Various atheist sites are reporting that Moroccan student Imad Eddin Habib, 22, is in hiding from police who are seeking him for rejecting Islam and espousing atheism. A Pew poll just showed overwhelming support among many Muslims nations — and allies of the United States — for executing people like Habib for apostasy. The Casablanca paramedical student has gone public as an atheist and police have now interviewed his family on his whereabouts and any foreign connections.
It is not a crime to be an atheist in Morocco. However, there is an offense for “Shaking the Muslim’s faith” which includes criticizing Islam or promoting any other religion. That offense can bring a three year sentence. It takes considerable courage therefore to step forward and demand the right to reject Islam and faith generally.
Habib posted a picture of himself with a sign reading “I am proud to be an atheist.” In 2012, Imad founded Masayminch (“We will not fast”) with more than 600 persons signed in. He is also a member of the Global Secular Humanist Movement. He has also organized a Facebook site for “non-believers, atheists and non-Muslims.” For this advocacy, he has been the subject of death threats and now a police investigation.
Hespress, Morocco’s leading news website featured him in a piece entitled “Infidels of Islam: stories of Moroccans who went out of the flock.” It quoted him as saying “it just takes an objective reading of the Quran to understand that these are myths invented by humans”. That led to the police investigation. While the news report stated that Habib has “a grudge” against Islam, the article may serve to show other young people that there are those who reject faith.
Imad Eddin Habib is 22 and appears to still be in hiding for speaking his mind and asserting his right to choose his own faith or right to be faithless.