Displaying items by tag: Morocco
A North African country of 37 million people, Morocco has enjoyed a degree of stability and peace. The King takes the lead in politics and religious affairs. He is attempting to spread wealth beyond the main cities, and to open a limited space for political discussion. Positive change is slowed by corruption, political repression, and unemployment. Young people and rural dwellers show their frustration in sporadic protests. Morocco is 99% Muslim. Christians number a couple of thousand, each one born into a hostile environment. Few Moroccans have heard the gospel; many have come across slanderous reports about the Church. Christian workers have been expelled. It is hard to gather Christians together for fellowship and discipleship. Pray for the King, and for fresh hope for the people of Morocco. Praise God for Morocco’s Church, for expatriate believers, and for the internet and satellite TV which are lifelines for Moroccan Christians and seekers.
Five human rights organisations want Spain and Morocco to investigate the deaths of 18 migrants, the injuries of 76 others, and the actions of 140 Moroccan security officers when migrants attempted to scale a fence separating the two countries. Spain's Commission for Refugees decried ‘indiscriminate use of violence to manage migration and control borders had prevented people who were eligible for international protection from reaching Spanish soil’. Meanwhile, UNHCR is asking both Africa and Europe to enhance legal frameworks and operational capacities at land and sea borders and urban centres plus youth programming and local community-based development as alternatives to dangerous journeys. In America the bodies of 51 dead migrants were discovered inside a lorry in San Antonio. An official said they found ‘stacks of bodies and no water in the truck. Sixteen survivors are in hospital with heat stroke and exhaustion, including four minors. No children were among the dead. See
Thousands of migrants have swum into the Spanish enclave of Ceuta after border controls were relaxed in Morocco. In 24 hours, 6,000 people had paddled in inflatable boats, swum with rubber rings, or walked through the shallows at low tide. 1,500 were thought to be teenagers. Spanish troops were deployed to Ceuta to patrol the border. Moroccan migrants have crossed land and sea borders to Spain by the hundreds for weeks. Adults were transferred to a football stadium and returned to Morocco, minors went to an industrial building. Spanish / Moroccan tensions are high after the leader of the Polisario Front, Brahim Ghali, was admitted to a Spanish hospital without informing Morocco. The Polisario Front fights for the independence of Western Sahara and contests all Morocco's claims. Many believe lax Moroccan border control, facilitating easy access to Spain, was in retaliation for Spain treating Brahim Ghali.
From Morocco to Iraq there are various forms of lockdowns, strains on hospitals, food shortages, even martial law. These strains put more pressure on already-stressed communities. The potential spread of the disease among refugees and displaced populations could be catastrophic. Many are persecuted believers with no financial safety net and poor medical infrastructures. For war-torn Syria, the pandemic has taken the situation from bad to worse. ‘We are free from the armed militia in Aleppo, but prices here are soaring’, said Kareem, ‘We have all signed up to receive bread from the government, and the needs are overwhelming.’ In Turkey, many are Iranian converts from Islam who fled Iran after being imprisoned or tortured for their faith. Turkish locals now blame them for the spread of coronavirus. The government has cut off all assistance, and many Christians have lost their employment. The Bible advises to go to the Lord with trials and problems; this virus is a serious problem.
Activists in a Casablanca prison keep having their court cases postponed. They are affiliated to Hirak, a protest movement that emerged in October 2016 after a fish vendor was crushed to death by a truck as he tried to retrieve fish that authorities had confiscated. See Since that article, however, the government has acknowledged Hirak’s grievances - better infrastructure, jobs and health-care - but hundreds of protesters remain behind bars, 54 of them accused of threatening the internal security of the state. Authorities are also trying seven reporters who covered the protests and commented on religion and religious freedom. The official response to Hirak's demands was to propose building roads, hospitals, and a cancer treatment centre (Moroccans have a high incidence of the disease). When the national human rights council reported human rights violations and torture, the justice minister announced an investigation, but no follow-up has been made public.
With an average age of 29, Morocco has a young population. But, as in neighbouring North African countries, their horizons are limited. Some 22% of young men and 38% of young women are unemployed (as at June 2013). Most of those who do work are engaged in the informal sector without the security of a contract, guaranteed work or income. In an environment which can fuel frustration and depression, a new series of SAT-7 podcasts has a clear message that God accepts us, offers change and sets us free. ‘WE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD’ targets Moroccan and North African youth with messages of hope and wisdom, using a mixture of proverbs, comedy, rhymes and biblical values. Its presenter-producer, Hamid, says the short five-minute episodes aim to ‘change young people’s view of themselves and uncover deceptive views and ideas absorbed from culture and folk religion in a humorous way’.