When king Mohammed VI married engineer Salma Bennani in 2002, she became the first wife of Moroccan ruler to be publicly acknowledged and given a royal title. Women’s rights have since improved. The minimum age for matrimony has risen to 18, and women have more freedom of choice in marriage and divorce. Women have also won seats in parliamentary elections. Terrorist bombings in 2003 and 2011 have raised fears of radical Islamic extremists, but King Mohammed VI has tried to expand tr constitutional reforms to create more freedom and limit the powers of the monarchy. Morocco has sought membership in the European Union, but the stalemate in Western Sahara remains unresolved, something that has hindered the region’s stability and prosperity. The king continues to implement reforms and retain the affection of his people despite the 2011 Arab Spring, which toppled the more oppressive régimes of Morocco’s neighbors. Mohammed VI has also adopted a moderate role in the government, which is seen as key to countering hardline Islamic preachers who are widely regarded as responsible for the radicalization of young men in Morocco, the Maghreb, and the Middle EAST.
post-title Modern Morocco