Morocco: Women must not marry non-Muslim European men, says imam


Rabat, 25 June  (AKI) - An imam in Morocco's eastern city of Fez has said that marriages between Moroccan women and European men who are not Muslims are forbidden under Islam.

Each summer in Morocco, a growing number of local women are reportedly marrying young European men.

"This kind of marriage, between Moroccan women and European men, is forbidden by the Koran (the Muslim holy book) and the Sunna (the way or deeds of the Prophet Mohammed)," Sheikh Mohammed al-Tawil said in a TV interview.

"A Muslim woman may not marry an unbeliever while a Muslim man may marry Christian and Jewish women," he told Arabic satellite TV network al-Arabiya.

Moroccan women may however marry European men who convert to Islam shortly before the wedding, according to al-Tawil.

"Islam only required two witnesses for someone to be able to convert and such a marriage is valid," he said.

"If a European then decides to abandon Islam, Mohammed's words apply to him: those who renounce their own religion must be killed, as they are an apostate."

Each summer in Morocco, a growing number of local women are marrying young European men. Al-Tawil's position however contravenes the 2005 reforms of Moroccan family law (known as the Mudawana).

These reforms gave women greater freedom to choose their husbands and made it easier for a foreigner to marry a Moroccan woman.

Almost 6,000 such marriages were registered in Morocco in 2007, almost all of them in the summer - an almost six-fold increase over the previous decade.

A total 4,320 Moroccan men married foreign wom
en last year.

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