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Evangelical Leaders Meet with Moroccan Ambassador

Evangelical Representatives Meet with Moroccan Ambassador on Christian Deportations

Contact: Dr. Samuel Goebel, Evangelical Church Alliance, 815-937-0720

WASHINGTON, April 6 /Christian Newswire/ -- In an urgent meeting regarding the deportation of foreign Christians from the Kingdom of Morocco, representatives of the Evangelical Church Alliance International, along with others, met with the Ambassador of Morocco at the Embassy of Morocco in Washington, DC.

Last Wednesday, March 31, Evangelical Church Alliance President/CEO, the Rev. Dr. Samuel Goebel, and the chairman of its Committee on Church and Society, the Rev. Rob Schenck, led a delegation of Evangelical leaders who were hosted at the Embassy of Morocco by His Excellency Aziz Mekouar, ambassador of H.M. Mohammed VI, to discuss the recent deportation of Christian foreigners and the subsequent government closure of homes that care for abandoned children in that country.

After a frank discussion the Ambassador gave his assurance that the recent deportations did not signal a change in the Kingdom's policy of religious tolerance. He pointed out that Morocco enjoys the presence of large Jewish and Christian populations that freely worship in their respective synagogues and churches without the oversight or interference of the government.

He explained that the Kingdom of Morocco does have strict laws prohibiting all religions, from proselytizing, including Islam, and stated that those recently deported had crossed the line and violated the law. He assured the group Moroccan law allows free interaction between all peoples.

During more than two hours of discussion, the delegation suggested the government of Morocco consider adopting a clear and detailed definition of "proselytizing" so that foreign Christians will know what legal limits are imposed on them in sharing their faith.

The delegation emphasized how much the American evangelical community appreciates the bond established with Morocco during the last 7 years and our sincere desire to strengthen that relationship in full recognition of Moroccan laws traditions and sensitivities.

It was the consensus of the Evangelical leaders present that the Moroccan government understands our concerns and also wishes to strengthen the bonds of friendship that exist between us and to seek new and productive ways to keep the established bridges intact. The delegation expressed gratitude for the extraordinary attention Moroccan officials have given to their concerns.

"We look forward to continued friendship, cooperation and helpful dialogue with representatives of Morocco," said Rev. Rob Schenck, who convened the delegation of American Evangelicals. "Morocco has long been a leader in religious tolerance in the Islamic world and remains very open to and accommodating of Christians. This recent event was an unfortunate circumstance."