Morocco

Morocco's Christians, as Many as 6,000, Come Out Before Ramadan

Toronto - As millions of Moroccan Muslims begin preparations for celebrating the holy month of Ramadan, the Kingdom’s Christian convert community is stepping out from the background and demanding their rights as citizens.

No formal study or census has been taken to determine the number of Christian converts living in Morocco. The United States State Department, however, has estimated their number to fall some where between 2,000 and 6,000.

Although the Kingdom’s 2011 constitution guarantees Moroccan citizens “the freedom of practicing religious rituals” under article 3, the reality of being a Moroccan convert to Christianity has proven to be fraught with tension.

Fearing social persecution, most Christian converts historically chose to remain in the background and worship in secret. That, however, appears to be changing.

“We only want the constitution to be modified in a way that explicitly grants all Moroccans the freedom to choose their faith,” explained Zuheir al-Dukhali to Saudi news site Al Arabiya. In his capacity as a member of the National Coalition of Moroccan Christians, al-Dukhali, also a human rights activist, emphasized that the community is in no way a threat to Moroccan society.

In April, the coalition decided to approach the National Human Rights Council. In the meeting, the coalition voiced its demands for Christian cemeteries as well as the right to bestow Christian names on their children and the choice to nit have to their children schooled in Islam. The council listened to the demands but made no promises.

As a means to create both acceptance for their presence and understanding in Moroccan society, the Moroccan Christian community has also launched a YouTube channel. Called “Moroccan and Christian,” Mustafa Susi describes the channel as a critical platform for “Moroccan Christians of all types as they explain their faith, answer questions about their patriotism, and refute misconceptions about them.”

No longer content to remain a population of shadows, Morocco’s Christian community is clearly determined to push for acceptance and prepared to use whatever tools the law affords them in doing so.

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