Moroccan Authorities Raid Bible Study, Arrest Christians
Order to detain 18 nationals, deport U.S. citizen apparently came from highest levels.
2/9/2010 Morocco (Compass Direct News) – A large, military-led team of Moroccan authorities raided a Bible study in a small city southeast of Marrakech last week, arresting 18 Moroccans and deporting a U.S. citizen, area Christian leaders said. Approximately 60 officers from the Moroccan security services on Thursday afternoon (Feb. 4) raided the home of a Christian in Amizmiz, a picturesque city of 10,000 mainly Berber people 56 kilometers (35 miles) southeast of Marrakech. A church Bible study was in progress at the home with visitors from western and southern Morocco , the leaders said. Five of the 18 people held for 14 hours were small children, two of them infants no more than 6 months old. The other small children ranged from 20 months to 4 years old, and also detained was the visiting 16-year-old nephew of one of the participants. The Christian leaders said authorities interrogated participants in the Bible study for 14 hours. Authorities filmed the interrogation with digital video cameras and cell phones. The leader of the Christian group, who requested anonymity for security reasons, said the raiding party was unusually large. It included an accompaniment of 15 vehicles led by a colonel and two captains. “It’s the first time in our current Moroccan church history that the Moroccan government used this size of a legion to attack a small Christian meeting,” he said. “All the time they kept repeating that this was ordered personally by the new Moroccan Justice Minister [Mohamed Naciri] and by the highest level General of the Gendarmerie [Housni Benslimane].”