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Friday, September 18, 2009

Morocco: religious freedom activists threatened

A group of people who have begun a campaign of civil disobedience against the constrictions placed by religious law in Ramadan in Morocco have not just been arrested but also received many death threats.

As you may know it is customary and a Muslim religious obligation to strictly fast during daylight in the month of Ramadan. In most countries of Muslim majority, which normally also have some sort of religious law seriously affecting civil life, even for non-believers or followers of other religions, individuals cannot freely choose whether to follow this religious imposition or not, at least in public: they must bend to the dictate of the mullahs and behave as devote Muslims, even if they are not.

It's like, in a country of Catholic tradition, meat would be forbidden in restaurants and all sort of public meals on fridays, and butcheries would be forced to close such day. Of course this would cause atheists and other religious freelancers to go out to the streets in protest because freedom of religion is a human right and secularism a most important value, so nobody should be imposed the values and precepts of any particular sect. If you want to impose them upon yourself, then it's your problem, of course.

So Radi Omar and other Moroccans have created the Movement for Individual Freedoms (MALI in its French acronym), that counts with some 1200 members in its Facebook site. They attempted an act of civil disobedience, organizing a meal at the train station of Mohammedia, near Dar-el-Beida (Casablanca) but suffered a police charge and six of its members were arrested. Accused of breaching the compulsory religious precept, they face severe fines and up to six months in prison.

But worse is that Radi Omar has reported receiving a hundred death threats this week for this courageous attitude of disobedience. It must be a really difficult situation to be for human rights and freedom in Morocco in general, where the pseudo-democratic system is just a whitewash for an autocratic police regime, where criticism is hardly allowed. For that reason I can't but cherish and send a most supportive hug to these brave Moroccans who are trying to forge secularism at the other side of the strait.

Source: BBC.

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