By Jamal Saidi
By Jamal Saidi
Morocco World News
Meknes, February 10, 2013
Islam and Judaism are two recognized religions in Morocco. Muslims constitute the absolute majority of the population. Jews are numbered in few thousands. But there are other Moroccans who were born of Muslim parents and chose to leave Islam. A considerable number of them are converted to Christianity.
According to the daily Al Massae, Christianity has become the second religion in the country. In a weekly issue devoted to the unrecognized religious minorities in Morocco, the daily shed light on the road some converts took before they left Islam. The following highlights the main points raised during the interviews in regards to Moroccan Christians.
Mehdi, 39 years old: I was converted to Christianity in 1990. I grew up in a conservative Amazigh family. I have always questioned Islam regardless of the fact that I was majoring in Islamic studies. During a period of four years, I had been listening to Christian programs on Radio and television. I had also met Christian associations. I later traveled to Lebanon to study Christianity. When I came from abroad, I met some Moroccan Christians. I take the bible with me in front of everybody. My family could ultimately accept the fact that I am a Christian.
Amine, 26 years: My father used to wake me early in the morning while I was at the age of six. I was tired of getting up early and I ended up rejecting whatever is related to religion. During my high school years, I found a bible in the office of my uncle. I liked a verse in the scripture that talked about love and forgiveness. I, therefore, started to take lessons on Christianity through the internet and correspondence. Later, I met some Moroccan Christians by means of a website.
Rachid: I grew in a conservative family in Dokkala, 90 kilometers away from Casablanca. My father is an Imam, and he learned the Quran by heart. I majored in comparative religious studies abroad. I am married to a Moroccan Christian woman and I have three children. My story with Christianity started when I was at Junior high school while listening to an international program on Radio. I began writing to the program in the hope to defend Islam through some Quranic verses that I memorized with the help of my father. The correspondence lasted four years during which I studied several books and readings related to Islamic and Christian doctrines. I also read about famous converted Muslims. I then decided to convert to Christianity.
Rachid is called “brother Rachid” and is known for his programs broadcasted on the Arab Christian channel Alhayat. He has recently posted videos on youtube translating the Quran into Moroccan Arabic dialect. His initiative was viewed by many Moroccan Muslims as provocative.
Rachid cited to the daily the following demands that Moroccan Christians are still asking for:
1.To change one’s religion and the right for free practice of Christian religious customs.
2. To own the translated version of the bible in Moroccan Arabic or Arabic language, without fear of being arrested.
3. To give Christian names to their children.
4. To teach their children Christianity in school instead of Islam.
5. The right of Moroccan Christian women to marry a foreign Christian man, without having to prove his affiliation to the Islamic religion.
Freedom of belief is still regarded a controversial issue in Morocco. During the last constitutional reforms, the PJD, a moderate Islamic party, and the Independence party rejected the adoption of an article on freedom of belief on the ground that it would be a threat to Moroccan identity. The two parties are currently leading the government following the last elections held on November 2011.