Morocco, situated between Algeria and Mauritania, was the first Islamic state in Africa to be independent of the Arab Empire, or the Caliphate. It received large numbers of Jewish and Muslim migrants during the Reconquista of the 1400s, when Christian kingdoms in Europe reclaimed large areas of the Iberian Peninsula from occupying Muslim empires.
In 1912, Morocco was split into two protectorates, one Spanish and the other French, and remained a French colony until 1956, when it gained independence as the Kingdom of Morocco.
Morocco has long claimed the territory of Western Sahara as her own, over which she fought against neighboring country, Mauritania, in 1976. Although a UN-enforced referendum on self-determination for the territory has been planned, the future of Western Sahara and its relations with Morocco remain both unresolved and uncertain.
Arabic is the official language, but French and Berber dialects are also widely spoken.
Morocco is a parliamentary constitutional monarchy, where the King, Mohammed VI, is granted executive powers and is both the political leader, as well as ‘Defender of the Faith’. The monarch is responsible for appointing a Prime Minister following elections, who, in turn, counsels him on appointing members of the cabinet.
Morocco was one of the first countries to sign the Arab Human Rights Charter in 2004, following its revision, but remains under heavy international criticism for alleged human rights abuses.
Sources of income for Morocco include the mining of various minerals, such as phosphates, as well as tourism. Unemployment is estimated at 9%. Morocco faces problems with severe land degradation, as a result of extensive farming and overgrazing, as well as pollution of coastal waters.
Of a population of roughly 31 million, it is estimated that approximately 15% of the population continue to live in poverty.3 With a 0.1% estimate of affected peoples, Morocco has one of Africa’s lowest rates of HIV Aids. However, unemployment and illiteracy remain long-term challenges, with literacy at only 54% on average.
Morocco also continues to battle widespread corruption in government, as well as the illicit drug trade of hashish, of which it is the world’s second largest producer.
Approximately 13.2 million Moroccans have access to the internet. In the World Press Freedom Index of 2014, Morocco was placed 136th of the 180 countries assessed.
Surveys conducted in 2008 show that approximately 7.6% of Morocco’s population have watched or watch SAT-7.
The constitution allows for the freedom to practice one’s religion, and encourages religious tolerance. The distribution of non-Islamic texts and proselytising, however, is prohibited.
99% of the current population is Sunni Muslim, with the remainder consisting of a significant Jewish minority, as well as Christians, although the latter are, for the most part, expatriates, and make up an estimated 25,000 altogether.
Although considered one of the most moderate Arab countries when it comes to religion, Morocco made the headlines in March 2010 when it deported forty foreigners, claiming to have revoked their visas on the grounds that they were proselyting publicly. A further 23 expatriate Christians were deported in May 2010. Of the 63 deported, a significant portion were responsible for running and administering Village of Hope, a home for abandoned or orphaned children in Ain Leuh. In response to the international outcry at the prospect of leaving some 30 children homeless and lacking care, the Moroccan government defended their actions, claiming that the missionaries had taken advantage of the poverty of less fortunate Moroccans, targeting their children to increase the number of Christian converts in the country.
Recent concerns for the Christian minority in Morocco include alleged reports of extremists aiding the government to pursue Christians in the country by exposing them via information obtained from social networking sites, such as Twitter and Facebook. Pictures of Christians and their families have been posted on anonymous profiles, with details of their home address and their activities and roles in Church. These anonymous profiles slandering Christians and accusing them of proselytizing have been linked to the expulsion of many of the missionaries from Village of Hope, as mentioned above.
Pray that Morocco remains a peaceful country for all its citizens.
Pray that the government continues its fight against the illicit drug trade.
Ask God to console and bring peace to the victims of violence and injustice.
Pray for the continued tolerance of the Church in Morocco, both for foreigners as well as Moroccans.
Pray for a peaceful and lasting solution to the future of Western Sahara and its implications for the nation of Morocco.
Praise God that SAT-7 is able to broadcast Christian programs in the Moroccan dialect into the country.
 Middle East Concern
 CIA World Factbook
 CIA World Factbook
 Reporters Without Borders
 Missions Mandate