How many Christians are there in Morocco?
The tiny Christian minority in Morocco numbers around 31,200 – less than one per cent of the total population of 38.2 million, which is mostly Muslim.
How are Christians persecuted in Morocco?
This Muslim-majority country remains socially conservative – and this can make life challenging for Christians. Converts are particularly prone to hostility from their family and community, as well as the authorities. Although conversion is not a punishable offence legally, converts risk being arrested and interrogated by the government, with the country’s strong and well-informed security services making it very difficult for believers to express their faith. Converts must meet secretly in house churches because they cannot get permission to gather publicly.
This hostility largely stems from Christianity being seen as a threat to the king and his authority, which is derived from the claim that the king is a direct descendant of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad. Meanwhile, the government’s paranoia explains why it is forbidden to ‘shake the faith of a Muslim’, meaning that Christians who talk about their faith risk arrest and criminal prosecution. Distribution of Christian resources in Arabic (including Bibles) is also restricted. Even on social media, believers must be very careful in what they post, and if they post Christian content, most use a pseudonym. Immigrant Christians are relatively free to meet and worship, although they are often under surveillance and risk deportation if they are found to be sharing their faith with Muslims.
“My father said that I betrayed our culture, that I was no longer his daughter.” aizah from north africa
What’s life like for Christians in Morocco?
When Aizah* was kicked out of her home because of her faith in Jesus, her father told her that she had betrayed their culture and was no longer his daughter. “It broke my heart,” she says. “He made me feel a bad girl.”
A friend took her to a place where Christians had been martyred, and it was there she realised that Christianity arrived in North Africa even before Islam. “I am not a betrayer,” she told the friend. “I just returned to the Christian roots of my country.” It encouraged Aizah, but she deeply misses her family.
Aizah’s story is a familiar one in North Africa, which is why she is now using her experiences to help other women like her to stand strong in their faith. But it takes time because of people’s traumatic experiences.
“I remember a girl who was very depressed because of being bullied for having Christian parents during her school years,” she explains. “Often the children of converted parents don’t feel safe, they have no friends. They are often confused; they hear that God is love, but see lack of food and their parents losing their jobs.”
Despite the many challenges, Aizah is not without hope. “God is faithful. When we fail, He takes care. I sometimes feel inadequate to do the work, but God is faithful. He helps, He changes lives.”
*Name changed for security reasons
Is it getting harder to be a Christian in Morocco?
Yes, as reflected in the country climbing five places in the latest ranking. This is due to increasing pressures on converts from families and local communities, and a rise in incidents in violence. This can partly be attributed to the church growing in Morocco, with rising number of believers leading to more incidents.
How can I help Christians in Morocco?
Please keep praying for your brothers and sisters in Morocco. Your prayers make an enormous difference to those following Jesus no matter the cost.
Open Doors works with local partners and churches in North Africa to provide leadership and discipleship training, livelihood support, legal aid, trauma counselling, Bibles and pastoral care.
Lord Jesus, continue to empower our sisters and brothers as they face many challenges for following You. May they feel Your nearness when they need it most. Provide fresh opportunities for believers to talk about You with others, and give them boldness and the right words in those moments. Heal those carrying wounds from mistreatment, and provide for those whose faith has brought loss of income or security. Thank You that believers are finding ways to meet each other, and we praise You for the way You are meeting Moroccans online and in dreams, visions and divine encounters. We pray for more! Amen.