The life of evangelical churches and their spiritual leaders has been portrayed in some recent films and series. Can they help us start conversations?
It is the first time in Morocco that a house is marked with the symbol of Iraq's persecuted Christians. “We are not discouraged and we pray for God's protection”, the Moroccan Christian Youtuber said.
On the morning of October 9, Rachid Souss discovered that someone had painted the Arabic letter Nun on the front of his house in Agadir.
That sign publicly pointed him out as a Christian. “At that time, the Lord spoke to me with words found in John 16: 'You will have tribulations, but you will overcome, and your heart will be full of my presence.' I had no fear, but I felt honored", Rachid told Spanish news website Protestante Digital from his new home.
“We had to move. The pressure of the neighbors was difficult, they asked us to leave the neighborhood and that we did, mainly because it was not safe to meet as a church there anymore”. Now he has installed security cameras to protect his family and church.
This Christian leader, who is married, has five children and preaches the gospel on the radio and on YouTube, wrote on his Facebook account: “They found Rachid!”.
Rachid posted photos of the facade of the house, and he described the meaning of the letter Nun, which became the symbol of persecuted Christians in Iraq and the world, after it was used as a death threat to mark the houses of the followers of Jesus in the province of Nineveh.
But Rachid sees it differently: “This brings great honor and dignity to them and us because it is a magnificent description that incorporates the principles of the Prince of Peace, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”.
“It is a sign of love and hope for the world to know who are the Christians, the followers of Jesus of Nazareth. We start with the letter Nun and end with the letter Nun. As Jesus said: I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end”, he added.
Question. Before this happened, had you received any kind of threat because you are Christian?
Answer. Yes, we have had problems with the teachers of my children and also with the neighbors. I have received many messages on the phone and on social media, but we are not discouraged and we pray a lot for God's protection.
Q. Have you reported the incident to the authorities?
A. No, I have never turned to the police for these things.
Q. What does this action mean in the context of the demand for religious freedom in Morocco?
A. We, Christians, still claim our rights. In the last three years we have carried out several initiatives, such as writing letters to the authorities, presenting requests with specific demands, but we have not received an answer yet.
However, we can say that we do not have security problems with the authorities but with civil society. There are no arrests or investigations, but our neighbors reject us and refuse to live with us.
Q. You preach the gospel on the radio and in videos. Do people recognize you on the street?
A. I share the Word of God on radio and YouTube and many times people recognize me, they ask me questions in the street or in a taxi (which in Morocco are shared), they question me for having left Islam, but the Lord gives me wisdom and grace to respond with the Bible.
Q. How did you convert to Christ?
A. I grew up in a Muslim family, between a mystic Islam (Sufi) and a radical Islam, but I always had a critical stance. I did not know about Christianity, except that they were infidels and I did not like them. I thought they were interested in the rich and despised the poor.
When I was around 14, I talked with a Christian radio station transmitting from Montecarlo, with the sole intention of making fun of them. But listening to the dialectal Arabic of Morocco touched me and I understood that Christianity is a religion of peace and love.
I took interest in the gospel and then met missionaries in Morocco. I thank the Lord for saving me from the darkness and giving me the strength to follow him.
Q. Have you had problems in your workplace because you were a Christian?
A. I really encountered many obstacles in my work, I was fired more than once. It is difficult, especially since I am a head of the family. I live according to God's will and I put my life and actions in his hands. Thank God, I always have the opportunity to share my faith with those who are interested.
Q. As a Moroccan and as a Christian, what do you want for the future of your country?
A. I love Morocco and my King Mohamed VI. My wish is that Morocco will be a lay country where people live in peace and love, and reject racism and discrimination.