Sunday, May 30, 2010

Government actions cast doubt on Morocco's commitment to religious freedom

PRESS RELEASE - March 16, 2010

Government actions cast doubt on Morocco's commitment to religious freedom.

Morocco, one of the most moderate Arab Muslim countries, has sent shock waves throughout the expatriate community there. Since March 6th more than 40 foreigners who have been living in the country have been unexpectedly expelled or deported. Many were detained and questioned before their expulsion. This happened in a variety of places throughout the country, to people of at least 8 different nationalities.

Those who were expelled were not given reasons for the actions taken. They were all told simply that their residence permits were being revoked. On March 11th, the Moroccan government made a public statement that they were guilty of proselytizing.

Some of those expelled were engaged in humanitarian work, such as the orphanage workers in Ain Leuh. Others were there engaged in business. Many worked with Moroccan partners and were highly respected in the Moroccan communities where they worked.

The accusation of the government that these people are guilty of proselytism came along with an assertion that Morocco tolerates all faiths and upholds "freedom of religion." The accusation of proselytism indicates the government believes that these people violated the law by using enticements or pressure to influence Moroccans to change their religion .

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