The so-called “Weinstein effect”—cascading dismissals of powerful men for abusing women—has swept across many of the world’s wealthy democratic countries. Now a scandal in my own country, Morocco, has broken new ground. It shows what happens when the Weinstein effect meets Islamists and other forces in a traditional Arab Muslim society.
On Feb. 23, Moroccan police arrested Taoufik Bouachrine, editor-in-chief of the daily newspaper Akhbar al-Yawm, at his office in Casablanca. Acting on testimony from as many as 30 women, including some of his own employees, prosecutors charged Mr. Bouachrine with rape, attempted rape, sexual assault and human trafficking.
But in contrast to many of the recent media scandals in the West, which have drawn remorse from perpetrators, Mr. Bouachrine has denied all charges and insists that he is the victim of a conspiracy. It should be noted that he is a vocal critic of the government and staunch supporter of the Islamist Party of Justice and Development (PJD), and some press advocates worry that the current charges are an effort to silence him. It is a complicated case.