Published January 13, 2015
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.