Christian aid worker purge? Morocco orders dozens in five cities to be deported

Moroccan authorities have ordered dozens of foreign Christian aid workers deported in at least five major cities this week, calling into question an unspoken but long-standing truce between missionaries and their Muslim hosts.

“This is a change in policy from the top of the government,” says Jack Wald, who has spent 10 years as pastor of Rabat International Church, a protestant congregation here in the capital. “It’s like going to sleep, waking up, and all of the sudden you’re in a different country.”

The thorny issue is the proselytizing of Muslims, which is forbidden by law.

March 8 is not a day that Chris Broadbent will soon forget. The preceding weekend, gendarmes entered the Village of Hope, a Christian-run orphanage in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains where Broadbent, a New Zealand native, worked as a human resources manager, and began questioning children and staff. At first, he and the other foreign workers were assured that the interrogation was routine. But as it dragged on, the questions turned to subjects like ‘How do you pray?’ and the police began searching homes on the compound for children’s Bibles. On Monday morning, after being held in a separate room from the orphanage’s 33 children, Broadbent and his 15 colleagues were summarily deported from Morocco, accused of illegally proselytizing for their faith.

“Most of the couples were there as foster parents and had raised these children since infancy,” Broadbent says. “When they were told that their parents had to leave, it was chaos — the kids were running after any adult they could find, and just holding on. It was the most devastating thing I’ve ever seen.”,8599,1973739,00.html?xid=rss-topstories&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+time%2Ftopstories+%28TIME%3A+Top+Stories%29&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher

Even moderate nations like Morocco are succumbing to political Islam. Moderate strains of Islam are becoming more and more marginalized.

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