Morocco’s small Christian minority, almost entirely made up of converts from Islam, has emerged from hiding to stand for their religious freedom rights. Estimated to be between 2,000 to 6,000 strong, this small Christian community has formally petitioned Morocco’s National Human Rights Council and demand formal recognition of their religious freedom rights. Historically, converting to Christianity in Morocco brought persecution and at time arrests and imprisonment. If this Christian community is able to stand for their rights, it may set a precedent for convert communities throughout the rest of the Muslim World.
05/24/2017 Morocco (Al Arabiya) – It is still unclear when the so-called phenomenon of Moroccans converting to Christianity began to come out of the closet. There is no official statistic available on the number of Christian converts in Morocco even though the US State Department estimates the number to be between 2,000 and 6,000. More importantly, it is difficult to identify the reasons that drive them to convert in the first place.
Amid this hazy scenario, one thing seems certain: Moroccan Christians are emerging from the shadows of the past. They are beginning to demand their rights and criticize discriminatory practices.
The establishment of the National Coalition of Moroccan Christians was one of the major steps taken by the converts as they decided to stop practicing their faith in a clandestine manner as they had been doing for years.
Another first case of its kind was the coalition’s decision to officially address the National Human Rights Council. “Representatives of the coalition met with a delegation from the council and submitted a folder that contains a series of our demands,” said coalition spokesman Mustafa Susi. “Those included freedom of worship and the official recognition of churches in the country.”
The demands, Susi added, included the right to have their own cemeteries and to use Christian names for their children. “The group also asked for the right to decide if they want their children to take Islamic religion class in school.” Susi evaluated the meeting as “positive” as it constitutes the first step toward communication between Christian converts and the Moroccan government. The council, however, made no promises.
Moroccan Christians also launched a YouTube channel called Moroccan and Christian and which is described as “a channel that includes Moroccan Christians of all types as they explain their faith, answer questions about their patriotism, and refute misconceptions about them.”