Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Morocco Takes Action Against Shiites, Christians

AFP reported last week that the Moroccan government has begun a campaign to counter activities that are seen as contrary to the "moral and religious values" of Moroccan society. Dozens of people suspected of Shiite sympathies have been arrested. Moroccans largely follow the Malakite school of Sunni Islam. The government is also attacking those calling for greater tolerance of homosexuality.

According to Earth Times yesterday, the government campaign has now spread to countering Christian activities. Four Christian missionaries (3 Spaniards and a German woman) were expelled from Morocco after it was alleged that they were illegally engaged in Christian proselytizing at a meeting they held in Casablanca on Saturday. However sources close to the missionaries say that only Christians were attending the communion meeting. The actions against Shiites were prompted in part by a broader controversy in the Middle East over a statement made last month by Iranian official, Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri, who threatened Bahrain's sovereignty by announcing that Bahrain was historically a province of Iran. (New York Times, 3/29.)