Rabat - A new report published by the US department of state said that 8,000 Moroccans are Christians.
Rabat – A new report published by the US department of state said that 8,000 Moroccans are Christians.
99 percent of Moroccan population is Sunni Muslims. Groups together constituting less than 1 percent of the population include Christians, Jews, Shia Muslims, and Bahais, according to the 2014 International Religious Freedom Report, issued on Wednesday by US Department of State.
The report says that though most Moroccan Christians live in safety throughout the country, they face official harassment and pressure to convert from non-Christian family and friends.
According to the report, some Moroccan Christians “reported that the government did not respond to continued societal harassment,” adding that “fears of societal harassment led many Moroccan Christians to abstain from attending worship services in approved places.”
In February, a court of appeals in Fez dismissed a charge against Mohammed El Baldi, a Moroccan convert to Christianity, on the grounds of lack of evidence.
El Baldi had been arrested in 2013 for proselytizing to minors in Taounate and sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison and a fine of 5000 dirhams ($554).
According to the report, while the Moroccan law permits Sunni Muslims of the Maliki school of Islam to proselytize, it prohibits efforts to convert Sunni Muslims to other religions.
Because religious freedom in Morocco is guaranteed by law, any act of preventing or impeding a person from worship or attending worship services of any religion can be punished by six months to three years of imprisonment and a fine of 115 to 575 dirhams ($14 to $68).
Although the Moroccan constitution guarantees religious freedom, proselytizing is punished by law, and is considered an act that shakes the faith of Muslims.
In accordance with Article 220 of the Moroccan Penal Code, a person that engages in the act of proselytizing may face “six months to three years prison and a fine of 100 to 500 Dirhams” for using the “means of seduction in order to convert” a Muslim “to another religion, either by exploiting his/her weakness or his/her needs, or using for these purposes education, health, asylums and orphanage institutions.”
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