The Moroccan court hopes that its decision will pave the way towards greater freedom of religion in the country.
Rabat – The Court of Appeals in Taza, a city in northern Morocco, has ruled in favor of an individual accused of “shaking the faith of a Muslim,” a crime according to Article 220 of the Penal Code. The defendant had given someone a book explaining the Bible.
The court announced its decision in a statement, explaining that the Bible “is one of the holy books” that Muslims believe in and declared the defendant “innocent” of any offences.
The details of the case date back to 2018, when the plaintiff filed a complaint against the defendant, accusing him of proselytizing, the act of attempting to convert a person to another religion.
The defendant denied the accusation and pleaded not guilty.
According to Article 220 of the Penal Code: “Anyone who attempts to shake the faith of a Muslim to convert to a different religion” will be punished by 3 to 6 months imprisonment and a fine ranging from MAD 15 to 575.
Toward the end of 2018, the court upheld a preliminary ruling at the request of the King’s general prosecutor to explain its decision, considering it “a step toward promoting religious freedom in Morocco.”
Although Article 3 of the 2011 Constitution dictates the freedom to practice religious rituals, Moroccans of religious minorities, such as Christianity, keep a low profile for fear of social judgment or persecution.