Morocco magazine pulled over front page treatment of gays

Story highlights

  • This week's edition of Maroc Hebdo is withdrawn from newsstands and online amid controversy
  • Its cover showed two men looking into each other's eyes with the headline, "Should homosexuals be burned?"

(CNN)A Moroccan magazine has withdrawn its latest edition from the shelves after controversy over a front cover that showed two men at a swimming pool gazing into each other's eyes with the headline, "Should homosexuals be burned?"

A statement released by the magazine, Maroc Hebdo (Morocco Weekly), on Friday said its decision to pull the edition -- in paper form and online -- followed "strong reactions" to it, particularly on social media.
The statement, issued in the name of editor Mohamed Selhami, also apologized to anyone shocked by the subject matter.
    "Our publication is not a political editorial that pushes a certain sensationalism or provocative topics that can offend the public," it said.
    "In this instance, it wanted to show the different sides of a social fact; homosexuality and by extension its status in our society. A debate on today's agenda. Maroc Hebdo wanted in this respect to give an account of this debate."
      At the same time it announced the edition's withdrawal, the magazine offered "an apology to all readers who could be shocked by this topic and reminds them that it will continue working on opening up a national debate on democracy in our society and the values on which it was founded."
      Homosexuality is illegal the majority Muslim, North African nation. According to rights group Human Rights Watch, those convicted of homosexual acts under Moroccan law can be sentenced to up to three years in prison and a fine.