Kacem El Ghazzali

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Kacem el Ghazzali
Kacem ElGhazzali.jpg
Born (1990-06-24) June 24, 1990 (age 26)
Sidi Kacem, Morocco
Nationality Moroccan
Occupation Writer, human rights activist
Known for International representative of IHEU at the UNHRC
Website KacemElGhazzali.com

Kacem El Ghazzali (Berber: ⵇⴰⵙⵎ ⵍⵖⴰⵣⴰⵍⵉ , Arabic: قاسم الغزالي‎‎), (born 24 June 1990), is a secularist writer and activist and is one of the few Moroccans to publicly announce to be an atheist.[1] Kacem speaks excellent English, as well as French, Arabic and Berber.[2] Mostly known for his unapologetic atheism, his writings stress the importance of freedom of thought which lacks in the Islamic countries. His articles were published in the Huffington Post, Richard Dawkins Foundation, The Fair Observer, NZZ am Sonntag, Basler Zeitung and others.


Kacem El Ghazzali comes from a sufi Berber family.[2] His grandfather built a mosque in his village, his father, a dentist, wanted to have the son trained as an imam. Although Sufism preaches a mystical, undogmatic Islam, Kacem felt the religion of childbirth as restrictive and controlling.[2]

Blogging and Activism[edit]

El Ghazzali was the author of the Bahmut blog,[3] one of the most controversial blogs in the Arab world, and has received a number of death threats because of his views. His blog discusses issues ranging from freedom of expression to political Islam.[4] He used to be the head of the Youth Chapter at the Moroccan Center for Human Rights and is a member of the Executive Board of the Moroccan Blogger Association and CyberDissidents.org Blogger Board and one of its founders.[5]

In 2012, he launched the "Masayminch" initiative,[6] which calls on Moroccans who do not observe Ramadan to eat publicly. Moroccans born in non-Jewish families are forbidden by law to drink, eat, or smoke in public during Ramadan.

El Ghazzali is one of the few atheist activists in Morocco[7] and is a proponent of religious and sexual freedom.[8] He has been living as a refugee in Switzerland since 2011.[9] He has appeared repeatedly in international media,[10][11] including television.[12]

El Ghazzali was a speaker at the 47th session of the St. Gallen Symposium and was one of the carefully hand-picked members of the Symposium Leaders of Tomorrow-knowledge pool[13].

Human Rights at the UN HRC[edit]

Kacem El Ghazzali at the St Gallen Symposium

Since 2012 El Ghazzali has been serving as International Humanist and Ethical Union Representative at the United Nations, Geneva, where he criticized Saudi Arabia for persecuting freethinkers and liberals like the poet Hamza Kashgari and the blogger Raif Badawi.[14] El Ghazali also criticized his home state of Morocco for unconstitutionally silencing the voices of atheists.[15] During the 25th Session of the Human Rights Council, El Ghazzali criticized the fact that several states in which convicted ‘blasphemers’ are currently in jail are also current members of the Human Rights Council.[16]

Raif Badawi Foundation[edit]

In September 2015, Ensaf Haidar announced the formation of the Raif Badawi Foundation, named for her husband who is now carrying out a decade-long prison term, sentenced to 1000 lashes for his religious and political dissent. El Ghazzali was chosen as a member of the international advisory board of Raif Badawi Foundation for Freedom.[17]

al-Arefe case[edit]

The Saudi cleric Mohamad al-Arefe, who is well known for his controversial fatwas, was banned from entering Switzerland due to holding extreme views against women and apostates. El Ghazzali was the one behind a media campaign which demanded Swiss authorities to intervene urgently to take necessary measures to prevent Al-Arifi from entering Swiss soil.[18]


Casablanca Geneva flight number: 8J540 book cover
  • Casablanca Geneva flight number: 8J540 ( Novel in Arabic), 2013.[19]


  1. ^ "Case in pointArab, not muslim". Freearabs.com. Retrieved 2013-03-13. 
  2. ^ a b c Büttner, Jean-Martin (2011-06-18). "Allah und der Standhafte". Tages-Anzeiger (in German). ISSN 1422-9994. Retrieved 2017-04-08. 
  3. ^ "Bahamut's Blog". Bahmut.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  4. ^ "Atheists and Islam: No God, not even Allah". The Economist. 2012-11-24. Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  5. ^ "Launches Blogger Board – News & Analysis". CyberDissidents.org. Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  6. ^ "Moroccan Blogger Pushes Limits – News & Analysis". CyberDissidents.org. 2012-07-17. Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  7. ^ Oliver Jeges (2013-02-25). "Wir Atheisten bilden eine Parallelgesellschaft". http://www.welt.de. Retrieved 2013-02-25.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  8. ^ "Suisse : Kacem El Ghazzali, un réfugié de la charia, interpelle les islamistes suisses – Poste de veille". Postedeveille.ca. Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  9. ^ "Allah und der Standhafte – Schweiz: Standard". tagesanzeiger.ch. Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  10. ^ Reiner Wandler. "Bloggender Religionskritiker: Einmal Muslim, immer Muslim". taz.de. Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  11. ^ "Entrevista: Kacem El Ghazzali: Revueltas en Marruecos con EL PAÍS". Elpais.com. Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  12. ^ "Kacem El Ghazzali: Freedom of belief in the Islamic world. Eng sub.". YouTube. 2012-08-18. Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  13. ^ http://www.symposium.org/sites/default/files/47StGallenSymposium_Top40final.pdf
  14. ^ http://iheu.org/humanists-speak-out-in-arabic-at-un/
  15. ^ "International Humanist and Ethical Union - Humanist delegations defend rights of atheists at United Nations". iheu.org. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  16. ^ "International Humanist and Ethical Union - IHEU laments Human Rights Council member states who imprison “blasphemers”". iheu.org. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  17. ^ http://www.fondationraifbadawi.org/en/the-board-and-advisors/
  18. ^ "Suisse : le prédicateur saoudien Al-Arifi déclaré persona non grata". Poste de veille. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  19. ^ قاسم الغزالي. "الدار البيضاء - جنيف". Goodreads. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 

External links[edit]

Official sites