Dozens of foreigners, including a large number of Americans, have been deported for proselytism. Adoptive parents working in an orphanage have been torn away from their crying children with only a few hours' notice. And in the wake of these expulsions, Moroccans have been encouraged in the media to suspect all foreigners as evangelists and pedophiles. At least one Christian institution has been attacked: the cross outside of a Franciscan language school in the old city of Meknes has been knocked down and beaten into small pieces.
In this Sunni Muslim nation proselytism is illegal. Evangelical Christians defied this Moroccan law in an attempt to follow the Great Commission of Matthew 28. In their missionary activities, they deliberately chose to follow the law of God over the law of man, knowing full well what consequences would follow. Although Western governments, with their ideals of freedom of expression and freedom of conscience, might object to the expulsions, they were clearly merited under current Moroccan law.
Other expulsions were not so clear cut. An Egyptian priest was also expelled. He, like all Catholics in Morocco, refrained from proselytism in order to assure the continued existence of their mercy ministries to Morocco's poor. As his case has been surrounded with lies and secrecy, it is impossible the exact reason for his detainment and deportation, but a possible reason might be that his Arab Christian identity was perceived as threatening.
The closure of the orphanage was more disturbing still. The Village of Hope had existed in some form since 1957. Located in Ain Leuh, a Moroccan city well-known for prostitution, it was re-incorporated in 1999. Christian families from around the globe came to live, taking in unwanted children and providing them with a loving home and medical care. Volunteers were made to sign statements that they would not proselytize, and despite the orphanage's Christian nature the families sent the Moroccan children for the legally required Islamic education.
Despite a decade of open existence and community cooperation, the orphanage families were treated little differently from the secret evangelical missionaries during the recent crackdown...