Morocco actor prosecuted over 'blasphemy' remarks against Islam

Rafik Boubker stands accused over video on social media in which he appears in abnormal state, making blasphemous remarks against Islam, attacking sacredness of worship.

RABAT - A Moroccan movie star has been prosecuted over "blasphemous" remarks against Islam, a court official said, while Amnesty International called Wednesday for similar charges to be dropped against a student in Tunisia.

Moroccan actor Rafik Boubker, 47, stands accused over a video on social media in which he appears "in an abnormal state, making blasphemous remarks against Islam and attacking the sacredness of worship", said the national security force DGSN.

In the video, he appears to insult imams, call for making religious ablutions with "whisky and vodka" and praise the benefits of alcohol for "connecting with God".

Islam is the state religion in Morocco, and while drinking alcohol is forbidden for Muslims, it is largely tolerated.

Alcoholic drinks are available in some shops, bars and restaurants, except during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan, which has just ended.

The DGSN said in a statement published overnight that it had opened a judicial investigation after receiving "a number of complaints" and the actor was taken into custody Tuesday evening.

A judicial official later said he had been charged over "blasphemous" remarks against Islam, and a prosecution spokesman said he had been freed on bail of 5,000 dirhams (450 euros) pending a July 14 court hearing.

Boubker, who has had roles in several hit Moroccan films including "Road to Kabul", apologised for his "inappropriate remarks" in a new video on Instagram on Tuesday.

"I was not in a normal state. I just wanted to make a joke," he said.

He risks being sentenced to between six months and two years in prison and a fine of 20,000 to 200,000 dirhams ($2,000 to $20,000).