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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Update from Morocco

This is really quite interesting and encouraging:

Local Moroccans, in the villages and towns surrounding the Children's Haven Orphanage, flocked to the Mosque on Friday, March 12, 2010, and prayed for the protection and safety of the American aid workers and orphans who live at and run this local orphanage. The Moroccans prayed on the word of The Prophet who said, “I and the person who looks after an orphan and provides for him, will be in Paradise like this,” putting his index and middle fingers together. (Saheeh Al Bukhari ::Book 8 :: Volume 73 :: Hadith 34 ) The Children's Haven has, for over fifty years, provided essential care services to the residents of neighboring towns and thus has been and is an integral part of the local community.

Due to the Haven's great value to the locals, they fear its loss to their community and fear the void that would follow. For decades the American aid workers at the Haven have given free daily medicine to the community; have participated in local births, weddings, circumcisions and burials; have helped the sick and poor receive medical care from local hospitals; and have provided needed transportation for emergencies and everyday life. For these reasons, local citizens joined together to pray for the ongoing protection and welfare of The Children's Haven.

The Children's Haven, which is run by American Christian aid workers, is under threat, due to the Moroccan government's recent deportations of foreign Christians, for the purpose of enforcing "non-proselytizing" laws. The most recent and alarming example to Moroccan locals of Christian deportations, was the sudden expulsion of all foreign Christian aid workers (21 adults) on Monday, March 8, 2010, from another nearby orphanage, The Village of Hope. This left 33 orphans, some with medical needs, without care. The current government investigations of the American aid workers at The Haven, and the deportations of the European and American aid workers from The Village of Hope, appear to be the result of a radical shift by the Moroccan government away from its long-standing tolerance of Christianity. Both orphanages, since the 1950's, have, until the present, operated safely and comfortably with the government's knowledge and consent. In particular, both orphanages have always complied with government policies and completed all required paperwork. But both organizations have been caught in a seeming anti-Christian dragnet that started sweeping the country a year ago this March.

Because the Moroccan government insists its investigations and expulsions of Christians are based in law enforcement and not anti-Christian policies, the question of "due process" has arisen. The expelled Christians, from the Village of Hope, for example, were not allowed to defend themselves properly to the authorities. As U.S. Ambassador Samuel Kaplan recently stated, "Although we expect all American citizens to respect Moroccan law, we hope to see significant improvements in the application of due process in this sort of case." The European response, particularly by the Dutch, has been much more critical and forceful. Political parties in Holland "denounced the attitude of the Moroccan authorities." As well, Morocco's standing with the European Union might come under examination.

Regardless of how the Moroccan government justifies its actions and deportations of Christians, the damage by these policies to innocent Moroccans, including orphan children and local citizens, is undeniable. The cost to the Moroccan government is still unknown, but currently unfolding. At the least, Morocco's long-standing reputation for religious tolerance is crumbling. The Moroccan government, to those watching worldwide, appears to be reversing itself and moving backwards toward radicalism. Consequently, its impossible not to admire and respect the Moroccan locals who have shown, and remain prepared to show, their unified support for the Christian aid workers, such as the Americans running The Children's Haven, in their communities.

Salim Sefiane

1 comment:

  1. I have been praying for the Children's Haven for over 30 years. So this article is very encouraging. The love and committment the children there is wonderful. I was a university intern there in the summer of '78. Thank you for posting.