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World Morocco minorities call for religious freedom

00:35  19 november  2017
00:35  19 november  2017 Source:   afp.com

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Freedom of religion in Morocco refers to the extent to which people in Morocco are freely able to practice their religious beliefs, taking into account both government policies and societal attitudes

Representatives of Morocco 's religious minorities on Saturday urged the government to clarify the law on freedom of worship in Morocco , where Islam is Religious minorities -- mostly Christians, Jews and Baha'is -- count for less than one percent of Morocco 's population, which is overwhelmingly

Religious minorities -- mostly Christians, Jews and Baha'is -- count for less than one percent of Morocco's population, which is overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim © Provided by AFP Religious minorities -- mostly Christians, Jews and Baha'is -- count for less than one percent of Morocco's population, which is overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim

Representatives of Morocco's religious minorities on Saturday urged the government to clarify the law on freedom of worship in Morocco, where Islam is the state religion.

Their statement came after an unprecedented meeting in the capital Rabat.

"The Moroccan state still places barriers when it comes to legal reforms concerning minorities," Jawad el Hamidi, the coordinator of the Moroccan Commission of Religious Minorities, told AFP.

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(AFP) RABAT, Morocco — Representatives of Morocco ’s Jewish community joined other religious minorities on Saturday to urge the government to clarify the law on freedom of worship in Morocco , where Islam is the state religion . Their statement came after an unprecedented meeting in the capital

Religious minorities — mostly Christians, Jews and Baha’is — count for less than one percent of Morocco ’s population, which is overwhelmingly Mohamed Said, a Moroccan convert to Christianity, said his ultimate goal was to see the country’s constitution explicitly recognise freedom of religion .

"There is a kind of fear of opening this door and having a discussion -- even civil society is still reluctant to talk freely about this topic."

Religious minorities -- mostly Christians, Jews and Baha'is -- count for less than one percent of Morocco's population, which is overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim.

But Saturday's forum brought together academics, researchers, human rights activists, preachers and representatives of religious minorities to demand recognition of their rights.

"We suffer repression and harassment," said Hamidi, adding that some media had referred to those present as "atheists" and "homosexuals".

The meeting's venue had to be changed and some speakers also withdrew after "pressure", organisers said.

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With 93% of its population being considered religious , Islam is the majority and constitutionally established state religion in Morocco .

Moroccan converts to Christianity, a tiny minority in an overwhelmingly Muslim country, are looking to Pope Francis' visit next week as an chance to press their demands for religious freedom . Morocco has marketed itself as an oasis of religious tolerance in a region torn by militancy - and has offered

Since the creation of Israel and the independence of Morocco, what was the largest Jewish community in North Africa has dwindled to fewer than 5,000 members.

Most Moroccan Muslims who convert to Christianity practise their new faith in secret.

There are no official statistics on Moroccan Muslim converts to Christianity, but the US State department estimates their numbers at between 2,000 and 6,000.

Expat Christians worship freely and are protected by the authorities -- providing they do not evangelise, a crime punishable by up to three years in prison.

Mohamed Said, a Moroccan convert to Christianity, said his ultimate goal was to see the country's constitution explicitly recognise freedom of religion.

"This congress, in my opinion, is a beginning... a small breakthrough," he said.

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