Congress gets involved in Morocco deportations

By July 7, 2010

Morocco (MNN) — In the last few months, the Moroccan government has been deporting Christians left and right. The number deported since March has now reached 128.

"Extremists in Morocco are accusing these Christians of a crime called ‘proselytism,' which basically means sharing their faith with people who are Muslims," says Carl Moeller, president and CEO of Open Doors USA. "That's a big offense in the eyes of extremist Muslims."

Moroccan law makes it illegal for Christians to attempt to convert Muslims, but the extent of "proselytism" actually taking place in many of these cases has not even been proven. The Wall Street Journal reported that two Christian deportees were merely foster parents taking care of two Moroccan orphans. The couple was asked to leave the country with only a few hours notice and told to leave the orphans behind.

Moeller says many deported Christians have been asked to leave the country in extreme haste on the grounds that they are "threatening public order." This is despite the fact that some of those who have been asked to leave had lived in Morocco peacefully for over a decade, and some are even married to Moroccan nationals.

The injustice has been so obvious, however, that it has had the attention of the U.S. government almost since it began. "The Human Rights Commission of the U.S. Congress, and particularly representative Frank Wolf, have been holding hearings and actually using the power that they have to discuss even withholding financial aid from Morocco in response to these illegal deportations as we see them," says Moeller.

In response to several of these hearings, the Ambassador of Morocco to the United State, Aziz Mekouar, has held firmly to the stance that only those who had undoubtedly been proselytizing had been deported. According to Compass Direct News, however, Moroccan authorities have been unable to prove any such allegations.

In the meantime, the estimated 1,000 Christians left in Morocco are still under pressure. "Their status politically and socially within that country is really quite precarious," says Moeller. "They're not recognized by the government; they have no rights. Officially, the government does not recognize anyone who converts from Islam to Christianity."

These are just a few more reasons that it's imperative that the U.S. government stay involved.

"This is a situation where a number of our friends in Congress are taking a stand. We're actually following the lead of the Christian community in Morocco, who have asked us to do whatever we can to bring as much attention as possible to the situation. If we can use the political power of the U.S. Congress to bring pressure on the Moroccan authorities, we want to go ahead and do that."

You can help in this initiative. The goal is to "make more pressure on the Moroccan government to allow these Christian workers to return to the orphanages and the schools that they have been kicked out of, so that the Moroccan government knows when they do these sort of acts that are reprehensible on a human rights level, they will be held accountable."

To do this, Moeller suggests you write to your Congressmen. Call Open Doors for help with this at 888-5-BIBLE-5 or contact one of your representatives with the information listed here.

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