Published: 10:00 GMT Daylight Time - Tuesday 30 April 2013
News in brief: 30 April 2013
Morocco – Fatwa calls for the death penalty for those who leave Islam
A council that represents official Islam in Morocco has issued a fatwa saying that Muslims who renounce their faith “should be condemned to death”.
The Supreme Ulema Council published the decree in the Arabic-language Akhbar al-Youm newspaper on 23 April.
The apostasy law, which endangers Muslim-background Christians in many countries, is not currently enshrined in the Moroccan penal system.
Some Christians in the country fear that, if approved by the government, the controversial edict could be used as a means of harassing and arresting them and could give extremists an excuse to attack believers.
A senior human rights official in the Moroccan government said that the fatwa “does not concern our government and commits us to nothing”.
Somalia – Christian widow whose husband was killed for his faith shot dead
A Christian widow whose husband was killed for his faith has been shot dead by extremists from the Islamist group al-Shabaab.
Fartun Omar (42) was detained at a roadblock in Buulobarde and shot to death on 13 April. She and her five children were fleeing the central city of Beledweyne because of the threat to them from al-Shabaab militants, who were looking for her because she was a secret Christian, like her late husband.
Fartun’s husband, Mursal Isse Siad, was fatally shot by unidentified masked men on 8 December 2012. He had been receiving death threats for leaving Islam.
The couple’s children are currently being cared for by a neighbour.
Source: Morning Star News
Iraq – Kurdish pastor released after nearly two years in prison
A pastor who has been repeatedly imprisoned in Iraq is now free after spending 21 months in jail. Abdi Ali Hamzah, who is better known as Pastor Jamal, is a convert from Islam who has been active in spreading the Gospel in northern Iraq.
His release came after a representative from a US-based ministry with which Pastor Jamal was involved met with Iraqi officials and delivered a letter from a US senator requesting the pastor’s release.
Pastor Jamal has been imprisoned four times for his faith. During his latest period of incarceration he was subjected to torture and put in solitary confinement but refused to return to Islam.