Morocco – Aaron & Jillian; Matt & Julianna

Population: 32,777,808

Economy: Tourism, agriculture, textiles and phosphate mining are important foreign exchange earners. Morocco and Western Sahara have 70% of the world’s phosphate reserves. There’s a great gap between wealthy few and large numbers of poor, but a growing middle class. Unemployment is officially around 11%, but in reality is much higher, especially for young people. Millions of Moroccans seek work elsewhere – especially Europe – and send remittance home. This foreign income contributes more to the Moroccan economy than any internal industry apart from tourism.

Religion: Sunni Islam is the state religion; existence of Christians and Jews is tolerated, but the existence of and indigenous Moroccan Church is not accepted by the government. The opposing influences of prosperous, hi-tech Middle Eastern Islam and hard-line radical Islam both exert considerable pressure. It is legal both to talk about Christ and to invite friends home for discussion, but authorities carefully monitor all know Christian activity. In 2010, a large number of expatriate Christians were deported and institutions with a Christian ethos closed. Local Christians are harassed and intimidated by police informers; some Christians have been imprisoned, accused of proselytizing. The media stir up public prejudice against the gospel.