The Christians of Morocco, the most affected after the earthquake

An earthquake has once again destroyed Morocco. Thousands of deaths and completely destroyed buildings are the result of this latest earthquake that has shaken the African country. The loss of life and materials is immense, but the most affected are the Christians. In Morocco, abandoning the official state religion is popularly considered a betrayal of the homeland and the people, therefore, being a Christian is a problem that clashes with the country’s culture. The number of Christian Moroccans (Catholics, Orthodox and Evangelicals) within Morocco may be as high as 8,000, according to a recent report by the United States Department of State. All of them pray or celebrate sacraments secretly in their homes, in what they call “domestic churches.”

The Catholic Church has had a notable presence in Morocco since the days of the protectorate, but its field of pastoral action is limited, by local law, to foreigners. Therefore, it is summarized that the Christian community, nuns and parish priests, do social work without being able to Evangelize since they are prohibited by the law of the Moroccan country and can face serious sentences. There are numerous religious orders, among them, the Trinitarians serving dispensaries, soup kitchens, orphanages, homes for street children, the disabled, and centers for the promotion of women throughout the country.

Announcing the Gospel to Moroccans or distributing any kind of bibliographic material is prohibited. Article 220 of the Moroccan Penal Code is exhaustive in this regard: sentence to sentences of six months to three years (in Morocco these figures refer to real years of deprivation of liberty) whoever “uses any means of seduction to break the faith of a Muslim or try to convert him to another religion.” All these damages to religious freedom are increased in events harmful to the country such as the earthquake, since aid is never directed towards Christians and their problems are aggravated by being marginalized from the country and from the system.

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