Telethon for HIV/AIDS Funding in Morocco Criticized by Islamist Party Newspaper for Promoting Condom Use
A Dec. 9, 2005, telethon to raise funds for HIV/AIDS programs in Morocco recently was criticized for promoting condom use as a means of HIV prevention by the opposition Islamist party, known as PJD, in its daily newspaper Attajdid, Inter Press Service reports. The Moroccan Association for the Fight Against AIDS organized the telethon, which aired on 2M TV and raised about $295,000. The Attajdid article said the telethon promoted the "use of condoms as the best way to protect oneself from HIV," and in doing so, the organizers were "copying foreign programs and trying to implement them in Moroccan society without regard to Morocco as an Islamic country." The article described HIV/AIDS as "divine punishment" and said "fidelity to religion and marriage" was the best way to prevent the spread of the virus. Writer Mohamed Janboubi, author of a book, "Marabouts in Morocco," about ancient religious leaders who fought against fundamentalism, said PJD's opposition to the telethon represents "a too narrow comprehension of Islam and is an attempt to impose this comprehension on others." He added, "The problem is not an event, a telethon, an initiative or even a condom or a sexual culture. It is deeper than that. The problem is the attempt to stop the evolution of society" (El Ouali, Inter Press Service, 1/26).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.