There are over 37 million people in Morocco, but only around 31,500 Christians – less than 0.1 per cent of the population.
What does persecution look like in Morocco?
The average pressure on Christians in Morocco remains high. And for converts from Islam, the pressure is even higher. They can lose their inheritance rights or even custody of their children.
Converts face opposition from family members, who do not want them to practice their new faith publicly—often, this means new Christians are not allowed to be baptized, married or buried in a church or Christian ceremony. Particularly in rural areas, these followers of Jesus also face significant hostility from their local community and government.
The Moroccan penal code also presents issues for Moroccan Christians. According to the code, it is a criminal act to “shake the faith of a Muslim.” Obviously, this greatly depends on contextual interpretation, but practically it means it is very difficult for Christians to share their faith and chokes the ability of churches to reach their community. Additionally, Christian advocates have been targeted for violent attack by Islamic extremists.
People who follow Jesus after coming from Islam face the greatest danger in Morocco—including pressure from family, community and government. However, the level of this persecution and discrimination may vary from area to area. For this reason, converts choose to live in urban areas, where it is easier to escape from the more conservative Islamic culture of the rural areas.
“[My father and I were watching] TV, and there was a program about a Muslim school that was teaching the Quran to small children. I was against this idea, so I tried to talk about it, and I told him that I was against that kind of Salafi [extremist] people who teach the Quran to young children. He told me to leave the house.”Islém
What has changed compared to last year?
Morocco fell one rank on the 2021 World Watch List from the 2020 List. However, persecution actually rose a bit, mostly because of increased pressure in family, community and church life. Violence decreased slightly, but not enough to significantly alter the outlook for Christians in this North African nation.
In cooperation with local partners and churches, Open Doors supports the church in North Africa in a variety of ways. Through partners, Open Doors provides training, Christian literature distribution, microloans, follow-up ministry via different media channels and advocacy training to stand up for the rights of Christians. Open Doors also raises prayer support for believers in Morocco.
- Pray for unity in the Moroccan church. Believers are scattered around the country and don’t know each other well. Special efforts need to be made to be united.
- Pray for children in local schools. Islam is taught in many different subjects at school. Christian children say this is confusing, as they hear different teaching at home. Pray they will not feel confused, but that they will deeply know the truth.
- Pray for Christian converts from Islam in Morocco. Pray they will be protected from harm or discrimination from their families, and that they will be able to walk openly with Jesus.
O Lord, we pray for the Christians of Morocco. We ask that You would sustain them, especially those who risk so much to follow You. We pray especially for people who have left Islam to proclaim Jesus as Lord. Will you protect and preserve them, and give them strength to walk with You? We ask all these things through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever, Amen.