There are over 37 million people in Morocco, but only 31,400 Christians – about 0.1 per cent of the population.
What does persecution look like in Morocco?
Article 220 of Morocco's penal code criminalizes "shaking the faith of a Muslim". The law puts many Christians, both Moroccan and foreign, who talk to others about their faith at risk of arrest and criminal prosecution.
Christians rights advocates have also been targeted by the Moroccan government for their activities and threatened with violent attacks by Islamic extremists. While the law only punishes proselytizing, Moroccan converts to Christianity can be punished in other ways, like losing inheritance rights and custody of their children.
In Morocco's rural areas, the Islamic population is known to be conservative Muslims; most persecution incidents take place in the northeast region, the Atlas mountains in the east and the south-eastern desert area. Most converts in Morocco live in urban areas, where it's easier to escape family and community pressure. However, during COVID-19 lockdowns, many converts suffered when they were forced into isolation, unable to escape potentially dangerous situations inside their homes.
Both young women became Christians in college. When they told their parents about their newfound faith, they were beaten for shaming the family. Finally, under constant pressure, both girls pretended to return to Islam to maintain peace in their families. But they both continue to believe in Jesus in secret. They meet with other believers on a day other than Sunday to avoid further punishment.
"If my father found out, he'd kill me," Nadeen said. And she means it literally.Nadeen and Fatima
What has changed compared to last year?
The outlook for Christians in Morocco has worsened this year. Pressure increased across the board and violence even rose because several believers were forced to leave the country during the reporting period. Life for Christians in Morocco remains very difficult.
Open Doors works with local partners and churches to come alongside persecuted believers in North Africa in multiple ways: biblical training, discipleship materials, advocacy, business microloans and mobilizing worldwide prayer support for Christians in difficult situations.
- Pray with isolated believers in Morocco who must sustain their faith alone or risk house arrest, physical attacks, arrest and imprisonment. Ask the Lord to draw close to His people and fill their hearts with the knowledge of His presence and love.
- Pray for tolerance of Christian faith in Moroccan society, with freedom to gather and strengthen congregations that benefit the country as a whole.
- Ask God to guide and protect our local partners in Morocco as they reach out to believers who are rejected by their Muslim families or community.
Dear Father, wrap Your arms around the believers in Morocco who ache to share their lives with other believers. Sustain them and reveal other Christians who they can speak to about You. Lift the heavy load of oppression that comes when a whole country legally refuses to recognize You. Give Open Doors' partners discernment and courage as they work to lift the hearts of secret believers and meet their needs. In Jesus' name, amen.