Will Morocco Inflict the Death Penalty for apostasy? -Part 2

Cynthia Yacowar-Sweeney


Earlier this week I wrote about Morocco’s religious council prescribing the death penalty for Muslims who commit apostasy from Islam, at AmericanThinker. Vladtepesblog had initially alerted me to Moroccan news website Lakome that reported on the religious council’s fatwa to condemn apostates to death. The Supreme Ulema Council, run by secular King Mohammed Vl of Morocco, consists of religious Muslim scholars (ulema). The Council voiced its opinion on the death penalty back in April 2012, and its fatwa was published last week in Arabic-language Moroccan daily newspaper Akhbar Al Youm.

Condemning apostates to death in Morocco? This is a country recognized as being one of the most moderate of Muslim countries. As the Moroccan regime talks about all the democratic political reforms it made with its new and improved 2011 Constitution, the highest religious government institution in the country talks about killing Muslim apostates.

Here’s some background. For the first time ever in Moroccan history, an Islamist party (the Justice and Development Party or PJD) won power and formed a government in November 2011. However, Morocco’s largest Islamist opposition movement, a more radical Islamist movement banned from politics (the Justice and Charity movement or Al Adl Wal Ihsane) is gaining in popularity and could eventually oust the PJD…or possibly the King. The Justice and Charity movement refuses to recognize the King’s political and religious legitimacy (his title is “commander of the faithful”), rejects foreign intervention, and most importantly, advocates the establishment of an Islamic state in Morocco under Sharia Law. Are the terms “justice” and “charity” of Al Adl Wal Ihsane to be defined according to Islamic law, or according to Western standards?

And why would a member of the radical movement Al Adl Wal Ihsane, a movement that is pro-Shariah, condemn the pro-Sharia ruling of the Supreme Ulema Council, as he did when contacted by Lakome? The former outwardly claimed that “Al Adl Wa Al Ihssan is for the Freedom of Conscience. Our position is based on the principles of Sharia and we regard the Freedom of Conscience as one of its central elements. Moreover, the numerous chapters of the Koran that evoke the subject and affirm Freedom of Conscience, provide the founding principles of Sharia.

If there is no compulsion in religion, as per the Koran (2:256), then why are countless numbers of non-Muslims slaughtered and killed throughout the world? The Al Adl Wal Ihsane member goes on to say that “there exists only one hadith where the prophet says ‘kill those who change religion’, ” basically downplaying the significance of condeming apostates to death.

According to Lakome, a member of another Moroccan Islamist opposition party (Umma) outwardly expressed his surprise by the fatwa, and excused the Council in that it had probably relied on a hadith not from the Sahih al-Bukhari, the most reliable collection. However, the apostasy hadith IS from the most reliable source, Bukhari (and from other reliable sources as well):

Bukhari 52:260 (the Prophet said, ‘If somebody [a Muslim] discards his religion, kill him’) and Bukhari 83:37 (By Allah, Allah’s Apostle never killed anyone except in one of the following three situations: [1] A person who killed somebody unjustly, was killed [2] a married person who committed illegal sexual intercourse and [3] a man who fought against Allah and His Apostle and deserted Islam and became an apostate) and Bukhari 84:57 (statement of Allah’s Apostle, ‘Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him’)and more.

The Umma party member added that “it is the text of the Koran that is the reference, and the Koran does not mention the execution of the apostate.” However, the Koran DOES contain verses that indirectly refer to and support the apostasy hadith:

Koran 4:89 (They desire that you should disbelieve as they have disbelieved, so that you might be (all) alike; therefore take not from among them friends until they fly (their homes) in Allah’s way; but if they turn back, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them, and take not from among them a friend or a helper.), Koran 5:33 (The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is : execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land : that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter), Koran 3:90 (But those who reject Faith after they accepted it, and then go on adding to their defiance of Faith – never will their repentance be accepted; for they are those who have gone astray) and more.

As I wrote last week, at present, there is no death penalty for apostasy in Morocco….not yet.  Islam is the state religion, according to Article 3 of the 2011 Moroccan Constitution.  Therefore, it should not come as a shock when apostasy or anything that runs counter to Islam, aka Sharia Law, is punished. The Moroccan Supreme Ulema Council shares the concerns of Yusuf al-Karadawi, spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, who said in 2012 that if Muslims had “gotten rid of the apostasy punishment, Islam wouldn’t exist today.”

The Western notion of human rights and freedom of religion cannot be guaranteed in a country that (a) declares Islam as the official religion, (b) ensures the King “sees to the respect for Islam” as per Article 41 of the Moroccan Constitution, (c) sees more radical Islamist movements pushing for power, and (d) has accepted the Cairo Declaration, which places Sharia Law above all other systems of law. Laws that do not conform to Sharia cannot be upheld forever in a country like Morocco.

Apostasy is not officially considered a crime under Morocco’s criminal and civil codes.  However, attempting to convert a Muslim is illegal, according to Article 220 of the Moroccan Penal Code: “anyone who has impeded or prevented one or more persons from worship or from attending worship services of any religion may be punished by six-months to three-years imprisonment, and a fine of 200 to 500 dirhams.”

Not surprisingly, atheists and Christian proselytizers and converts in Morocco who speak out, are harassed, attacked, face death threats, expelled or imprisoned for periods longer than three years.  Moroccan atheist blogger Kacem El Ghazzali, a believer in freedom of expression, was forced to leave Morocco two years ago due to death threats made against him for his views against Islam.  Whatever happened to the second half of Article 3 in Morocco’s Constitution that “guarantees to all the free exercise of beliefs”?

Given the rise of Morocco’s ruling Islamist party and the increasing popularity of the government’s radical Islamist opponents, one can only ponder the role of Islam in government with great concern, especially against the backdrop of Morocco’s religious council calling for the death of Muslim apostates.

It is only a matter of time before Morocco becomes just another North African country that accedes to the demands of Islam.


About Eeyore

Canadian artist and counter-jihad and freedom of speech activist as well as devout Schrödinger's catholic

4 Replies to “Will Morocco Inflict the Death Penalty for apostasy? -Part 2”

  1. “It is only a matter of time before Morocco becomes just another North African country that accedes to the demands of Islam.”

    This sums up the entire Moslem world, the Caliphate is being reformed and the crescent is once again marching in a war of conquest against the rest of the world. I have no doubt that in the long run they will be defeated but a lot of blood will be spilled and a lot of Europe will be occupied for a long time before the Moslems are once again driven back into their hell holes.

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