SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: April 10, 2013

Attack Types: Other

Institution(s):N/A

Region & Country:Northern Africa | Morocco

New or Ongoing:New Incident

Ahmed Assid, a researcher at Morocco’s Amazigh Cultural Institute, an academic institution whose mission is to preserve and promote Amazigh culture, has received death threats for comments he made in April regarding Islam.
The comments were made during the 10th national congress of the Moroccan Association of Human Rights in Rabat, where Assid reportedly questioned whether Moroccan school textbooks implied that Islam could be imposed by force.
Religious leaders in Morocco have accused Dr. Assid of apostasy and blasphemy, issuing fatwas against the scholar and calling for his “voice to be silenced.”
Scholars at Risk is concerned about physical threats against a researcher performing his professional responsibilities.  In addition to the harm to the immediate victim, such incidents have a chilling effect on academic freedom and undermine research and educational quality.  State and higher education authorities have a responsibility to protect higher education personnel from such threats, and to do so in ways that do not undermine academic freedom or institutional autonomy.
Sources:
http://magharebia.com/en_GB/articles/awi/features/2013/05/07/feature-04
http://www.article19.org/resources.php/resource/3724/en/morocco:-concern-for-academic-targeted-for-comments-about-religious-texts
http://morocconewstribune.com/moroccos-renowned-sheikh-al-fizaazi-called-for-the-trial-of-an-amazigh-activist-for-blasphemy/
http://www.lemag.ma/Ahmed-Assid-Je-n-ai-point-blaspheme_a70590.html [French]
http://www.moroccoboard.com/viewpoint-5/112-mostapha-saout/5852-morocco-extremist-values-in-religious-school-books