What does persecution look like in Morocco?
In North Africa, it's a criminal offence to 'shake the faith of a Muslim'. If Christians talk to others about their faith, they risk arrest and prosecution. With this legal background, Moroccan converts from Islam to Christianity face intensive pressures both privately and publicly to renounce their faith. Converts are punished with the loss of inheritance rights and custody of their children. In some circumstances, Christians are arrested and fined for nothing more than having a Bible in their possession, or for discussing Christian faith with a Muslim.
But it's not only the laws against proselytisation that put Christians at risk. With Islamic extremists operative in the region, Christians face the threat of violent attacks on the grounds of their faith. In the public sphere, Christians become the targets for government interrogation, beatings or imprisonment. In work, they may be harassed by colleagues, or even made unemployed because of their faith. If their faith is known, many Christians are discriminated against in their job searches, and finding employment becomes almost impossible.
Distribution of Christian resources is restricted and Christians may suffer harassment, or even beatings and imprisonment if they are found with a Bible. Even online, Christians risk cyber harassment for their faith and self-expression. The pressure from families and society can force Christians into isolation or relocation. The pressures on Christians make it difficult to establish and sustain any form of Christian fellowship.
Converts from an Islamic background are most vulnerable to religious persecution, particularly in rural areas which are more conservative. Most converts live in urban areas, where it is easier to escape family and community pressure.
What has changed this year?
Violence against Christians in Morocco increased in the past year, mainly because a higher number of church buildings, including house churches, were attacked. Pressure remains extremely high in many spheres of life.
Open Doors works with local partners and churches in North Africa to provide leadership training, discipleship, livelihood support, Bibles and pastoral care.
- Please pray for tolerance of all faiths in North Africa and for Christians to have the freedom to gather together
- Pray for provision for those converts whose faith is known. Pray for jobs and support from family and friends.
- Pray for deepening of faith for Christians in North Africa, even when it is difficult to access resources.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the courageous Christians in North Africa who choose to follow You despite the risks. Encourage secret believers with support from other Christians and access to Bibles and books. Reconcile family relationships that have been strained or broken. Protect those who are threatened with physical violence. Help Open Doors partners to find Christians in North Africa and support them with pastoral care and prayer. Amen.