I am deeply concerned about recent developments in Morocco, a country I have visited numerous times and have grown to love and respect.
Earlier this year, 43 American Christians were expelled from Morocco by the government, accused of being “missionaries.” Now, an accredited American school in Casablanca has been legally attacked by a parent of a sixth grade boy enrolled in the school, accused of trying to convert minors. Morocco has been a leading “Reformer” country – peaceful, tolerant, friendly to the West and eager to build warm, constructive relations with Evangelical Christians. Has the government decided to change course?
With regards to the expulsions, I have been amazed and disappointed that so many Americans could be so hastily deported or refused entry to Morocco without due process of any kind. It appears that Morocco’s own immigration laws were not even respected. This action will send shock waves into the American business community who could now fear doing business there if due process is no longer respected in Morocco. It certainly has already sent shock waves through the American Christian community as it appears that Evangelical Christians are no longer welcome in Morocco.
With regards to the court case, here’s the background: several sixth-grade classmates shared their Christian faith with this Moroccan Muslim boy and he decided to put his faith in Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord. The legal complaint states the names of 14 people associated with the school and accuses them all with “shaking the child’s [Islamic] faith.” The problem is that only a few of these 14 people have ever even met the boy. The only evidence the lawyer provides that these 14 people have membership in Christian churches and organizations and are in some way connected to the school. In one case, the lawyer cites that a certain individual made charitable contributions through a well known Christian foundation. The lawyer filing the complaint cited an “army of evangelists” from “extremist denominations” (Baptist, Community Church, United Bible Society, etc).
Noteworthy is that the lawyer representing the boy is also the parliamentary leader of the Muslim fundamentalist political party in Morocco (PJD). He is turning the decision of one young boy into a political debate pitting Christians against Muslims. This has potentially far reaching implications and reminds me of the largest complaint of Al Qaeda dating back to 1991. Osama Bin Laden was incensed at the fact that there were hundreds of thousands of “Christian” soldiers in Saudi Arabia. This was the rallying cry that led to most of the terrorist attacks leading up to September 11, 2001. Are the members of the Moroccan PJD party now bringing this same logic to Morocco? Do they want to rid Morocco of all Evangelical Christians? Do they want to turn the tolerant Muslim kingdom into a new Iran or Saudi Arabia?
It appears that Morocco is at the crossroads. It has been reaching out to Christians in the West and seeking to promote the “Morocco Model” as I described in Inside the Revolution. If they convict people of “shaking the faith of a Muslim” who have never even met that person, it will be clear that merely holding the evangelical faith would be a crime in Morocco.
I am contacting Moroccan officials I know to discuss this matter and express my concerns. I would ask Christians to show patience and love towards the Government of Morocco, as well as to pray for Morocco’s leaders to change this policy and to correct and apologize for recent mistakes. Should the Moroccan government not take corrective action soon, then more Christian leaders should speak out directly against this. I will keep you posted. What a shame this would be, given Morocco’s wonderful recent history of relations with Christians.