Moroccan Christians Suffer Persecution

In a country where 98% of the population is Muslim, Moroccan Christians are facing aggressive persecution, even sometimes at the hands of law enforcement. Still they maintain their faith.

In order to be discreet and escape arrest, most Christians quietly practice their faith in house churches. Others say that they will not bow to persecution and worship openly in churches.

In Morocco, attempting to convert a Muslim to Christianity is a crime punishable with up to three years in prison and a hefty fine.

Moroccan authorities paint a different picture, saying that the country has moderate beliefs and that they are tolerant of faiths outside of Islam. In 1979, Morocco ratified a United Nations covenant that guaranteed religious freedom for all.

Moroccan Christians must worship in secret

Moroccan Christians must worship in secret. Photo credit: Instagram/bysaber

Despite this, in 2011, King Mohammed VI tried to draft a new constitution that would extend even broader rights to citizens. This was in response to street protests during the Arab Spring. The ruling conservative Justice and Development Party vigorously opposed granting more liberal religious freedoms and threatened to join the protests. In response, the right was completely taken out of the constitution.

The persecutions have become so prevalent that some Christian churches will not allow Moroccans to attend services. They justify this by saying that many Moroccans are simply experimenting to find a new way of living, so they tell them they cannot attend because in doing so they will invite government intimidation.

In 2010, the Moroccan government deported approximately 150 Christian foreigners who were accused of evangelism. They also closed the Village of Hope, an orphanage, which they alleged was teaching Christianity.

Aicha Haddou of the European Institute of Islamic Studies says that Morocco does not want to lose its Muslim identity. There is residual resentment against treatment by European Christians who historically tried to convert them. This is expressed in house raids, confiscation of religious material, and random arrests for police interrogation.

Despite all of this, some Moroccans courageously continue to practice Christianity, and they say that they will continue to do so regardless of whether the government grants them this right or not.

Sources:
http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/09/30/christians-in-morocco-a-crisis-of-faith
http://morningstarnews.org/2013/05/christians-in-morocco-fear-fatwa-portends-harsher-treatment/

Video: YouTube/Gary Lane

Featured image: https://instagram.com/p/8kKM2mjx9e/


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