Morocco: Islamists may reject charter

2011-06-13 14:39

Rabat - An Islamist party in Morocco warned on Monday that it will vote against a new constitution if the basic law provides for "freedom of belief", which it said will damage the country's Islamic identity.

"We're not against the freedom of belief, but we do fear the consequences of this provision for our Islamic identity," the general secretary of the Justice and Development Party [PJD], Abdelilah Benkirane, told AFP.

Several sources last Thursday told AFP that the future constitution stipulates that "Islam remains the religion of the state, but the freedom of belief is guaranteed under the law" where it does not disrupt public order.

"What does 'freedom of belief' mean? That secular people will be allowed to publicly break the fast during Ramadan [the Muslim holy fasting month]? That sexual freedom and homosexuality become banal and public practices?" Benkirane asked.

The PJD is in opposition in the lower house of parliament, with 46 of the 325 seats.

"We're not against the freedom of belief, but Morocco is a Muslim country with its laws. In France, they are banning the full-faced veil in the name of the law. We're completely capable of voting against this new constitution," he added.

Abdeltif Menouni, the president of the consultative commission on reforming the constitution, which was set up in March, on Friday gave King Mohammed VI a draft plan for a new constitution, which will go to a referendum in July.

According to a member of the commission, the future constitution will reduce the prerogatives of the king of the north African country and give more power to the government.

On March 09, Mohammed VI announced major constitutional reforms, providing notably for the principle of the separation of powers and for strengthening the powers of the government chief.

  • zaatheist - 2011-06-13 15:47

    Just what are the big bad islamic bully boys frightened of? That not everyone respects their collective crackpot beliefs and their right to indoctrinate their children with them?

  • slg - 2011-06-13 16:34

    Separation of religion from the state is important as a guiding principle. Even in SA, with it's fairly new constitution, all the Christian public holidays are disrespectful to the millions of non-Christian tax-paying citizens. A state is not truly democratic when it is based on any one religion.

      zaatheist - 2011-06-13 20:01

      Slight correction - "A state is not truly democratic when it is based on any religion." Or panders to religion by giving tax breaks or privileges to believers in invisible magic men in the sky.

  • Crimson - 2011-06-13 16:36

    " will vote against a new constitution if the basic law provides for 'freedom of belief'..." "We're not against the freedom of belief..." ????????????????????????????????????

  • Dr. No - 2011-06-13 16:36

    Yet a muslim wants be able to practice his belief without recrimination wherever he is. Until the radical minorities within Islam are sidelined I am afraid that the world view on Muslims will always be bleak. Then again all religions practice seperation of belief, now if only they all practiced seperation of church and state the world could move on and be a better and happier place.

      sardonicus - 2011-06-13 16:57

      Yes indeed, cry for your rights in the land of the infidel, but deny the infidel his rights in your Islamic lands, kind of two faced isn't it?

      Cornix - 2011-06-13 17:07

      Yes, mosques dot the landscape of Europe, but there is not a single non-Muslim place of worship in Saudi Arabia.

  • Cornix - 2011-06-13 17:02

    It will be a step forward if they bring this in. I hope it will happen in other Islamic countries as well.

  • dustkicka - 2011-06-18 18:55

    Sometimes people associate every Islamic political party with the laws in the the Quran or your avg muslim...this is a classic mistake. The laws in the quran and sayings of Muhammad are not as weird as u might think. Go read for yourself. Mandela was once a "terrorist" as well...

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