Population: 32.6 million Majority Religion: Islam (99.8%) Christian population: 29,000 Persecution Category: Significant
Population: 36.5 million Majority Religion: Islam (97%) Christian population: 100,000 Persecution Category: Significant
Morocco is one of the few Muslim countries that has a king as head of state. It has long been seen as moderate and progressive. After protests in 2011 linked to the Arab Spring, a revised constitution was introduced, which diluted some of the kingâ€™s powers and which was broadly welcomed.
The Sahara covers 80% of Algeria and most of the population lives along the Mediterranean coast. Algeria remains haunted by the shadow of the bloody civil war in the 1990s in which over 200,000 people died. The country has been politically stable in recent years and the government has improved human rights.
The existence of expatriate Christian churches has been tolerated for many years but the emergence of small indigenous churches has not been accepted. Moroccans who become Christians are often arrested and interrogated by police and then placed under close surveillance. They live in an atmosphere of isolation and fear. Various religious and political factions within the country have vied for influence in recent years, leading to waves of persecution of the small Christian community. There has also been a succession of wildly inaccurate and hostile antiChristian campaigns in the media. Many expatriate Christians who were suspected of links with Moroccan Christians have been expelled.
There has been a revival in Christianity over the past decade and growth has been so great that some observers believe the number of Christians far exceeds 100,000. The majority of Christians are ethnically Berber, but there are increasing numbers of Arabs turning from Islam to Christianity. Conversion from Islam is not prohibited by law but it is an offence to share oneâ€™s Christian faith with a Muslim and Christians have been prosecuted and imprisoned under this law. Christians face many difficulties from government officials in registering churches and consequently most meet in house churches, which are officially illegal.
Published on Jul 4, 2014
The Church in Chains Global Guide lists 60 countries where Christians face persecution because of their faith. The Global Guide divides the...