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Morocco ranked 24th worldwide in extreme Christian persecution

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Morocco was ranked 24th among countries with a high level of persecution towards Christians, according to the World Watch List (WWL) 2024 issued by Open Door, a non-denominational Christian organization that supports persecuted Christians around the world.

The organization classified the persecution level against Morocco’s Christian population, which makes up 0.1% of the religious landscape, as being very high, a situation that is common in most North African countries where Islam is the main religion.

Morocco’s ranking on the World Watch List has slipped during the last five years, from 29th in 2023 to 24th in 2024. The country’s persecution score has risen from 69 in 2023 to 71 in 2024.

Moroccan Christians, particularly those who have converted from Muslim backgrounds, endure social harassment and discrimination in the workplace if their religious conversion is made public, highlights the report.

In addition, they frequently face animosity from their extended families and society. Because of all of this, Moroccan Christians are wary of criticizing Islam or the king’s religious authority on social media, as doing so might have consequences.

According to the findings of the WWL 2024 report, which studied the period from October 2022 to September 20, 2023, A staggering 32% of Moroccan Christians experience violence due to their faith, with 79% of them experiencing restrictions on their private lives.

The report says that expressing the Christian faith publicly in Morocco, whether local or expatriate, is risky due to legal consequences and potential violence from the community, leaving many converts afraid to share their faith openly.

83% of Christians experience restrictions on their family lives, as interfaith marriage is banned by law in Morocco, and children of Christians may encounter discrimination, harassment, and isolation from the community.

The report highlighted that “pressure is intentionally placed upon Moroccan Christian families to force either assimilation or emigration.”

70% of Christians face restrictions on their community engagements in the Kingdom, emphasizing that the Taliban takeover has heightened pressure on Christians in Morocco, as Christianity is perceived as foreign to traditional identity. In addition, security services monitor Christian activities and restrict overtly Christian groups.

The report added that societal pressure makes it difficult for Christians with a Muslim background to bring up their children in the faith, resulting in concerns like school bullying and Islamic instruction without parental consent.

77% of Christians encounter restrictions on their national lives, as the constitution designates Islam as the state religion. The Kingdom’s government, according to the report, bans evangelism and opposes civil society organizations with Christian convictions or those advocating for the rights of Moroccan converts.

86% of Christians in Morocco endure constraints on their church lives, hindering Christian groups’ expansion and growth.

The government monitors expatriate churches to prevent Moroccan locals from attending their services, and Moroccan Christians are not allowed to build their churches, according to the same source. It also prohibits displaying and selling Bibles, claiming they are used for proselytization.

The report said that female converts from Islam face major obstacles, particularly in rural areas, such as arbitrary divorces, limited access to children, forced marriages, and difficulty accessing Christian resources.

They are subjected to pressures such as denial of social networks, custody, inheritance, legal marriage, enforcement of religious clothing codes, and different forms of violence, including physical, psychological, sexual, and verbal.

Similarly, male converts from Islam endure familial disapproval, financial difficulties, and possible spouse abandonment.

They may be pressed to marry a Muslim, and the public penalties vary depending on their social and political standing, such as interrogation, beatings, or arrest. Employment is a major pressure point, and discrimination does occur in schooling on occasion.

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