A fatwa published this week by Morocco’s higher council of religious scholars (CSO) calling for the death penalty for Muslims who renounce their faith has sparked fierce controversy in the country.
The scholars, who represent official Islam in Morocco, said in their edict, published in Tuesday’s edition of Arabic-language daily Akhbar al-Youm, that Muslims who reject their faith “should be condemned to death.”
The fatwa, which has provoked strong reactions, dates back to April 2012 when a legal report was being prepared by the government, but it was not published at the time, according to local media.
Mahjoub El Hiba, a senior human rights official in the government, denied in a statement to the official MAP news agency having requested any such fatwa from the council of Islamic scholars, as Akhbar al-Youm had claimed.
“What was published in the document attributed to the CSO does not concern our government and commits us to nothing,” Hiba told AFP.