There are over 37 million people in Morocco, but only around 31,500 Christians – less than 0.1 per cent of the population.
The average pressure on Christians in Morocco remains high. And for converts from Islam, the pressure is even higher. They can lose their inheritance rights or even custody of their children.
Converts face opposition from family members, who do not want them to practice their new faith publicly – often, this means new Christians are not allowed to be baptised, married or buried in a church or Christian ceremony. Particularly in rural areas, these followers of Jesus also face significant hostility from their local community and government.
The Moroccan penal code also presents issues for Moroccan Christians. According to the code, it’s a criminal act to ‘shake the faith of a Muslim’. Obviously, this greatly depends on contextual interpretation, but practically it means it’s very difficult for Christians to share their faith and chokes the ability of churches to reach their community. Additionally, Christian advocates have been targeted for violent attack by Islamic extremists.
“I am so afraid my parents will find out. My father would kill me.”Nadeen
Anybody who converts to Christianity from a Muslim background must keep their faith a secret. Nadeen, whose name has been changed, is terrified that her father will find out. When she became a Christian after hearing about Jesus, she was open with her family – who were furious. Her father beat her. And so she has to pretend that she is still a Muslim, despite following and loving Jesus.
“Thank God, I found a way to meet with some other Christians on another day in the week. We organised that in a way that my family doesn’t get suspicious,” says Nadeen.
Christians who do manage to meet together must do so in house churches, as they can’t get permission to meet publicly, and expatriate churches are monitored to make sure Moroccans don’t attend. Expatriates who are accused of sharing their faith can be deported.
Please keep praying for your brothers and sisters in Morocco. Your gifts and prayers make an enormous difference to those following Jesus no matter the cost.
Open Doors works with local partners to support the church in North Africa through training, literature distribution, socio-economic development and advocacy support.
O Lord, we pray for the Christians of Morocco. We ask that You would sustain them, especially those who risk so much to follow You. We pray especially for people who have left Islam to proclaim Jesus as Lord. Protect and preserve them, and give them strength to walk with You. Amen.
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