The Kingdom of Morocco in northwest Africa has long been looked upon as a moderate Muslim nation. Recent actions designed to intimidate Christians and stifle Christian witness portend worse days ahead. According to Compass Direct News:
A large, military-led team of Moroccan authorities raided a Bible study in a small city southeast of Marrakech last week, arresting 18 Moroccans and deporting a U.S. citizen, area Christian leaders said.
Approximately 60 officers from the Moroccan security services on Thursday afternoon (Feb. 4) raided the home of a Christian in Amizmiz, a picturesque city of 10,000 mainly Berber people 56 kilometers (35 miles) southeast of Marrakech. A church Bible study was in progress at the home with visitors from western and southern Morocco, the leaders said.
Five of the 18 people held for 14 hours were small children, two of them infants no more than 6 months old. The other small children ranged from 20 months to 4 years old, and also detained was the visiting 16-year-old nephew of one of the participants.
The leader of the Christian group, who requested anonymity for security reasons, said the raiding party was unusually large. It included an accompaniment of 15 vehicles led by a colonel and two captains.
This violation of religious freedom was accompanied by some paranoid-sounding rhetoric:
Quoting a statement by the Interior Ministry, the state-run Maghreb Arabe Presse news agency reported that a “foreign missionary” had been arrested for trying to “spread evangelist creed in the Kingdom and locate new Moroccan nationals for recruitment.”
The statement added that the raid took place “following information on the organization of a secret meeting to initiate people into Christianity, which would shake Muslims’ faith and undermine the Kingdom’s religious values.”
Morocco has apparently decided to embark on an Orwellian approach to religious freedom:
In its 2009 international religious freedom report, the U.S. Department of State noted that on April 2, 2009, a Moroccan government spokesman asserted that freedom of religion does not include freedom to choose one’s faith.
“The fight against Christian proselytizing in accordance with law cannot be considered among human rights abuses,” the Moroccan government spokesman said, “for it is an action aimed at preventing attempts to undermine the country’s immutable religious values. The freedom of belief does not mean conversion to another religion.”
This is increasingly the approach of the Muslim world–freedom for me but not for thee. Imagine the shrieks that would come forth from the U.N. Human Rights Council and the Organization of the Islamic Conference if Western nations decreed that Muslims were no longer allowed to seek converts. Pray for the Christians of the Muslim world, and for those who are seeking to bring Muslims to Christ in the 10/40 window.
(Via Religion News Blog.)