AVOID MUSLIM MOROCCOTourists HACKED WITH KNIVES in gory attack at popular British holiday destination
Morocco Fatwa Demands Death Sentence For Christian Converts
Thursday, April 25, 2013
BosNewsLife Africa Service
RABAT,MOROCCO (BosNewsLife)-- Christian converts in Morocco feared for their future Thursday, April 25, after the country's highest Islamic institute issued a fatwa demanding the death penalty for Muslims who renounce their religion.
The Supreme Ulema Council of Morocco (CSO), a body of Islamic scholars headed by King Mohammed VI, said that Muslims who reject their faith "should be condemned to death." CSO is the only institution entitled to issue 'fatwas', or religious decrees, in Morocco.
The ministry of Islamic affairs declined to comment on the issue.
The fatwa dates back to April 2012 when a legal report was prepared by the government, but it wasn't published at the time, according to local media.
Mahjoub El Hiba, a senior human rights official in the Moroccan government, denied to reporters that the government received a fatwa on "apostasy" -- the word used for abandoning Islam -- as the Arabic-language daily Akhbar al-Youm had claimed.
The different statements could not be immediately reconciled, but local Christians expressed concern about the situation, saying it could lead to a new crackdown on the country's tiny Christian community of some 22,000 people.
"There's a lot of confusion and discussion in Morocco right now about the fatwa," said a pastor near the city of Marrakech in a statement distributed by advocacy group International Christian Concern (ICC). "We fear that if the fatwa is approved, the government will use it to harass us and even arrest us during our meetings," the church leader added, speaking on condition of anonymity.
"The [Islamic] fundamentalists will have an excuse to harm us," the pastor reportedly said.
ICC Regional Manager for the Middle East, Aidan Clay, agrees that the fatwa adds to concern about the position of Christians in the Islamic nation of over 32 million people. "
"The Moroccan government lost credibility among international human rights groups in 2010 when it deported more than 70 foreign Christian aid workers on charges of proselytizing without granting due process rights to a hearing," he told BosNewsLife.
In total, Morocco expelled as many as 100 foreign Christians since 2010, because they allegedly tried to convert Muslims, according to BosNewsLife estimates.
Islamic extremism is the main "source of persecution" in Morocco, said Christian advocacy group Open Doors.
Among those already detained is 49-year-old Jamaa Ait Bakrim, an outspoken Christian convert, who was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment in 2005 for "proselytizing" and destroying "the goods of others" after burning two defunct utility poles located in front of his own business in south Morocco.
Open Doors quoted activists and Moroccan Christians as saying that the severity of his sentence for a "misdemeanor" underscores Morocco's attempt him behind bars as long as possible "because he persistently spoke about his faith."
While apostasy is illegal in many Muslim countries and punishable by death in Saudi Arabia, Moroccan law so far does not directly prohibit it, according to experts familiar with the legislation.
Article 220 of Morocco's Penal Code does state, however, that "attempting to undermine the faith of a Muslim or convert him to another religion" is punishable with six months to three years in prison. It was not immediately clear when and if the reported fatwa issuing a death sentence will become part of new legislation.
"We urge the Moroccan government to safeguard the religious freedoms of all Moroccans and to reject edicts that would constitute a breach of the country's international human rights obligations," Clay said.
Morocco Says Terrorism Behind Blast That Killed 15
April 28, 2011
Voice of America
says terrorists were behind a bombing that killed at least 15 people in a
popular square in Marrakech.
Government spokesman Khalid Naciri says it is too early to say what group might be involved in Thursday's attack, which left at least 20 other people wounded.
Officials say about 10 of the people killed in the blast at a cafe were foreigners. Some officials and witnesses say it appears a suicide bomber may have caused the explosion.
The blast tore the facade off the two-story cafe in Jemaa el-Fna square in the heart of Marrakech's old city, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Morocco's King Mohammed has ordered a speedy investigation into the attack. In a statement, he also expressed condolences to the victims.
Morocco was rocked by a series of Islamic extremist attacks in 2003 that left 45 people dead, including 12 suicide bombers.
"Islamic Education Downgrading" Stirs Furor in Morocco
By Al-Amin Andalusi, & Mariam AL-Tigy, IOL Correspondents
RABAT, June 24, 2005 (IslamOnline.net) – Calls by Moroccan education officials to downgrade or remove the Islamic studies subjects from high school curricula have sparked furor in the North African country, with Moroccan dignitaries believing the calls are a sign of caving in to foreign pressures to “modify” the education curricula in the Muslim world.
The Moroccan education ministry has called for abolishing the Islamic studies subjects from the science section of high school syllabus and limiting the teaching of the Islamic studies subjects in the literary studies' section.
The ministry officials also pressed for removing any references to “jihad” in the Islamic subjects.
“The malicious calls to remove the Islamic studies subjects would not be welcomed in the Moroccan education process,” Khalid Al-Samadei, head of the Islamic studies department, has said.
Samadie, who is also chairman of the Moroccan center for the pedagogical studies and research, stressed that these calls would not gain ground in the Moroccan society that sticks to the Islamic teachings and respects all aspects of openness and co-existence.
“What is happening is the result of the media misconception on Islam and defamation of the Islamic tenets, propagated by different parties that work to fulfill their malicious schemes by fueling such a misconception,” he told the Attajdid daily Web site.
Abdul Kareem Al-Howeshri, chairman of the Moroccan committee for Islamic subject teachers, echoed a similar stance.
“Over the past few years, all lessons related to jihad have been silently taken out from the Islamic studies subjects,” said Howeshri, who is an MP for the justice and development party.
“The Moroccan education process has been under a strict reviewing process, not mainly targeting to remove issues related to jihad, but to limit the teaching of the Islamic studies subjects in general in order to avoid drawing popular outrage.”
Howeshri accused groups calling for equality between male and female of championing the calls to abolish the Islamic studies subjects from the Moroccan education.
“A committee was set up to review the school textbooks and remove whatever runs counter to the concept of gender equality.”
“The committee has even declined to include lessons on hijab under claims that such lessons are a sort of dress discrimination between the two sexes.”
In parallel, new lessons promoting the concepts of tolerance, peace and acceptance of the other have been added into the Islamic studies subjects, he added.
Abdul Salam Al-Ahmar, member of the Moroccan committee for the Islamic subject teachers, agreed.
“Such calls are a violation of the national education charter and the “White Book” stipulating an education that helps build an independent charter for the Moroccan students based on full knowledge of their religion, heritage and history.”
A reviewing of the education curricula and textbooks in Morocco was launched in 2000, which resulted in what is known as the “White Book”.
Al-Ahmar urged “a respect and best use of the terms of the “White Book” on which the state has spent much money and effort.
Last week, Justice and Development Party submitted an interpellation to parliament, interrogating the education minister on the issue.
Lawmaker Howeshri said such efforts to limit or remove the teaching of the Islamic studies subject run counter to King Mohamed VI’s instructions on giving priority to the Islamic studies to help protect Moroccans against extremism.
The Moroccan minister, however, declined to give a clear-cut answer on the issue, describing the Islamic studies subjects as playing the lead role in enhancing the identity of the Moroccan people.
Opponents of moves to remove or limit the teaching of the Islamic studies subjects have been stepping up their opposition to prevent any such decisions from seeing light, according to IslamOnline.net Correspondent.
The ongoing controversy comes a year after Moroccan King Mohamed VI called for developing the Islamic studies curricula to protect the Moroccan youth against extremism.
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