RABAT, Morocco (TheBlaze/AP) — Morocco’s Islamist prime minister says it’s unacceptable to criticize the Prophet Muhammad, entering a war of words between a secular activist and hardline Salafists that has strained the balance between freedom of expression and religious sensitivities.
Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane took a not-so-veiled swipe at secular activist Ahmed Assid at a party rally late Saturday in Rabat.
While not mentioning Assid by name, Benkirane said respect must be given to the overwhelmingly Muslim country’s values.
Assid has drawn fire for saying a Moroccan school textbook has implied that Islam could be imposed by force.
At least one Salafist leader retorted that Assid was trying to paint Muhammad as a terrorist — a claim Assid denies — and called Assid an “unbeliever,” which could be seen as an incitement to violence.
Some consider Morocco one of the more “moderate” Islamic countries, and thus, better tourist destinations in the region.