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Converted Christians in Morocco Need Prayers dimanche 7 janvier 2007, par Journalchretien.net

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Thousands of people converting into Christianity from Islam in Morocco. Salem Voice Ministries requesting prayers for the converted christians of Morocco to be protected from the persecutions and also to be growing in the Spirit.Christian persecution in Morocco is increasing fastly.

At the end of the last month, a Moroccan court in Agadir jailed a German tourist named Sadek Noshi Yassa of 64 years of old for six months for attempting to convert Muslims on Wednesday, the 29th of November. He is a German of Egyptian origin. He was arrested for distributing books and CDs about the Christian faith to young Muslim Moroccans in the street. The court also fined him 500 dirhams ($60) in its verdict issue.

Islam is the state religion in Morocco around 30 million people. There are some Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant churches which are recognized by Morocco, but they are only for foreigners living in the country. Moroccan Christians have no right to pray in these churches. But many of the converts are baptized secretly in Morocco’s churches.

Some of the Christians discovered their faith accidentally, while others have been converted by churches, mostly Baptists.

"I discovered Christianity by His grace alone," a young Moroccan woman who wants to remain anonymous said. "I found a Bible on my night table in a French hotel room, and what I read appealed to me. On the same trip, I met a Moroccan Christian, and we had a long discussion."

But like hundreds of her sisters and brothers in faith, she has to practise her religion secretly in Muslim Morocco.

At the moment, they are preparing to celebrate Christmas clandestinely at home, possibly in the presence of a pastor who also has to hide his faith.

The converted Christians of Evangelical Protestant Group have fifty independant churches across the big cities of the Kingdom. Out of it, six churches are in the city of Casablanca, five churches in Rabat and one church in El Ayoun, the regional capital of the western Sahara.

Seven of these are "Free Churches" in Marrakesh, having no links with any international Protestant churches.

"As we are tolerated, but not recognised (by the state) we must, for security reasons, conduct ourselves as a clandestine organisation," said the 57-year-old, who also preferred to use a pseudonym.

"As soon as a church has 20 worshippers it splits in two," said Dr. Abdul Halim, who converted to Christianity 16 years ago when he was living abroad. At the beginning of the 1990s there were only 400 christians in Morocco. But when he returned home seven years ago, he was astonished by the growing number of converts around 700 and today more than 1000. Abdul Halim told SVM News.

Though they are Christians, in the eyes of the state they remain Muslim. And their names also like Muslim names.

Dr. Abdul Halim said, "Officially, my son and I are Muslim. We hold Christian marriages and bless the young couple but this is not recognized by the state. They must go before the Muslim clergy and marry according to Sharia (Islamic law). If they don’t do this, they can be charged with adultery."

The same goes for death also. They cannot be buried in a Christian cemetery, only in a Muslim one.

"We have to be careful because ordinary people cannot understand that we can be Arabs without being Muslim. For us the biggest danger is ignorance," Dr. Halim added.

Discretion is the order of the day for Morocco’s Christians, with the faithful holding services in their homes, against a background of suspicion from the Islamic world.

The Christian converts also have article 220 of the penal code hanging over their heads, which provides for prison sentences of between six months and three years for anyone who tries to undermine a Muslim’s faith or to convert him to another religion.

"For many of us, Islam is perceived as a social straitjacket and not as a real faith, and Christianity as a religion of tolerance and love," said the businessman, who converted at the age of 19 and was later followed by his family.

"We have to live as if we were criminals," a young woman from Casablanca. People who reveal their conversion risk being banished by their families and marginalized by their communities.

Christians in Morocco badly need prayers from the children of God around the globe for their spiritual gowth and physical protection.

Salem Voice Ministries spreading Gospel and planting churhes in India and the third world nations, especially among Muslims.

Pastor Paul Ciniraj, Director,

Salem Voice Ministries.

http://salemvoice.org

P.-S.




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