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Morocco (Marrocos) - Video - Let's pray for Morocco children (Vamos orar pelas crianças marroquinas)

Let's us pray for Morocco children. The children in this video were just told by Moroccan authorities that they foster parents are being expelled from Morocco because they talked to them about Christianity.

Vamos orar pelas crianças marroquinas. As crianças nesse vídeo acabaram de ouvir das autoridades marroquinas que seus pais adotivos estão sendo expulsos do Marrocos porque falaram com eles sobre o Cristianismo.


Check the continuatuion of this story on: http://institutoagape.blogspot.com/2010/06/marocco-expelled-christians-seek-return.html.

For other videos about this case: http://www.youtube.com/institutoagapemissao?gl=BR&user=institutoagapemissao#p/c/C8D993369144D3EA.


Veja a continuidade desta história em: http://institutoagape.blogspot.com/2010/06/marocco-expelled-christians-seek-return.html.

Para outros vídeos sobre esse caso: http://www.youtube.com/institutoagapemissao?gl=BR&user=institutoagapemissao#p/c/C8D993369144D3EA.

MOROCCO - Expelled Christians seek return to Moroccan children

WASHINGTON – Eddie and Lynn Padilla made a commitment to take care of up to eight abandoned children in Morocco.

By: Lillian Kwon
Christian Post

The couple from Denver moved to the North African country in 2006 and took in their first Moroccan child two years later. They were raising four children – two of whom are biological – when they were charged with proselytising the native kids and kicked out of the country earlier this year.

"I want to be reunited with my kids," Eddie said of his two foster children as he spoke in a sombre voice.

The Padillas testified Thursday on Capitol Hill during the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission hearing, led by Congressman Frank R Wolf.

The recent deportation of some 100 foreign Christians from Morocco prompted Wolf and several other congressmen to look into the curious situation. They expressed outrage that religious freedom was being restricted in what has been one of the most liberal Islamic countries and questioned whether Morocco was taking a "radical departure" especially as an ally of the US.

Rep. Chris Smith acknowledged the two countries' long friendship but was appalled by the expulsions.

"Friends don't let friends commit human rights abuses," he said.

During the afternoon hearing, four Christians denied allegations of proselytism, which is illegal in Morocco, and maintained that they respected and upheld the country's laws.

Herman Boonstra, director of the Village of Hope where six couples – including the Padillas – served as foster parents to 33 orphaned or abandoned children, said he had even received a document from the government declaring that his organisation was in compliance with all laws and in good standing.

For 10 years, the Village of Hope operated with the full knowledge of Moroccan authorities. It was registered as an official Christian organisation and the government knew the workers were Christian. They did not try to convert the children but sought to integrate them into Moroccan society and help raise them to make a positive contribution to the country, Boonstra explained.

The organisation ran a school where the teachers used the "full Moroccan curriculum", teaching subjects such as Islamic history, the director said.

Boonstra and his wife were foster parents to eight Moroccan children when a large number of police officials arrived in March for what they called a "routine investigation".

In compliance with the laws, Boonstra said, "We had nothing to be afraid of."

But the investigation went on into the night and police entered the families' rooms without a search warrant. The families had Christian materials in their homes but those were for the parents' own "upbuilding" and not for conversion, the director explained. The police returned with cameras to film what they found at the Village of Hope. Later, on a rainy day, the Christian workers were given only a little over two hours to pack and say goodbye to their children.

Now denied re-entry to Morocco, they are appealing to the government to be reunited with their children.

Boonstra noted that they never hid their Christian faith because Morocco was a free country. But "it wasn't anymore," he said Thursday.

Religious freedom?

A Moroccan Christian who fled the country five years ago says Morocco was never what it portrayed itself to be.

"The fact is, religious freedom in Morocco simply does not exist," said Rachid, whose last name was not given for security purposes. "The West is presented with a facade that is now exposed."

When Rachid began meeting with other Christians in his home in 2003, the police began watching and interrogating the convert. His identity papers were seized and he soon fled. He still fears being caught.

The Moroccan government, he contended, "does not see the root problem to be missionaries or Christian non-profits. The real issue to them is the rising number of local converts."

Local Christians, he said, are no longer meeting because they are fearful they may be imprisoned or face worse punishment.

Redefining proselytism

Michael Cloud, who was also expelled and is currently residing in Cairo, believes the country is redefining "proselytism." He said he has come across several news articles stating that proselytism is no longer limited to passing out tracts or teaching the Bible but it has extended to showing love. It's dangerous for Christians to show love to Muslims because it can change their hearts, Cloud recalled reading.

Cloud set up 12 centres in Morocco to assist children with Cerebral Palsy. As a Christian, he was monitored closely by the government (so much so that the police knew more about him than his mother did, he said). He had to leave for Cairo where his wife was being treated for breast cancer and when he tried to return to Morocco, he was refused entry and has not been able to go back since.

During the 14 years he was in Morocco, not one Moroccan authority said he did something wrong, Cloud said. Though he lived in accordance with the laws, he was treated like a criminal, he noted.

The Christians testifying on Thursday said they received no evidence or explanation from Moroccan authorities of their alleged proselytism activities.

However, the ambassador of the embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco, stated otherwise.

In a letter dated Thursday to the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, Aziz Mekouar contended that the repatriation measures against the Christians were not taken because of their faith but because they committed "criminal offenses, proven by an investigation conducted by the Crown Prosecution Office, following formal complaints by parents and close relatives of the children concerned".

"Given these circumstances, Moroccan authorities were obligated to fulfill their responsibilities by duly enforcing the pertinent laws," Mekouar added, while insisting that the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of worship was not breached.

Congressman Wolf and the deported Christians are still waiting on the evidence.

Meanwhile, the expelled parties have not received a formal document or an expulsion order, making it difficult for them to appeal. Their appeals have thus been either dismissed or continuously referred to other courts, leaving their case to float in "never never land", as Cloud put it.

Wolf has vowed not to "let this thing go" until it is resolved.

But a small group of US Christians has asked the congressman to exercise caution.

The National Clergy Council and the Committee on Church and Society of the Evangelical Church Alliance had urged Wolf not to hold the hearing, arguing that it could increase the risk of exposing other religious and humanitarian aid groups working in Morocco to interference by local government authorities.

The group traveled to Morocco in April and met with representatives of the Christian community, officials in the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, and the head of the Jewish community.

After the visit and discussions with Ambassador Mekouar in Washington DC, the group concluded that the recent expulsions were not an act of hostility toward those of Christian faith.

"Rather, it is our opinion that the deportations indicate a growing alarm among highly placed officials in Morocco that the activities of certain foreign Christians provoked complaints from local communities."

Additionally, the deportations were tied to "growing fears of an impending attack by extremists on both Moroccans and Americans as well as other citizens".

"The government of Morocco has a firm zero-tolerance for such an episode," the group stated. "They would rather bear the brunt of negative public relations tied to deportations, than to have a guest on their soil jailed or physically attacked, perhaps even killed."

The group went as far as to affirm that there is no "generalised religious persecution" in Morocco.

Wolf said he tried to work with both Moroccan and US officials over the last three months to resolve the situation. He even delayed setting a date for the hearing on several occasions to allow adequate time for a solution to be reached, he said.

But he said he has "come to the point that a congressional hearing looking into this situation is necessary".

They have my heart

Today, the Padillas remain anxious about their two foster children in Morocco. They hardly receive any information about how they're doing. The last time they were updated was six weeks ago when they were told the boys were healthy.

All they're asking for is to be with the kids again.

"They have my heart," said Eddie. "I love them."

Source: Christian Today Australia

KYRGYSTAN - Christian ministries urging for more aid for victims of violence

Violence in Kyrgyzstan that left hundreds dead has also left the southern part of the country “out of control,” according to a Christian leader in the area.

By: Aaron J Leichman
Christian Post
Thursday, 17 June 2010, 9:44 (EST)

The need for the international intervention is imperative, added Tatiana Kotova of the ACT Alliance Central Asia Forum.

"It is absolutely clear that Kyrgyzstan is not able to solve this problem without external help. This is what the international community needs to understand urgently," she reported.

Deadly rampages in the country's south have gripped the region since late Thursday, when mobs of ethnic Kyrgyz torched homes and businesses of ethnic Uzbeks. Many sections of Osh – a city of 250,000 – were burned to the ground and the rampages have since spread into surrounding towns and villages.

Since the violence broke out, up to 200,000 people within Kyrgyzstan have fled, U.N. refugee agency spokesman Andrej Mahecic said in Geneva.

Nearly 1,900, meanwhile, have been injured, according to Kyrgyzstan's Health Ministry.

ACT Alliance’s Kotova also reported that the official figures of the number dead failed to include people dying of injuries in hospitals, and that authorities acknowledged the numbers were inaccurate.

Kyrgyzstan's interim President Roza Otunbayeva said Tuesday the real death toll likely was "several times higher" than official count of 179 people killed.

"People are now hoping the Russians will come and are also meeting in front of the U.N. office to push for the introduction of U.N. peacekeepers," Kotova reported, after noting the widespread disappointment over the interim government's handling of the riots.

According to ACT Alliance, food, water and hygiene goods were in huge demand as people fled the cities, where "horrible deaths" of civilians were being reported.

The joint office of ACT members DanChurchAid and ICCO based in the capital Bishkek, are in regular contact with partner organizations in the southern regions, who are gathering an overview of the fast-changing situation and most urgent needs identified so far.

Habitat for Humanity's national office in Bishkek, meanwhile, is assessing the situation in the country as is World Vision, which has worked in nearby Uzbekistan since 2003.

“World Vision has a minimum staff in Uzbekistan tasked with liaising with the government, which could be expanded,” reported Suzanne Wavre, Humanitarian Emergency Affairs Director for the Middle East Eastern Europe region. “However, if World Vision determines that it will respond, it will most likely be through trustworthy partners.”

In the meantime, World Vision said it supports the United Nations’ call for humanitarian access to displaced populations in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan and a return to calm.

On Tuesday, clashes still continued in and around Osh. Though Interior Ministry troops patrolled Jalal-Abad, a major city about 45 miles from Osh, a city spokesperson said the region was still not safe.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay further reported Tuesday that the fighting appeared to be "orchestrated, targeted and well-planned." She urged authorities to act before it spread.

Source: Christian Today Australia

MARROCOS - Cristão condenado a 15 anos cumpre sentença na prisão

A agência de notícias International Christian Concern (ICC) foi informada de que o cristão Jamaa Ait Bakrim está preso por “proselitismo”, ato punível pela lei marroquina.

Jamaa Ait Bakrim está na Prisão Central, localizada em Kenitra, Marrocos. Eles está lá desde 2005, quando foi condenado a 15 anos de prisão por “proselitismo” e “destruilão de deuses de outras religiões”. “Essa segunda acusação é uma estratégia comum para se criar outra infração e aumentar a pena, desviando a atenção da acusação inicial”, afirma outro cristão.

A acusação de proselitismo vem do Artigo 220 do Código Penal do Marrocos, no qual se torna ilegal “o questionamento da fé de um muçulmano”. “Essa acusação é uma preocupação específica, porque é aberta a diversas aplicações, e é utilizada para oprimir integrantes de outras religiões”. Essa é a mesma acusação que causou a expulsão de diversos missionários marroquinos nos últimos três meses.

Em 1993, Jamaa voltou para seu vilarejo após uma viagem para Europa, em que se converteu ao cristianismo. Em 1994, ele passou sete meses em um Hospital psiquiátrico em Inezgane por evangelizar e pregar. Em 1996, ele foi condenado a um ano de prisão por usar um crucifixo em público. Em 2001, ele foi acusado novamente, e condenado a 15 anos de prisão.

Fonte: Missão Portas Abertas (22/6/2010 - 06h47).