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Morocco Approves UN Convention On Religious Freedom


The Kingdom of Morocco which has a history of religious tolerance has approved the UN Human Rights Council’s draft resolution on religious freedom. According to the below Italian periodical this brings an end to trials of apostasy.

As Islamic scholar Dr. Sherman Abdul Hakim Jackson has explained, apostasy is at “the heart of a burning debate among modern Muslims.” This is reflected in the range of views on the subject but what should be noted is that this is an intra-Muslim conversation and thankfully malignant and unhelpful Western campaigns against Islam, Shariah and Muslims have either been ignored and or minimal in this specific context. That is not to say that international criticism did not play a role but its influence is often exaggerated, local considerations and movements/currents played a larger role.

What the article omits (overly focusing on “international criticism”) is the fact that at the forefront of the debate has been concerned Moroccan scholars such as the influential legal theorist Ahmed Al-Raysouni (who has written on the subject for decades) who are interested in fulfilling the objectives of the Shariah which they find are violated in such cases by a reliance on out-of-context pre-Modern rulings.

The role of Muslim American organizations like ISNA should also be acknowledged. They have played a positive role in the debate, bringing to the table their experience in Islamic legal theory, inter-faith dialogue and religious freedom in the USA. ISNA did after all convene with its North African partners an important convention in 2013 on the subject in Morocco. (h/t: Mourad)

(Google translate, Italian to English)

Morocco approves an international convention on freedom of religion

Arab Press
Alif Post 
Morocco is among the Arab-Islamic countries that have approved the draft resolution of the Council for Human Rights of the United Nations on the freedom of religious belief. The acceptance by the United Moroccan marks the end of the processes occurring in the country for apostasy in recent decades, provoking strong international criticism.

In addition to Morocco, the Council has seen the participation of many other Muslim countries to the text of the new project, which emphasizes “the need to protect the right of every individual to choose his religious denomination, allowing them to freely practice”, also ensuring the ‘teaching.  fact, all Muslim countries present at the polling has confirmed their approval of the resolution.  In the text of the law that “every individual is free to have or not to have their own religion and to change it without fear of being judged or condemned “.

The vote, however, has given rise to conflicting positions: on the one hand has found approval in political and humanitarian, the most conservative refrained from any comment, except for the Salafi al-Mouhammad Fizazi, who has expressed his rejection for freedom of apostasy; other activists have instead posted negative comments on their Facebook profiles.

The decision of Morocco involves a turning point in the religious life of Moroccans, after the country has witnessed several court trials for “change of doctrine” or “convert to Christianity”: even if the judgments were limited and read, they however, created much controversy both from the point of view of religious and political, arousing the great embarrassment of the Kingdom in international fora, including the European Parliament.

Morocco has always been very lenient about the conversion of one individual to another religious denomination, provided that happen in a discreet and non-public, for fear of not circulate rumors about cases of proselytism in a conservative society and do not have negative consequences. However, today  the states can no longer control the individual conversions of their citizens due to the development of the interactions between the various actors of the international community. This is easily seen in the case of Morocco, which has a population of about 5 million migrants, of which almost 84% of which are located in countries that  guarantee freedom of worship.

At the same time, technological development and media Moroccans have become the target of numerous programs in a religious – Shiites, Wahhabis, as well as Christians – that the state has no way to control or stop.

In the face of these developments, Morocco has therefore felt the need for a new constitutional amendment and other legal instruments to guarantee its citizens full freedom of belief.

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  • Vicky Elm

    Shows how ignorant you are, brother. You don’t know me, you typed, but you know my knowledge on the topic? Yes, you are extrem in your views together with your choose of towards others. I do not want to provoke you but if you know much about your religion you should know that the ummah are not permitted to go against their leader, – in this case a Muslim – it will cause more damage. You seem a case of “pick and cherry” from the Qur’an and even will permit slavery in this time. Go on the middle path that Allah (s.w.t) mention and do not go extreme in your views.

  • Vicky Elm

    You clearly spoke for me with your generalising, hence that is not first time you do that in your comments. As Muslim I do care about yours, thank you very much to do the same.

  • Vicky Elm

    I am a Moroccan myself, and in my view you are quite extreme as I know the history of my country myself. On top of that, you speak for me and others, clarifying that I do not have problems with apostaty which I do nowadays, because how it is done today is not how it is done back in time with Mohammed(pbuh), as he never killed someone who left the religion. So I do not know why you assume that I don’t know history, as I wasn’t pointing out at that.

  • Elmorocojo

    From what I remember he got his Doctorate in the 70s from Azhar. Also there are many many that you just are ignorant of because you live in the west. If you can get hold of it read the book “The re-centering of Azhar” by Malika Zeghal, see this too,
    As for Suhaib Webb he has issues but the ones you enumerate are not of them. You’re good at dishing out denunciations but where is a real engagement with what he is doing. I like his embrace of social media, website, reaching out to youth and discussing a relevant fiqh for Muslims in the west. I think he even has something to offer to youth and elders in the our Muslim world. So would definitely have to disagree with you on that.

  • Elmorocojo

    You are out of touch with the reality. Have you ever even visited Azhar? Have you met Azharis? It’s massive institute with people who have all sorts of opinions. All trends are represented as well. In its official capacity Azhar remains strictly Sunni but its false to proclaim that it is ‘very traditional.’ They can’t win either they are called modernists or traditionalists. Unlike others it holds the tradition as important but also has the concept of Fiqh Waqi and learning from the rest of the sciences.

  • 1DrM

    You now there’s serious rot at Al-Azhar when the Grand Mufti is compromised, and you can’t gloss over that fact by all the scholars they are churning out. Doesn’t matter how many thousands of scholars AL-Azhar has produced off their assembly line, I repeat, name one dynamic scholar they’ve produced in the last quarter century. You’ve also contradicted yourself by going off on traditionalists and Madhabist on one hand yet you’re defending Al-Azhar, which is very traditional.

  • Elmorocojo

    Al-Azhar didn’t lose credibilty because of the collaborations of some scholars (many times under coercion) and the “Grand Mufti” over the decades with the Egyptian state. there are literally thousands of scholars who graduate from Azhar yearly, it’s a central pillar of Egyptian society and identity; they work in the villages, centers, towns across the world.
    Many scholars have been critical of the regimes and provided the critical space for the evolution of fiqh away from the ossification that is promoted by traditionalists and madhabist who are stuck to the words of law manuals created in a different society and time and context who are also the ones who are Munafiqs that sing the praises of rulers and warn against criticizing tyrants. For them the ideology is still ‘obey tyrants,’ and are ready to kiss the boots of the West as they did many times which we will not forget.

  • Lynchpin

    Belief in the Quran and adherence to certain aspects of the Quran are very different things.
    Do you deny that other branches of Twelvers are Muslims?

  • Peeper

    No, it does detract the point. Believing in the Quran is a core aspect of Islam, it’s the doctrine definition I’m mentioning. When the varying definition conflict with the fundamental ones, it becomes false definition.

    The issue with your point is semantical one rather rational concept. There are too many vague analogies that can fit into your criteria.

  • Peeper

    The core belief of being Muslim is believing in the quran, I believe. Alawites in the case, contradict aspects of the quran and its core beliefs, as their belief is more syncretic. Their beliefs of reincarnation is interesting one, nonetheless.

  • Friend of Bosnia

    For the last time: “you lot” refers to Crusaders, not Christians as a whole. A crusader is for me anyone with a hostile mindset towards non-Christians, but in our time they have singled out Muslims. They need not be Christian either, as we can see from the anti-Muslim attitude of Hindutva fascists, or in Burma, China…
    And in thed past, crusades against non-Christians HAD the backing of the Church. That was not just in the 16th and 17th century, it was the same in Bosnia, the Greater Serb Genocidal Anti-Bosniak Crusade had the backing of the Church. Sure, they deny ever having been involved, but thir priests did blessthe genocidals before they went and slaughtered 8,347 helpless prisoners in cold blood. And ther are a lot of people around, as wel as some evangelical churches who are convinced that it is becoming of good Christians to try and convert Muslims, or even to commit atrocities aginst sthem, or that these are at least understandable and God will forgive them for killing unarmed prisoners or raping girls who happen to be Muslims.
    THOSE are the people who have a lot to answer for.
    And the Catholic Church, despite having started to do quite a few steps in the right direction still has not apologized for the Inquisition and what they did to the Muslims and Jews of Spain.
    At least the Vatican is willing to respect Muslims. Good for them. But quite a few Croat clergymen and bishops in Bosnia are not. And neither are of course most Orthodox ones. A Conference for inter-religious dialoge exists in Sarajevo, but I wonder if they have achieved anything much. I myself consider that a pity, for I know the non-Muslims of Bosnia aren’t going away anytime soon. But, neither are the Muslims. People must learn to get along. But what can one do if one wants to shake hands and the other one doesn’t want to unclench his fist…?
    In the end one side must win over the other. But not exterminate or ethnically cleanse them. Like it happened in Rwanda. The response of the Tutsi to the genocide committed against them by Hutu was NOT genocide vice versa. It was just to defeat their military power. And make them ask for forgiveness. Only if my side achieves what the RPF did in Rwanda will Bosnia ever become a normal country. What we need is our own Paul Kagame.
    And I do not trust the Serbs. Since 1804 their national obsession is to wipe out all Muslims from the Western Balkans. In old times they may have had many a grudge with Muslims but I find it totally unacceptabble that I have to pay for something my ancestors allegedly or actually did in the 17th or 19th century, or in 1944. How would you like it if I came over to your house and slapped your little son in his face because your people wronged mine 200 years ago? But the Serbs see nothing wrong with doing that. Of course they cry wolf when it’s appliede to them.
    I’ve tried to explain that to the Serbs for over 20 years now. But they refuse to listen or to understand. They shut their minds. They always come with the same ole same ole. If that’s the way they want it to be, they should know they are not invincible, my side won’t be the underdog forever and they will cry bitter tears when they get the wrong end of the stick, as logic says that undoubtedly eventually they must. And then, like in Rwanda, the appropriate steps must be taken so that people will never again turn onto the others because they are different. It’s a sily notion. Mankind has much more pressing problems that squabbling over the was others believe and they should know how unfair it is to dispossess, oppress or destroy other people. But like I said, many people see nothing wrong with that. They need to be taught a very painful lesson in humility. And if that does not help, they must be rendered harmless. By any which ever way. Before they have the chance to commit mass murder.

    Also: Putin backs the murderous genocidal Assad regime, he crushed the Chechens and who knows what his followers will do to the Crimean Tatars. Putin has the backing of the Russian Orthodox Church .
    The Greek Orthodox church has a lot of leverage in Greek politics, and Greek politicians of all shades always keep the Muslims under the thumb (or under the heel).
    So you see I have good reason to mistrust them.
    That you don’t like that is clear but I’m not changing my views.
    And this is NOT about Muslims “ruling” non-Muslims. It’s about Muslims being free from persecution.

  • George Carty

    Very true — Milosević made a deal with the devil and deserved to pay the price…

  • Friend of Bosnia

    Well, that’s because I have read so many islamophobic messages in the last 20 years, and so little of support, epecially in view of what Bosniaks and Kosovo Albanians went through. And besides that the genocidals justify the genocide and robbery with events that occurred hndred of years or in 1992, almost half a century ago

  • Friend of Bosnia

    Actually no. But it’s beside the point because Assad is not making war on the Syrian people on ground of what the Alawite belief says (because even if I don’t know much about it – you see, Alawites don’t let outsiders in about their faith – it surely does not say to kill Sunni Muslims.)
    Nevertheless there is much mistrust between Alawites and Sunni Muslims. As I said, I don’t likew their secretive and excluding attitude but as long as they don’t start kicking over my tea wagon I see no reason for myself to kick over theirs; let’s leave it at that.

  • Friend of Bosnia

    Nothing at all indeed; no way for her to get over such a terible loss…

  • Elmorocojo

    Al-Azhar has some problems and they have some scholars who are idiots but as a whole this is a tremendous institution that IS highly respected except for among reactionaries and takfiris. The apostasy discussion predates 2006 and was opened by reformers like Jamal ad-Deen Afghani and Abduh at least in the legal sense. The debate is on our terms.

  • Mehdi

    Maybe but what matters are the results, we can write all the books we want on Milosevic’s strategy or personality, what matters is what those criminals perpetrated and the fact that he had the power to stop it and in the end, in the best case he let it happen, in the worst he actually pushed for it… This is what Milosevic should have been judged for.

  • Ali

    Al Azher is the most respected islamic institute in the world. You really believe the US is controlling it, even when al Azher openly attacks America and its policies?

  • Ali

    Selling out for dollars? Like who?

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