By Rania Tazi
By Rania Tazi
Rabat – Moroccan scholar, Ahmed Raissouni, said that he is in favor of decriminalizing breaking one’s fast during Ramadan.
A video shows the former leader of the Movement for Unity and Reform speaking at a conference organized by the Center for Research and Islamic Legislation and Ethics in Qatar. Raissouni refers to Article 222 of the Moroccan penal code, which punishes those who do not observe fasting during the month of Ramadan. Under this law, those who publicly break their fast risk spending between one and six months of prison and being fined.
The Moroccan scholar said he is against arresting people who break the fast in broad daylight during Ramadan. He went on to add that some people might be forced to break the fast because they are sick or travelling.
“The penal code should not intervene in Ramadan fast. Even when a person is fasting, he may break the fast because he is sick or travelling. Why should we arrest him, interrogate him and prosecute him”? he said.
Public acts of breaking one’s fast are becoming commonplace, especially in recent years. On June 15 two men were arrested in Zagora for drinking water publicly due to the scorching temperature.
Three days later, two men were arrested in Essaouira for eating and smoking on the beach. More recently, a man was arrested in Rabat for smoking a cigarette at his workplace after a human resources employee notified the police of his act.
Although Ahmed Raissouni favors legalizing breaking the fast during Ramadan, it is not for the same reasons as other activists, who fight for their right to not fast. For him, fasting or not fasting should not involve law enforcement or judicial involvement, but is more a question of individual freedoms and clarity of conscience.