OUJDA, Morocco (AFP) – Morocco has expelled five foreign Christian missionaries for holding “undeclared meetings” in the mainly Muslim north African kingdom, police said on Tuesday.

Police at Oujda in northeast Morocco also accused the five of “evangelist proselytism,” or missionary preaching, according to a source contacted by AFP. The five were expelled on Saturday.

Two of the foreigners came from South Africa, two from Switzerland and one from Guatemala. They were part of a group that also included 12 Moroccans, who were freed the same day.

The whole group was arrested on Friday during a raid on a house in Saidia, a seaside resort 70 kilometres (45 miles) north of Oudja.

Three of the foreigners — the two Swiss and the Guatemalan — were “sent out through the frontier post with Melilla,” one of the Spanish enclaves on Morocco’s coast.

The two South Africans, who already had airline tickets, were taken to Casablanca airport, the police source told AFP.

Last March, four Spaniards and a German woman were similarly expelled after they held a missionary meeting with Moroccan nationals, according to a statement from the ministry of the interior.

7 Comments
  • Posted December 9, 2009 2:50 pm
    by wagardner

    http://riadzany.blogspot.com/2008/12/untrained-christian-missionaries-target.html

    TUESDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2008

    “Untrained” Christian Missionaries target Morocco

    The website IslamOnline – has an interest ing report in which it claims a new breed of Christian missionaries is turning to the North African Muslim kingdom of Morocco in search for new ground to spread their faith.
    “The goal is to give a clear presentation of the Gospel,” claims Tyler, a member of an Ohio Baptist church who set up Project North Africa in Morocco. Tyler knows that what he is doing is unlawful and says his work could be disrupted if he gave his surname. He moved into to Morocco some three years ago.

    “If you had the cure to the AIDS virus, would you not want to take it to the people? Three years ago I began praying about parts of the world that had not taken up the Gospel.”

    Since then, he has been preparing the ground for colleagues, mostly from South America, who would learn Morocco’s dialect and seek to set up small businesses fronts to fund the group’s evangelical work.

    Christian proselytizers like Tyler say their clandestine status allows them to set up businesses or language schools at which converts are sometimes employed.

    Like across the Arab Maghreb, missionary groups in Morocco currently range from broad alliances such as Partners International and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship to small Baptist and Pentecostal churches based in the Americas and Europe.

    There are some 800 active European proselytizers in Morocco who claim that some 1,000 people converted to Christianity in 2004.

    New Breed

    Experts affirm that missionaries in Morocco reflect the rise of a new “untrained” breed of Christian proselytizers.

    “With the internet and the increase in travel, you have a democratization of missions where anyone who feels like it can go anywhere they want,” Dana Robert, world Christianity professor at Boston University, told Reuters.

    This new generation, Robert says, lacks the training and knowledge of old ones.

    “The new breed of missionary doesn’t have the same historical training as the older established denominations, nor necessarily the cultural training,” she stressed.

    “So there’s a bull-in-a-china-shop effect.”

    Western and Arab reports have repeatedly spoken about increasing proselytizing activities in the Arab Maghreb.

    Proselytizers traditionally eye troubled and disaster-stricken Muslim areas like Iraq, Sudan’s Darfur and Indonesia’s Ache.

    The vigorous proselytizing in developing countries has led to kidnapping of missionaries as well as anti-conversion laws in some countries.

    Mohammed Yssef, general secretary of the Superior Council of Ulemas, Morocco’s highest religious authority, complains that missionaries typically target the poor and the sick.

    “When people respond positively (to missionaries), it is when they don’t have their full freedom,” he recently told Reuters. “Once they recover their normal health and situation, they recover their ability to decide.”

    Yssef noted that missionaries also try to win over communities like North Africa’s Berbers by telling them Islam was imposed on them by Arabs.

    “These are unethical methods.”

  • Posted December 9, 2009 2:52 pm
    by wagardner

    http://riadzany.blogspot.com/2008/09/teaching-english-or-evangelising-in.html

    Teaching English or evangelising in Morocco?

    Guest Opinion from Mourad D, in Fez, Morocco.

    Evangelising via English

    Morocco has had a long history of religious tolerance and is unique in the Islamic world for its protection of religious minorities including its Jewish citizens. However there are laws in place protecting Moroccans from Christian evangelists hell-bent on converting (saving?) Muslims.

    Over the years evangelists have tried all kinds of ways of getting into Morocco to “spread the word”. Some methods have been plain stupid (smuggling bibles in the door panels of cars) and others, like setting up business fronts, quite sophisticated. In Fez, we have even seen houses purchased in order to set up prayer meetings.

    Recently I came across the story of Jennifer Beck who spent five weeks in Morocco this summer traveling and teaching high school English. Now had this been all she was doing it would have been fine. And if she talked to people about her faith in her own time it would not be a problem. However, Jennifer returned home and talked to the University website; Whitworthian and what emerges is a disturbing picture

    According to Ms Beck, she chose a Christian organisation called TeachOverseas as her program because it offered her an opportunity to teach in Africa during the summer months.

    “I wanted to go through a Christian organization, but not one that was all about door-to-door evangelism. I liked that they chose to go out and represent Christ through teaching,” Beck said. “The organization works with countries that are ‘unreached’ groups where Christianity isn’t a part of the culture.”

    Before leaving for Morocco, Beck met up with her three other female teaching teammates in Pasadena, Calif. There, they were taught cultural norms, taught how to teach English and make lesson plans. Even over a week of training, Beck said she was unsure of what Moroccan culture would be like.

    One thing that continually surprised and confused Beck was how to interact with people of the opposite sex in Morocco’s predominantly male-dominated culture. The differences were compounded with the problem of combating the widely held belief in Morocco that U.S. women were promiscuous.

    “In public, if a man says anything to a woman, a woman cannot reply or else it is seen as a sexual advance and for us, it was really odd to adjust to this,” Beck said. “We would be followed or stared at for very long periods of time.”As a resident of the Open Door theme house, Beck is no stranger to the concept of hospitality.

    The members of the Open Door theme house make it their goal to keep their home available as a refuge for Whitworth students. At any time, students are encouraged to come over for a place to relax, do homework and fellowship together.

    The theme house has a prayer room, where anyone can come and pray in a quiet location out of residence halls. Additionally, three nights a week, students can sign up to come over for free home-cooked meals.

    The Moroccan locals also used food as a means of ministering to Beck and her fellow U.S. teachers. The school maids often invited the teaching team to their homes to learn how to prepare Moroccan food.

    So what is this English Language teaching organisation?

    According to their website:

    TeachOverseas is a unique interdenominational ministry that offers you the wisdom of experience with a cutting edge sensibility. Since 1981, we have transformed lives in a dozen different countries through hundreds of summer and year-long programs teaching conversational English.

    Each year, we train and send hundreds of Christians to teach English, Business and other subjects in: China, Czech Republic, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Russia, Slovakia, Ukraine and Vietnam. To date, over 100,000 students around the world have benefited from our teachers’ commitment to excellent teaching and Christ-like service. We are an openly Christian organization and have developed an excellent reputation with national governments and local school administrations.

    Teaching English is perhaps the best overseas opportunity for Christians. It deals with people face to face; leads to discussions that point to truth; and is needed everywhere in the world.
    — Ralph Winter

    Teaching English as community service is a very worthwhile vocation, but using teaching of English as a way of evangelising is at best dubious, at worst subversive. It is hard to find anyone in the Moroccan Government who is aware of this program’s Christian purpose. Christians are very welcome in Morocco – Evangelists not.

  • Posted December 9, 2009 2:53 pm
    by wagardner

    http://riadzany.blogspot.com/2008/12/untrained-christian-missionaries-target.html

    “Untrained” Christian Missionaries target Morocco

    The website IslamOnline – has an interest ing report in which it claims a new breed of Christian missionaries is turning to the North African Muslim kingdom of Morocco in search for new ground to spread their faith.
    “The goal is to give a clear presentation of the Gospel,” claims Tyler, a member of an Ohio Baptist church who set up Project North Africa in Morocco. Tyler knows that what he is doing is unlawful and says his work could be disrupted if he gave his surname. He moved into to Morocco some three years ago.

    “If you had the cure to the AIDS virus, would you not want to take it to the people? Three years ago I began praying about parts of the world that had not taken up the Gospel.”

    Since then, he has been preparing the ground for colleagues, mostly from South America, who would learn Morocco’s dialect and seek to set up small businesses fronts to fund the group’s evangelical work.

    Christian proselytizers like Tyler say their clandestine status allows them to set up businesses or language schools at which converts are sometimes employed.

    Like across the Arab Maghreb, missionary groups in Morocco currently range from broad alliances such as Partners International and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship to small Baptist and Pentecostal churches based in the Americas and Europe.

    There are some 800 active European proselytizers in Morocco who claim that some 1,000 people converted to Christianity in 2004.

    New Breed

    Experts affirm that missionaries in Morocco reflect the rise of a new “untrained” breed of Christian proselytizers.

    “With the internet and the increase in travel, you have a democratization of missions where anyone who feels like it can go anywhere they want,” Dana Robert, world Christianity professor at Boston University, told Reuters.

    This new generation, Robert says, lacks the training and knowledge of old ones.

    “The new breed of missionary doesn’t have the same historical training as the older established denominations, nor necessarily the cultural training,” she stressed.

    “So there’s a bull-in-a-china-shop effect.”

    Western and Arab reports have repeatedly spoken about increasing proselytizing activities in the Arab Maghreb.

    Proselytizers traditionally eye troubled and disaster-stricken Muslim areas like Iraq, Sudan’s Darfur and Indonesia’s Ache.

    The vigorous proselytizing in developing countries has led to kidnapping of missionaries as well as anti-conversion laws in some countries.

    Mohammed Yssef, general secretary of the Superior Council of Ulemas, Morocco’s highest religious authority, complains that missionaries typically target the poor and the sick.

    “When people respond positively (to missionaries), it is when they don’t have their full freedom,” he recently told Reuters. “Once they recover their normal health and situation, they recover their ability to decide.”

    Yssef noted that missionaries also try to win over communities like North Africa’s Berbers by telling them Islam was imposed on them by Arabs.

    “These are unethical methods.”

  • Posted December 9, 2009 2:57 pm
    by wagardner

    We must pray for our missionaries. Obviously the Devil doesn’t want them to take the gospel to these people. What we have to ask for is boldness. They could lose all they have. They could be kicked out of the country.

    We are commanded to take the gospel.

    This is also one of the main reasons that we must get the Television programs and radio programs out so that the gospel can be heard in the country. There are people that want to hear.

    I am asking God to give us more and more workers to take the gospel to this needy area.

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