A prominent Christian activist has survived an assassination attempt on Friday (4 Nov.), in Morocco’s northern city of Casablanca, reports Middle East Concern, which works on freedom of religion for Christians.
It reports Mohammed Saeed Zao is well-known because of his promotion of the rights of Christians, and has featured in many media interviews about comparative religion and religious freedom.
On Friday night, it says a man carrying a sword got out of a nearby car and tried to stab him as he arrived at his apartment block.
Zao was able to open the entrance door and protect himself behind it. MEC quotes one newspaper as reporting that the man shouted threats at Zao before leaving the scene.
On Monday (7 Nov.), Zao went to report the incident to the police. However, it is understood that the police refused to register his deposition, calling him a “trouble-maker”.
In Morocco, newly Christian converts can face lots of harassment from family, but also from security forces. (Courts continue to convict and imprison them in unfair trials).
According to Article 220 of the Penal Code, any attempt to stop one or more people from the exercise of their religious beliefs, or from attendance at religious services, is unlawful and may be punished by three-to-six months’ imprisonment and a fine of 200 to 500 dirhams.
The Article applies the same penalty to anyone who “shakes the faith of a Muslim”, or converts him to another religion. Islam is considered the religion of the Kingdom, with King Mohammed VI holding the title of “Prince of the believers”.
The Church in Morocco is predominantly composed of expatriates, while there is also a significant Jewish community. Registered churches and associations include the Catholic, Russian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, French Protestant and Anglican churches.