A global plea for sense for the Moroccan church
Life goes on beyond the boundaries of UK politics, of course. And for many, things are grim. A friend who works in north Africa has sent me this and is happy for me to post it. As many are aware, there have been some very alarming developments in this part of the world for the small but nevertheless real church. A recent CT update is a case in point.
Press Release March 15, 2010
We, the members of the Worldwide Union of Moroccan Christians, declare the following:
We are following with great concern the waves of summonses, interrogations, arrests, and detentions carried out these past weeks by Moroccan security forces against Moroccan Christians as well as the deportations of foreigners working with humanitarian aide organizations in Morocco. By this press release we want to clarify the following points:
- As Moroccan Christians we take pride in a rich Christian heritage. Some of us are first generation believers, others are from second and third generations; all these people and families are employed in various posts in Moroccan society and abroad. We live our daily lives peaceably, respectfully and in all harmony with our society, which we serve with zeal according to our capabilities.
- Contrary to the regrettable statements repeated by certain media outlets which try by all means possible to call into question the credibility of our faith, we strongly affirm that our faith in Christ is a personal choice which has never been the result of any pressure or of any material or social inducement whatsoever. Our conviction is entirely religious and cannot be attributed to any kind of foreign influence.
- The abuse and persecution coming from Moroccan authorities affect us as Christians and deprive us of our fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution and by all internationally recognized agreements and charters. They contradict the declarations of the Moroccan government announced by its spokesperson and minister of communication according to which Morocco guarantees freedom of religion and of belief. We are entitled to wonder about the truth of such words, because if they were true, then why are Moroccan Christians persecuted? By what law are they interrogated and arrested?
- We strongly affirm that the declarations by leaders of foreign churches on Moroccan soil do not reflect in any fashion the opinion of Moroccan Christians. Indeed, as foreign Christians living in Morocco, they benefit from privileges that are refused to Moroccan Christians: no places of worship, no churches, the absolute outlawing of meeting together and practicing our rituals whether in private or in public. We are not even allowed to defend our faith when it is asked of us. Finally, we don’t even have the right to have Bibles in Arabic or Tamazight in our dear country; the Bible is confiscated from us and considered to be a tool for proselytism.
- We denounce the harassment that we undergo as Moroccan Christians as being religious persecution, having nothing to do with politics. On the other hand we, Moroccan Christians, pray for our King, our people and our homeland from Tangier to Laguira, to advance in well-being, progress and prosperity.
On this basis, we call for the Moroccan government:
- To stop all types: of systematic harassment carried out by security forces, of arrests, of detentions and of inspections that have as their sole goal to humiliate Christians and to put pressure on them in order to force them to renounce their religious convictions.
- That this government open formal channels of dialogue with Moroccan Christians, with a view of having true clarity, transparence, and understanding, because we seek above all to maintain the country’s territorial integrity as well as its security.
- The official recognition of Moroccan Christians and of their right to worship and to practice their rituals and those of Christianity freely and without harassment or restrictions.
- The permission granted to Moroccans to convert to the religion that they want, including Christianity, without being subject to interrogation or harassment on the part of security forces, as is guaranteed by the Moroccan constitution.
The Worldwide Union of Moroccan Christians
(L’Union mondiale des chrétiens marocains)
Fax: +44 20 71 17 12 77