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Morocco

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Agadir in Morocco is a popular winter destination for Western tourists
Nerijp / CC BY-SA 3.0

In some respects Morocco seems one of the most modern and secular of Muslim countries. A popular tourist destination, it allows the sale of alcohol and permits women to dress much as they wish, at least in the cities; among Arab nations it has one of the most liberal laws on women’s and family rights. Not only does the country’s constitution guarantee religious liberty; the authorities are also fairly tolerant of non-Muslim religious practice.

But the freedom experienced by Christians in Morocco is very limited and insecure. All Moroccans are considered to be Muslims, and so the government does not officially acknowledge the existence of Moroccan Christians. There are in fact a few thousand indigenous believers, who have converted from Islam, and they can meet together largely without harassment so long as they are discreet. But sharing one’s Christian faith with Muslims is punishable by a fine or imprisonment, and converts can face pressure from their communities and local authorities.

There is a small expatriate Christian community in Morocco. They too are free to gather and worship, but they are often monitored by the government and are liable to expulsion if they try to convert local Muslims; more than a hundred were deported on such charges in 2010. They risk being accused of this even if Moroccan Christians simply attend their worship services. The government also restricts the distribution of Christian literature.

During the so-called “Arab Spring” of 2011, unrest in Morocco was quietened by the king’s promise of reform and the issuing of a new constitution. But the monarchy, which is believed to be sacred (the king is a direct descendant of Muhammad), has retained most of its status and power, and no concessions have been made to Christians or other minorities. Since elections held in November 2011 an Islamist group, the Justice and Development Party (PJD), have held the most parliamentary seats. The king appointed the leader of the party Prime Minister in January 2012.

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    • “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also,” said the Lord Jesus (John 15:20). According to the Pew Centre for Research, Christians face religious oppression in 151 of the world’s countries, whether direct or indirect. On this Barnabas Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, let us remember our brothers and sisters facing tremendous pressures of all kinds because of their faithfulness to Christ and help them with our prayers (Philippians 1:19). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 10 hours ago

    • Hardline Buddhist groups in Sri Lanka are becoming increasingly militant, and in two recent incidents Christians were hospitalised with injuries sustained in mob violence. The General Secretary of one such group, Ravana Balaya, which launched an anti-Christian campaign on 15 July, said they would “advise” Christians to halt their activities but, if the Christians failed to take heed, the group would take firmer action. Pray for Christians in Sri Lanka who face opposition from their neighbours, and ask God to protect them from further violence as they seek to maintain their witness (Acts 4:19-20). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Oct 2014 00:00

    • Since General al-Sisi became President of Egypt in June, Christians in the country have felt the pressure upon them ease off somewhat. However, a convert from Islam, Bishoy Armia Boulous, previously known as Mohammed Hegazy, remains in prison. He was rearrested on 4 December 2013, charged with defaming Islam after he fi led a public lawsuit to change the religious affiliation listed on his national identification card from Muslim to Christian. Please pray that there will be genuine religious liberty for Christians from a Muslim background as well as those born into Christian families. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Oct 2014 00:00

    • Lift up in prayer Christians living in Minya, Egypt whose homes were attacked on 5 August by local Muslims. The violence broke out after Muslims learned that believers in Yaacoub planned to build a new church. Opposition to construction of church buildings is one of the most common reasons behind anti-Christian attacks Scores of Egyptian churches were attacked following the removal of Mohammed Morsi by Muslims in Egypt. Restrictions on the building of churches, a cause of hardship for Christians for many years, were lifted in Egypt’s recent new constitution. Pray that the assailants will be brought to justice and that the plans for the local church building will continue. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Oct 2014 00:00

    • Give thanks that ten Egyptian churches destroyed in anti-Christian attacks last year have now been reopened. Around 60 churches across Egypt were attacked by Islamists in the summer of 2013. The assaults were provoked by the ouster of former president Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood. Although the current Egyptian government has promised to rebuild all the damaged churches, most of the Christians have not yet received aid and some are worshipping in ruined buildings. Pray that the rebuilding process will continue and that the Lord will protect His people in Egypt, especially while they are still meeting in damaged buildings. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Oct 2014 00:00

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