Rabat, Morocco (TMT)- Morocco’s Royale Gendarmerie arrested last Thursday two people who smoked cigarettes and ate in public during Ramadan.
The two young men were arrested and searched around noon last Thursday in Skhirat’s city center, before being placed in police custody.
The authorities said both were also arrested for transgressing the measures adopted amid the nationwide curfew, as they had no “exceptional movement permits” to leave their houses.
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 year calls to decriminalize article 222 during Ramadan spark controversy as nonbelievers say the law is an affront to their freedom.
The former Moroccan Minister of Justice Mustapha Ramid believes the law is rather protecting nonfasting people.
“If the act [of eating in public during Ramadan] is decriminalized, some citizens may react violently, and may resort to assault the person who broke the fast in public,” Ramid said back in Ramadan 2016.
Ramid said back-then 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 Times.