Here are five ways to stay out of jail when in Morocco
It is advisable to do a little research before visiting a new place. It will make your visit a more relaxing experience. Morocco was once occupied by Christian Berbers, Phoenicians, Romans, Arab dynasties and Carthaginians, who built their empires when they inhabited the land.
It is an Islamic country blessed with a rich culture which is a blend of Arab, Berber, European and African influences. Several authoritative outlets have listed Morocco as the most preferred destination for tourists in North Africa because the country has placed a high premium on tourism as a strategic industry for the growth and sustainability of its economy.
Some locals may take offense to certain things tourists do. Here are some rules and regulations that one needs to be mindful of when in Morocco. Note that according to article 2 of Morocco’s penal code, ignorance is no excuse.
Any attempt to convert a Muslim to Christianity is not welcome, thus it is even an offense to be in possession of the Holy Bible in Arabic in Morocco even though Arabic is their official language. It could be misconstrued as a guise to convert Muslims to Christianity.
2. License to love
It is prudent not to openly display affection to your partner, same-sex or of the opposite sex when in Morocco as they are very conservative when it comes to public displays of affection.
All Moroccan laws apply to foreigners, according to Article 10, even though tourists may be less likely to be implicated like the locals.
Adulterers face being jailed and it is illegal to have premarital sexual relations. Also, forget about having one-night stands with any Moroccan in a hotel because the owners are required by law to see a marriage license before giving any key out.
3. Hashish is illegal
The Economist ranks Morocco as the world’s largest supplier of hashish, a by-product of marijuana. Regardless of the overwhelming smell of hashish in Morocco, do not be tempted into purchasing it from any of the street vendors who might approach you with it. It is illegal to smoke or have the drug and those caught in the company of people in possession with or without their knowledge will also be indicted.
4. The monarchy is off limits
Morocco is a patriarchal and a monarchical society so if you have an opinion about the king, especially if you are a woman, it is best to keep it to yourself. The lèse–majesté laws make it an offense to bad-mouth the king whether in private or publicly because you are sure to be jailed when caught.
5. Unauthorized photography
Although it is not illegal to take photographs on the streets of Morocco, citizens are a bit more careful about ‘bad tourists’ and hence the probability of being arrested for taking shots.
To avoid any trouble, ask permission from the people you intend to photograph. It is not uncommon to be asked for a tip from the people you are taking shots of.