Rabat, Morocco (TMT)- The Moroccan authorities arrested yesterday in the pocket city of Tinghir two people who smoked cigarettes and drank milk in public in Ramadan.
The authorities said that one of the persons arrested was an on the run criminal.
Breaking the fast in public is criminalized in Morocco as it is deemed an act that hurts the sensibility of fasting people, causing emotional pain to Moroccans.
Article 222 of the Moroccan Penal Code states that “a person commonly known to be Muslim, who violates the fast in a public place during Ramadan, without having one of the justifications allowed in Islam [such as traveling or sickness…] shall be sentenced from one to six months in jail. The person will be also subject to a fine ranging from 12 to 120 Dirhams.”
Each Ramadan, calls to decriminalize article 222 spark controversy as nonbelievers say the law is an affront to their freedom.
Morocco’s Minister of Justice and Liberties, Mustapha Ramid said last year in the wake of the “Forum of Dignity,” that people who “break the fast in public do not bother me at all.”
“It is a personal matter,” Ramid said.
“Fasting is between the individual and his Creator [God],” Ramid stressed.
Ramid said that “in Morocco, some people may commit all kinds of vices prohibited in Islam [having sex, drinking alcohol…], but nevertheless, they will not accept that someone breaks the fast in their presence.”
The Moroccan Minister of Justice believes that the law is rather protecting nonfasting people.
“If the act [of eating in public during Ramadan] is decriminalized, some citizens may react violently,” resorting to assault the person who broke the fast in public, Ramid said.
The Moroccan Times.