciety, look at the harrassment many good moslems encounter in the usa............ .Adoption in Morocco?....... .I would rather allow foregners to adopt a Moroccan child than allow a Fundamentalists Moslems to do so, the latter would teach him nothing but hate........... .."KAFALE", I hate this word........... .....Read some moroccan newspapers and see how some moroccans treat heir maids........Ev erybody has the right to look for a better life somewhere that way we are here, so to those LONG BEARDED PEOPLE in the gov. must stay away for deciding for those kids, let the establishment where they live to decide for them........... .Fundamentalist s are a eal CANCER to the Moroccan Society
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Anonymous
-2 #9 Follow the laws...Anonymous 2012-11-14 19:44
Quoting Morcelli:
Let me please ask this question:

If you are 4 year old orphan, which is more important for you?
Living a decent life with loving a family who considers you as their own child or the worry that your name is Steve and your adoptive parents are Christians?

My suggestion is before you make any comment, please place yourself in the orphan's shoes and see which option is more suitale.


I can see where you are coming from, but a law is a law. Does that child know that his name wasnt steve and are his parents really giving him the option of being Muslim if he so chooses. What prevents an adoptive family from never really disclosing the child's heritage and religion to them?

In Africa a few countries south of Morocco, Missionairies literally are asking kids : Who gave you this food?, and the respond with "Jesus". That is what Morocco, I think is afraid of.

From our perspective its hard to understand why they would want only Muslims, but its only so the system is so abused and their was a rash of "Converts" who never really had any intention of keeping them Muslim.
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Anonymous
+1 #10 RE: Morocco: Adoption Of Orphans Under Attack By Islamist GovernmentAnonymous 2012-11-14 21:28
Quoting Frankie:
Name change has nothing to do with religion, sometimes for safety, or being accepted in a sciety, look at the harrassment many good moslems encounter in the usa.............Adoption in Morocco?........I would rather allow foregners to adopt a Moroccan child than allow a Fundamentalists Moslems to do so, the latter would teach him nothing but hate............."KAFALE", I hate this word................Read some moroccan newspapers and see how some moroccans treat heir maids........Everybody has the right to look for a better life somewhere that way we are here, so to those LONG BEARDED PEOPLE in the gov. must stay away for deciding for those kids, let the establishment where they live to decide for them............Fundamentalists are a eal CANCER to the Moroccan Society


Morocco has almost 0 fundamentalists . I saw some super liberal people the last time I was their. If they were so fundamentalist you wouldnt have kids having babies (15-18 years old). They are a very peaceful, loving race. I love Morocco!!!
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Morcelli
+1 #11 RE: Morocco: Adoption Of Orphans Under Attack By Islamist GovernmentMorcelli 2012-11-14 22:23
Quoting Anonymous:
Quoting Morcelli:
Let me please ask this question:

If you are 4 year old orphan, which is more important for you?
Living a decent life with loving a family who considers you as their own child or the worry that your name is Steve and your adoptive parents are Christians?

My suggestion is before you make any comment, please place yourself in the orphan's shoes and see which option is more suitale.


I can see where you are coming from, but a law is a law. Does that child know that his name wasnt steve and are his parents really giving him the option of being Muslim if he so chooses. What prevents an adoptive family from never really disclosing the child's heritage and religion to them?

In Africa a few countries south of Morocco, Missionairies literally are asking kids : Who gave you this food?, and the respond with "Jesus". That is what Morocco, I think is afraid of.

From our perspective its hard to understand why they would want only Muslims, but its only so the system is so abused and their was a rash of "Converts" who never really had any intention of keeping them Muslim.


I get that but what is the welfare of the child?
Named Steve with a secure future or named Bouchaib and miserable his/her entire life?


My cousin adopted a child 2 years, she is now 9 and doing awesome. I remember her telling us that the bribery that takes place in those orphanages is like moqata3a or comisariya. Orphanages in Morocco are big business, every staff in there gets tadwira one way or the other.

If the Justice minister wants to ban foreigners from adopting, then I suggest that he ends the commerce of children taking place in orphanages before issuing any ban.

Law is a law, but you and I know that in Morocco the law only gets applied on the poor and the weak among us.
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Anonymous
-2 #12 OrphanAnonymous 2012-11-15 12:22
I support the law that restricts or bans adoption to foreigners, because when take them outside Morocco, nobody knows what could happen, they could have a harder life than whet they have in orphanages here. At least here they are in their own country and are to be muslims and good persons in society. On the other hand, I hope the government would take more initiatives to provide a good life to those orphans in orphanages as an alternative to banning adoptions to foreigners. There shouldn't be any restrictions without finding an alternative. I wish the Moroccans understood the kafala and think of those orphans who need lot of care and love.
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Nawal
0 #13 for the welfare of childrenNawal 2012-11-16 03:52
I agree with the article. I made a kafala two years ago of a girl two years old that was in an morroquian orphelinat.When I read the opinions against foreginers who mades kafala I can't recognize the condicions I had to prove in front of the autorities of my country and the marroquian judge. All the documents I have to present and personal surveys I have to pass, all to ensure the child is coming to a lovely family. The morroquian consulate in my city nows about the child and can survey her growing up and education when they consider it convenient, also the local social services watch us: far much more than any bilogical child. My girl now is full of health and we are very happy: she with her mama, me with my daugther.
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mobachara
0 #14 RE: Morocco: Adoption Of Orphans Under Attack By Islamist Governmentmobachara 2012-11-19 13:28
why not? do you know any other muslim contry doing the same ... it's a shame on us not even being able to foster our own people...
www.mobachara.ma
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Malika1
+3 #15 MalikaMalika1 2012-11-26 10:18
Shame on this country for letting our children sleep in the street. When there are people willing to give these children a loving home .If we looked after our children there would be no children available for non Muslims to foster/adopt.
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man en blanc
-2 #16 not requiredman en blanc 2012-12-01 06:49
Nobody in Europe wants brown Morroccan children, we want children with blond hair and blue eyes.
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mookie
0 #17 morocco adoptionmookie 2012-12-05 19:18
I disgaree with this ban.
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mookie
0 #18 morocco adoptionmookie 2012-12-05 19:20
I don't think this really has anything to do with religion. I think that the Minister of Justice just jumped to conclusion without looking at the hard facts. Moroccan natives barely adopt these children.
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Per even khan
0 #19 MrsPer even khan 2012-12-06 12:17
I cannot believe the sweeping generalizations that are being made on this forum.

One individual said that all adopters are pedophiles - where the hell do u come up with this - as a potential adoptive parent we go through intense scrutiny and clearances whis most people that have biological children do not go through. I believe that this ban on adoptions by foreigners is going to have severe damaging effects on the children that have to live in institutions all their lives,. Also the orphanages get very little funding and will not be able to survive without the monies from foreign adoptions. I feel ferry sorry for these poor children. Islam does not say that u,cannot adopt. Once again it is mans interpretation of the Koran. There are plenty of Muslims all around the world that would make wonderful parents to these children and yes we are not all pedophiles once again another attack on my religion.
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Per even khan
0 #20 MrsPer even khan 2012-12-06 12:37
Man en blanch did you know that the highest number of Moroccan adoptions whereby European countries over the last fuveyrs . There are plenty of Muslims all over Europe that want oadopt beautiful Moroccan children
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Jamal Ramdani
+3 #21 Adoption..need infoJamal Ramdani 2012-12-07 15:11
All,
My wife and I are thinking about adopting from morocco, we are both moroccans but live in the US. Any info/tips will be very helpful. Reading the arcticle just put more doubts in my mind.
Thank you!
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MoroccanAdoption
-1 #22 So whatMoroccanAdoption 2012-12-31 04:41
Hopscotch Adoptions in the USA is the greatest. We adopted our baby and went through the Kefala Ceremony, stated a few lines and that was it.

Where else is the child going to live in an orphanage? So what if Christians want to bring up Moroccans.
I don't see any locals in your country stepping forward. But then maybe they cannot afford the hefty adoption fees we Americans pay.
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man en blanc
0 #23 To Per even khanman en blanc 2013-04-24 05:33
To Per even khan
+1 #20 Mrs — Per even khan 2012-12-06 12:37
Where do you get your statistics? Directly by Mekka or by telepathy via a medium from Usama bin Laden? That's no knowledge, that's just a dream. Moroccan men divorce if his wife cannot get children. You are afraid of the truth.
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Mamadu
0 #24 Morocco: Adoption Of Orphans Under Attck By Islamist GovenmentMamadu 2013-04-24 06:13
6000 babies grown up without a shelter every year - enough trainee material for Al-Qaeda. Perhaps the Minister of justice learnt well from Ceaucescu, who took them from the orphans home and turned them into killer machines. They're good for suicide killer brigades. You can educate them as a good muslim child soldier. Who controls?
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Anas Bouslamti
0 #25 Morocco: Adoption Of Orphans Under Attack By Islamist GovernmentAnas Bouslamti 2013-05-10 13:54
Mind you, pederasty is already widespread even in the poorer Arab countries, but when the khaleejis came to town for the summer, we were actually afraid for our boys. For whatever reason, the threat of abuse was more immediate to people from the khaleejis, even though if the boy is going to be abused, it's more likely another local who will do it to him. According a female sex therapist who appeared on al jazeera it is estimated that about 60% of Saudi men indulge in gay sexual contact.
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Narjis
+2 #26 Foreign AdoptionNarjis 2013-05-31 15:47
I am a Moroccan adopted by American parents. They adopted me and my brother (not biological) from Rabat in 1989. I have had a very blessed life and I feel so lucky. I return to Morocco in the summer to learn the language and visit the orphanage. I'm a college student and hopefully I'll work as an adoption advocate after I graduate.

Foreign adoption in Morocco should not be banned. It provided me with a chance at life!
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ms
-1 #27 RE: Morocco: Adoption Of Orphans Under Attack By Islamist Governmentms 2013-05-31 21:23
the islamists put the ideology first before the orphans
they don't mind letting them waste in orphanages
the current minister has not don't anything ti improve the justice system
the only ones he could dump on are the orphans
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