Saturday, December 09, 2006
Disgraced German evangelist flees Morocco to escape jail.
A German tourist who was sentenced by a Moroccan court to six months in prison for converting Muslims to Christianity, has fled the country according to a Christian group close to the case.
A Moroccan court jailed a German tourist for six months for attempting to convert Muslims in the southern resort of Agadir. The court in Agadir, Morocco’s main tourist destination, found the 64-year-old man guilty of trying to “shake the faith of a Muslim,” they added.
The court also fined him 500 dirhams ($60).
Court officials named the German of Egyptian origin as Sadek Noshi Yassa, who was arrested as he was distributing books and CDs about the Christian faith to young Muslim Moroccans in the street.
Under Moroccan law “anyone who employs incitements to shake the faith of a Muslim or to convert him to another religion” can be jailed for up to six months and fined.
The verdict came after local media reports that some Christians had launched a clandestine campaign to convert thousands of Muslim Moroccans to Christianity.
There are about 20,000 expatriate Christians in Morocco, most of them living in Rabat and Casablanca, according to estimates by European diplomats.
A court in Morocco today jailed 14 Islamists between three and four years for threatening national security. The main suspect, Abdelhamid Jaafar, and two others were given four year jail term while 11 others got three years.
The 14 members of the Islamic Liberation Party, Hizb Attahrir al-Islam, who were arrested in October this year, were accused of having links with a Jordanian group suspected of having set up terrorist cells in five towns of Morocco - Casablanca, Temara, Meknes, Tangiers and Tetouan.
The prosecutor asked the court not to exercise mercy on the Islamists who limp with the philosophy of the banned party, holding meetings as well as favouring the Islamic caliphate. The Islamists were also accused of receiving foreign funds to bankroll anti-institutional propaganda.
All the accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges because according to them, their meetings had only been discussing problems of the Muslim world.
The Islamists' defence counsel, Mustapha Ramid, argued that his clients were being tried on the basis of presumption and intention instead of facts.
Morocco has been known to go hard on Islamist tendencies in the politically unstable kingdom. Islamist parties have been banned from presenting candidates at elections and several pro-Islamist newspapers have been banned. Rabat authorities fear any well-organised Islamist group quickly could gather widespread support among the Moroccan population, which is unhappy with lack of progress and reform.
Note from our editor:
Here is a list of other stories on evangelical work in Morocco;
Teaching English or Evangelising?
German Evangelist Flees
Evangelists Target Morocco
New Christian Crusade in Morocco
Tags: Moroccan Morocco Fes, Maghreb news