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Jamaa Ait Bakrim is serving a 15-year prison term for activities linked to his Christian faith.



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.

CRACKDOWN FEARED

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. "

INTERNATIONAL OBLIGATIONS

"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.

MOROCCO LEGISLATION 

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.

(BosNewsLife, the first truly independent news agency covering persecuted Christians, is 'Breaking the News for Compassionate Professionals' since 2004). 

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5 Responses to “Morocco Fatwa Demands Death Sentence For Christian Converts”

  1. Knize10 Says:

    Its time for Morroco to be smothered by a large sand storm and emerge as a real, modern and civilized nation.

  2. Happy to be a Kafir Says:

    That won’t stop many. There are a lot of Christians and Christian converts who would be willing to die for their faith. muslims are the most insecure sons of b*tches on Earth.

  3. Michael Says:

    If a man sheds the blood of another, by man shall his blood be shed. (Genesis 9:6)

  4. ibrahim Says:

    My name is Ibrahim from Morocco I saw that the Christian religion calls for tolerance and to do good, I want to enter the religion of Christ Our Father and I do not know how I want help.

  5. Stefan Bos Says:

    Dear Ibrahim,

    What a wonderful news that you want to know Him personally. Actually, being a Christian has nothing to do with religion, though Christianity has been wrongly called that way. It’s about a personal relationship with God. He loves you very much. Even if you would have been the only person on this earth, He would have send his only begotten Son to die for you and rise up from death to give you eternal life.

    The Bible makes clear it’s not about religion, meaning rules, laws. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

    Because “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23).

    Jesus Christ rose up from death on the third day after He was crucified for our (my and your sins). He paid our debt. God doesn’t even remember your sins when you meet Him if you accept Him in your life.

    So Ibrahim it’s really very simple. The Bible says: “If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
    For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10)

    God says that if you believe in His son, Jesus, you will live forever with Him in glory.

    “For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16.

    Perhaps a suggested prayer could be: “Lord Jesus, I know I have sinned. But I believe that you died for my sins and rose up from the death so I can have eternal life with you. Make me the person you want me to be. I believe You died and rose from the grave to make me a new creation. And to prepare me to be with your forever. Jesus, come into my life, take control of my life, forgive my sins and save me. I am now placing my trust in You alone for my salvation and I accept your free gift of eternal life.”

    If you like more info, we also suggest you to read: http://peacewithgod.jesus.net/god-so-loved-the-world/

    Perhaps you can find other believers, but if that’s difficult, or you need a Bible, please check here: https://www.youversion.com/mobile It’s Free!

    For Bible study we strongly recommend you this Free site: http://www.bibelstudium-online.de/webpages/biblestudy_download.html

    If you have any more questions, contact us at any time. bosnewslife@gmail.com

    God bless you,

    Stefan J. Bos, founder BosNewsLife

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