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Moroccans converted to Christianity : 2,000 to 6,000 converts living in the Kingdom

Moroccans converted to Christianity are emerging from the darkness. According to the latest numbers provided by the US State Department, 2,000 to 6,000 Christians live in the Kingdom, who are now fed up with keeping their religious identity a secret.

A Moroccan convert attends prayers at a house in Ait Melloul./Ph. AFP
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Living in a country where Islam is the religion of the state, a number of Moroccans converted to Christianity are fighting for the right to freely practice their faith. According to an article published today 22nd of May by Al Arabiya English, between 2,000 to 6,000 Christian Moroccans live in the North African Kingdom, a number provided by US State Department. Silent for so many years, the community is nowadays fed up with all the restrictions and assumption and it is demanding the right to live according to its religion.

Moroccans converted to Christianity are indeed battling for a decent life, according to Al Arabiya, they have formed a national coalition and decided to address the National Human Rights Council for equal rights and freedom. Mustapha Susi, the spokesman of the National Coalition of Moroccan Christians told the same source that : «representatives of the coalition met with a delegation from the council and submitted a folder that contains a series of demands», he added that «those included freedom of worship and the official recognition of churches in the country».

Converts are no more hiding their faith or their will to obtain a range of rights namely having their own cemeteries, using Christian names and also deciding whether their kids should take Islamic religion classes in school. These demands made it to the public a few months ago when a group of Moroccan Christians spoke about their daily lives and struggles in an AFP reportage. They have also created a Youtube channel to voice their worries, change the way people perceive their religious choices and explain their faith.

«We cannot prosecute those who choose to change their faith»

The US State Department 2013 International Religious Freedom Report indicated that 8,000 Christians and between 3,000 and 4,000 Jews live in Morocco. Jewish Moroccans, according to the US survey «practice freely their faith and in all security and Jewish commemorations take place every year all over the country». However things are different for Zubeir Dukali, a human rights activist and member of the National Coalition of Moroccan Christians, who told Al Arabiya that : «This is not the case with the Jewish minority which is recognized by the state, which allows Jews to practice their faith freely.»

Speaking of freedom, Mustapha Ramid, Minister of State for Human Rights said that «people have the right to choose their faith and that the right is granted by Islam», the same source reports. «We cannot prosecute those who choose to change their faith,» he stated addressing members of the Justice, Legislation, and Human Committee at the parliament. «The problem is political rather than religious or legal because we are worried that we would turn into camps and that this will start dividing our society.»

However, article 220 of the penal code still issues 6 months to 3 years jail to Christians who attempt to «undermine a Muslim’s faith”. A reputation that all Moroccan Christians out there got associated with for voicing their religious background as Dukali describes. «Ever since, there has been an assumption that Christians serve a foreign agenda, but now the situation is different since no one is trying to convert anyone and we do not aim at spreading Christianity in Morocco», he told Al Arabiya insisting that : «We only want the constitution to be modified in a way that explicitly grants all Moroccans the freedom to choose their faith.»

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