Hege Storhaug, HRS
Før utvisningene av nå 105 kristne utlendinger ble det fra myndighetenes side påstått at de hadde opptrådt misjonerende overfor marokkanske muslimer. Slik risikerer Marokko å miste troverdighet som et land som respekterer religionsfriheten. Marokkos utvisning av kristne utlendinger settes i sammenheng med press fra islamistisk hold. For kort tid siden signerte 7 000 muslimske ledere/lærde et dokument der de beskriver de kristnes tilstedeværelse som ”moralsk voldtekt” og ”religiøs terrorisme”.
Precipitating these deportations were accusations by a coordinated group of Muslim hardliners that the Christians were engaged in proselytizing. Morocco’s Ambassador Aziz Mekouar explained to the U.S.
Commission on International Religious Freedom this week that conversion to Christianity is not a crime in Morocco, but proselytizing is — though the country’s penal code fails to specify what this precisely means. For example, it is unclear whether giving inducements or bribes to convert is a necessary element, or whether simply answering a question about one’s faith is also against the law.
What is clear is that Morocco is feeling the pressure of rising Islamic extremism. Seven thousand Muslim religious leaders recently signed a document describing the work of Christians within Morocco as “moral rape” and “religious terrorism,” according to Christianity Today. Some religious-freedom observers believe that outrage against the Christian aid workers was manufactured for political reasons that originated within the Organization of Islamic Conference. The ire of some state members of that Saudi-based religious association was aroused after Morocco expelled Wahhabis and Shiites. In a tacit acknowledgement that the mass deportations were aimed at placating Muslim extremists, the ambassador explained the deportations of the Christians as necessary for maintaining “public order.”
At Marokko går i islamistisk retning bevitner også myndigehtenes opptreden under den siste Ramadan: for første gang patruljerte politiet kafeer og restauranter på jakt etter folk som brøt fasten.
Morocco still likes to boast of being an open, inviting country, unscathed by the extremism and violence that have engulfed other nations in the region. It has been a place where Western tourists and even retirees have been welcome, where law is based on a civil code, where churches and synagogues are allowed to be built and maintained, and where Catholic, evangelical, and Jewish schools have not only been tolerated but popular among the 99 percent of the population of 33 million that are Sunni Malikite Muslims. This reputation for tolerance is waning, though, as the country bends to OIC and other sources of Islamist radicalism. Last Ramadan, police patrolled restaurants and cafes enforcing the Islamic fast for the first time, with coercive methods reminiscent of the Saudi religious police.