Article 222 of the Moroccan Penal Code states that: “a person commonly known to be Muslim who violates the fast in a public place during Ramadan, without having one of the justifications allowed by Islam [such as travelling or sickness], shall be punished by one to six months in prison,” as well as a fine.
Non-Muslim minorities in Morocco – such as Jews and foreigners – are exempted from the prohibition of eating in public during Ramadan. However, its application to people “commonly known to be Muslim” denies anyone the state considers as a Muslim, the right to come out either as a non-Muslim, or as a Muslim who simply choose not to fast.
As the month of Ramadan begins, we young secular Moroccans, call the Moroccan authorities, once again, to immediately repeal Article 222 of the Penal Code. This is clearly an attack on freedom of conscience, which includes the right of everyone to change their religious views, according to their choice, and at any time. It is also incompatible with a true rule of law, since “commonly known to be Muslim” is unclear as a notion that leaves the door wide open to judicial discretion of judges which is unacceptable. This creates an a fortiori, allowing for the imposition of a heavy prison sentence.
We stand for freedom of conscience, inseparable from any democratic state based on respect for the choices of its citizens.
We are Moroccans of all religious views (including practising Muslims), united to defend individual liberties. To this end, a press conference will be held Monday, June 23, 2014 at 11 am in the premises of the AMDH (Moroccan Association for Human Rights) at Avenue Hassan II, 6 Rue Aguensous in Rabat.
The press conference is open to public.
For more information, contact:
Imad Iddine Habib
Council of Ex-Muslims of Morocco
Skype ID : ZokTooR
+212 (0) 626-172590