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Swap Islam for Jesus: Hoax story riles Muslims

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Swap Islam for Jesus: Hoax story riles Muslims
The last thing Moroccans were expecting was the Spanish Inquisition. Photo: Fadel Senna/AFP
13:06 CET+01:00
A satirical news piece claiming Spanish citizenship would be granted to Moroccan citizens who gave up Islam and converted to Christianity has been taken seriously by the North African country's media. The 'news' has not gone down well in Morocco.

It seems satire doesn't always cross borders but there are times when it does cross the line.

We saw it happen before when American 'newspaper' The Onion ran a fake story about North Korean leader Kim Jong-un being voted the sexiest man alive and China’s press took the story seriously.

The joke is now on satirical Spanish news site ETC Noticias, who have opened a whole different can of worms by falsely publicizing Moroccans could become Spanish citizens by renouncing Islam and making Jesus their saviour.

ETC Noticias' piece caught the attention of the North African country’s two main newspapers, who ran the story with headlines like Moroccans in Spain: Your passport or your faith.

The 'news' has spread like wildfire across Morocco’s social media, leading some critics to denounce Spain’s return to the times of the Inquisition.

Others have labelled it as a normal reaction to Moroccan legislation stating foreigners can only marry Moroccans if they convert to Islam.

What Spain now fears is that the 'joke' will continue to be taken to heart and instigate a wave of anti-Spanish protests across the Muslim world, similar to those held against France when they banned the use of the hijab in public schools.

Other ludicrous points that have been reported on as fact are that Catholic converts would have to say a Hail Mary and Our Father out loud after presenting their criminal record.

Spanish newspaper El País said on Wednesday that Moroccan journalists have not sourced the news story back to ETC Noticias.

Had they had a look at the satirical news site, they would have come across headlines like: Ryanair will measure the bums of its passengers and charge if necessary.

That may well have put some doubt in their minds about the veracity of the 'Christianity for citizenship' law.

Read about how a fake French clitoris poll fooled the Italian press.

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