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FREE ARABS EXCLUSIVE: Morocco's police is looking for atheist activist Imad Eddin Habib, 22. Potential charges: creating the “Council of ex-Muslims of Morocco”, and stating: “there is no God but Mickey Mouse”.
The whereabouts of Moroccan student Imad Eddin Habib, 22, are unknown since yesterday, April 29 in the evening. A few days ago, plainclothes policemen interrogated his father at his workplace. They wanted to know whether Imad was supported by a foreign organization, what his goals and motives were… Yesterday, Apr 29, they broke into an address that is mentioned on the young man’s ID—only to find out that he doesn’t live there anymore. Informed that he was a wanted individual, the Casablanca paramedical student decided to go underground. It will probably not take long before he resurfaces. Yet, that might be long enough for a solidarity campaign to start. Imad Eddin Habib is not a criminal—at least not under international law and international treaties on freedom of speech and conscience. The reason why the Moroccan police is after him, is that he’s an outspoken atheist.
In the Islamic kingdom of Morocco, atheism itself is not a criminal offense. “Shaking the Muslim’s faith” is. Under this vague designation, anyone openly criticizing Islam or promoting any other religion can be condemned to a prison term ranging from 6 months to 3 years (Christian missionaries are regularly expelled from the kingdom in virtue of this article.) In other words: when you live in Morocco, you can think whatever you want of religion, but you better keep it for yourself. These past years, more and more Moroccans claimed their refusal of this religious omerta. The most mediatized case remains that of Kacem El Ghazali, an atheist activist who was granted political asylum in Switzerland, and recently testified before the UN against the persecution he suffered when he lived in Morocco.
Local activists for freedom of conscience are increasingly vocal online. In 2009, a Facebook group called Alternative movement for individual freedoms (MALI) called a daylight picnic during the month of Ramadan, when Muslims can eat only before dawn and after dusk (by provision of Morocco’s penal code, it is also forbidden to break the Ramadan fast publicly, under penalty of 6 months in jail). Since then, similar groups mushroomed on Facebook. Most activists operate under aliases, but Imad Eddin Habib is among the few who act unmasked.
1376comments Print 1.2K Updated 3 Apr 2013 10:45am, EDT First Amendment doesn't apply here: N.C. lawmakers push bill for state religion
Republican lawmakers in North Carolina have introduced a bill declaring that the state has the power to establish an official religion — a direct challenge to the First Amendment.
One professor of politics called the measure “the verge of being neo-secessionist,” and another said it was reminiscent of how Southern states objected to the Supreme Court’s 1954 integration of public schools.
The bill says that federal courts do not have the power to decide what is constitutional, and says the state does not recognize federal court rulings that prohibit North Carolina and its schools from favoring a religion.
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The bill was introduced Monday by two Republican representatives from Rowan County, north of Charlotte, and sponsored by seven other Republicans. The party controls both chambers of the North Carolina Legislature.
The two lawmakers who filed the bill, state Reps. Harry Warren and Carl Ford, did not immediately return calls Wednesday from NBC News.
The American Civil Liberties Union sued last month to stop the Rowan County Commission from opening meetings with Christian prayers. One of those prayers declared that “there is only one way to salvation, and that is Jesus Christ,” the ACLU said.
The bill does not specify a religion.
The North Carolina ACLU chapter said in a statement Tuesday that the sponsors of the bill “fundamentally misunderstand constitutional law and the principle of the separation of powers that dates back to the founding of this country.”
North Carolina scholars also cast doubt on the bill.
“It has elements of not being American,” Gary Freeze, a professor of politics and history at Catawba College, told The Salisbury Post. “I think it goes far beyond religion and frankly doesn’t have a lot to do with North Carolina or tradition.”
Another professor at the college, Michael Bitzer, told the newspaper that the bill is based on discredited legal theory that the states can declare themselves exempt from federal law.
“We saw this in the aftermath of Brown v. Board of Education,” he said, referencing the integration ruling. “The belief is that the states hold more power than the federal government. If the federal government does something, the states can simply ignore it.”
Originally posted by AfterInfinity
Then they'll crucify him and he'll be worshipped for a couple thousand years before people stand up and say, "You know what, I don't think I believe in him anymore. I think they made the whole story up to prove that "God" isn't real."