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«Harassed» by his country, the former head of the Ahmadis in Algeria seeks asylum in Morocco

The former head of the Ahmadiyya community in Algeria, Mohamed Fali is currently in Morocco seeking asylum, escaping the «restrictions» imposed on him and on Ahmadis by the Algerian authorities.

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Algerian Ahmadi Mohamed Fali. / DR

The former president of the Ahmadiyya community in Algeria (2009 to 2018), Mohamed Fali arrived in Morocco at the end of December, via a flight from the international airport of Algiers-Houari-Boumédiene, connecting the Algerian capital to Mohammed V airport in Casablanca.

Mohamed Fali, 46, told Yabiladi that the reason behind his trip to Morocco is to flee «the harassment and pressure» to which he is exposed in Algeria. «I have more than seven lawsuits», he told Yabiladi.

The former head of the Ahmadiyya community in Algeria was previously arrested in September 2017 and charged with «unauthorized fundraising», «insulting the Prophet Mohammed», and «forming an unauthorized association». He was sentenced to a six-month suspended prison sentence on these charges. «The Algerian authorities seized my passport and I was forbidden from leaving the country», he said.

However, after the Algerian Hirak started in February 2019, Mohamed Fali asked for his passport. He then chose to leave the country, after receiving his passport.

«The fact of having stopped working because of the harassment which I was subjected to prevented me from obtaining a visa to go to Europe, whereas in the past, I have traveled to several European countries», he argued. Therefore, after talking to friends, they told me to seek asylum in Tunisia or Morocco. «In the kingdom, there is no difficulty or restriction. Some of my family members live here, and I don't feel like a stranger», he said.

UNHCR to decide in January on his asylum request

Mohamed Fali stressed that the Moroccan Ahmadis have given him a «warm welcome» and that he currently lives in «very good conditions». «Moroccan Ahmadis are free, but they do not suffer from harassment and carry out their activities normally. What I like about Morocco is that it is an open country», he adds.

He also said that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Morocco has set the end of January for the date of filing his asylum request. «I don't think my request will be rejected», he said. «What I experienced there is incomparable to the situation here», he noted, before emphasizing that he will, in this case, be forced to return to Algeria.

For the record, several international organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, had called in recent years Algeria to renounce the «serious persecution» of Ahmadis, considered as a religious minority. The Algerian government justifies its vast campaign against those affiliated with this religious current by brandishing the country's «religious security» card.

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