Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Religious Freedom Report

Over at al-Hiwar, Stacey blogs about the State Department's International Religious Freedom Report, which she feels places too much emphasis on the freedom to practice one's religion as opposed to believe as one chooses. I'll let her address that issue, as she's apparently writing an article on the subject. Meanwhile, I'll note that Morocco, my favorite Arab country, fared pretty well at the level of "societal attitudes":
"Foreigners attend religious services without any restrictions or fear of reprisals. Residents of all religions generally say the country is enriched by its centuries-old Jewish minority, and for the most part Jews lived throughout the country in safety. In September 2003, a Jewish merchant was murdered in an apparently religiously motivated killing. During the May 2003 terrorist attacks, members of the Salafiya Jihadia targeted a Jewish community center in Casablanca. After the attacks, Jews marched in solidarity with Muslims to condemn terrorism. There have been thousands of arrests and many prosecutions of persons tied to the May bombing and other extremist activity. Annual Jewish commemorations took place around the country as normal, and Jewish pilgrims from around the region regularly come to holy sites in the country. There were no reports of attacks on Jews during the reporting period."

The report generally confirms the tone of what I said here and here when I was over there. Indeed one might suggest that across most of the Middle East, people are tolerant of other religions except with regard to conversion and proselytizing. When these issues come into play, however, things can get ugly.


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