Does the change of government affect religious freedom in Morocco ?, Evangelical Focus

The Islamist Party for Justice and Development, in government since 2011, only won a tenth of the 125 deputies it had in the House of Representatives in the elections held in Morocco last September.

With only 13 places, the former main political party will now take a back seat in the opposition. The winner is the liberal Aziz Akhannouch, who got 102 deputies for his National Rally of Independents.

Akhannouch was appointed the new head of government and was tasked by King Mohammed VI to form a new government, with parties that “share the same principles and values”.

For Mustafa Akalay, renowned Moroccan academic figure, art historian and responsible for cultural activities, “the polls have spoken and the people chose a non-denominational government”.

“In these elections, the Justice and Development Party has been severely punished and abandoned by his own electoral base, disappointed by his clumsiness and his ambiguous and double standard speech ”, underlines Akalay.

After a decade with a government controlled by moderate Islamists, who came to power in the middle of the Arab Spring, many Moroccans are eagerly awaiting this new phase.

We are all excited about the political change. This is a new stage which opens in the pursuit of a new model of economic and human development in Morocco, designed by a commission of experts for a period of 15 years, until 2035 ”, explains Akalay.

Akalay thinks that “a new era of reform is looming and there are insights and good intentions for change, such as the election of women mayors in the three main cities: Rabat, Casablanca, Marrakech ”.

According to the academic, the population expressed its disappointment “at the chaotic management of cities. [by the government], and the incompetence of its leaders to implement a savage neoliberal economic policy based on the privatization of strategic sectors, favoring the well-to-do classes and punishing the most needy ”.

“They have also limited public recruitments in primary and secondary education, by not publishing public competitions and by introducing revocable private contracts, service provision contracts and not civil servant contracts, opening the door to the dismissal of these precarious employees, ”he adds.

For Akalay, the new government must embody “the establishment of a social state by generalizing social coverage, so that the most vulnerable can benefit from social protection and subsidies that preserve their dignity”.

“Without social justice, there is no democracy. a improving education and health care, as well as the right to decent work, are fundamental social rights enshrined in the 2011 Constitution which must be treated, legislated and implemented without delay ”, underlines Akalay.

The winner of the Moroccan elections, Aziz Akhannouch / Facebook Aziz Akhannouch

In addition, the president of the Amazigh (Berber) World Assembly, Rachid Raha, confirmed that the next Prime Minister has committed to the Amazigh movement to allocate a very large sum of one billion dirhams per yearr (over 95 million euros) for the promotion and development of the Amazigh language and culture.

Previously, the Benkirane government, in the name of an exclusionary and outdated pan-Arabism, had refused to recognize the linguistic and cultural Amazigh identity of the Moroccan population of origin, mainly Berber.

Another area of ​​society for which expectations are also renewed after elections is that of religious diversity.

“Religion is incompatible with politics and should not invade public space, nor shape the masses, but be limited to the private sphere,” Akalay says.

The scholar explains that “religious diversity exists in Morocco with proof of a long-standing presence»In cities like Tangier, where the Franciscan order has existed for eight centuries.

For religious minorities, the change of government should bring “respect for their beliefs and beliefs, that is, freedom of religion and worship, which will promote effective religious diversity and fruitful interreligious dialogue” , he emphasizes.

“We thank Jesus, the Islamists are gone. God answered our prayers and now we have the government we wanted, ”said Imounan, a church planter living in Agadir. Christianity today. “Akhannouch is a businessman. He doesn’t care if you worship the sun or the moon. He won’t chase you, ”said another second-generation Christian.

Spanish news site Protestant digital spoke to a community of Christians in Morocco who “prefer to meet in secret,” and they “have no desire to seek licenses from the Moroccan government. We are always ready to sacrifice our personal interests to serve the interests of the Kingdom of Morocco “.

Nevertheless, they “are very proud because political Islam came out of government through elections and pools and not through coups, as happened in Egypt, Tunisia or Algeria.”

“We consider that the Kingdom of Morocco represents a unique reference in its region, and it is in the process of peaceful transfer of power through elections and law enforcement», Concluded the Moroccan Christians.

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– Does the change of government affect religious freedom in Morocco?

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