Posted by: becketfund | March 25, 2009

Morocco: Government Clamps Down on Expressions of Shiite Islam

RABAT – The Moroccan government has begun a clampdown on what it sees as threats to the kingdom’s religious and moral foundations, with Shiite Islam and gays particularly targeted, The Daily Star reported on March 25.  On March 21 the Iraqi Baghdad school was closed down, with the Education Ministry declaring that the “educational system … was contrary to the provisions of private schooling” in Morocco.  “This decision,” a ministry statement said, “follows a complaint made by an Iraqi citizen … against the school’s headmistress,” who was accused of expelling three children “for confessional reasons” and of propagating “a particular religious practice.”  This was a reference to Shiite Islam. Morocco overwhelmingly observes the Sunni Malekite form of the religion.  The independent Arabic-language newspaper Al-Jarida Al-Aoula has reported that dozens of people suspected of having Shiite sympathies have been arrested since March 20 in Tangiers in the north, Essaouira in the south and Ouyazze 120 kilometers north of Rabat. Foreign Minister Taeib Fassi Fihri recently attacked Moroccan associations seeking to develop Shiite Islam in the country with the backing of Iran.  “Morocco cannot accept that activities of this type be conducted, directly or indirectly, or via a so-called non-governmental organization,” he told AFP, criticizing an “attack on the foundations” of the country and on the “cement” of Malekite Islam.

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