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Evangelising via English
atlasmagic [ PM ]
16 September 2008 17:00
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Teaching English or evangelising in Morocco?

Guest Opinion from Mourad D, in Fez, Morocco.

Evangelising via English

Morocco has had a long history of religious tolerance and is unique in the Islamic world for its protection of religious minorities including its Jewish citizens. However there are laws in place protecting Moroccans from Christian evangelists hell-bent on converting (saving?) Muslims.

Over the years evangelists have tried all kinds of ways of getting into Morocco to "spread the word". Some methods have been plain stupid (smuggling bibles in the door panels of cars) and others, like setting up business fronts, quite sophisticated. In Fez, we have even seen houses purchased in order to set up prayer meetings.

Recently I came across the story of Jennifer Beck who spent five weeks in Morocco this summer traveling and teaching high school English. Now had this been all she was doing it would have been fine. And if she talked to people about her faith in her own time it would not be a problem. However, Jennifer returned home and talked to the University website; Whitworthian and what emerges is a disturbing picture

According to Ms Beck, she chose a Christian organisation called TeachOverseas as her program because it offered her an opportunity to teach in Africa during the summer months.

“I wanted to go through a Christian organization, but not one that was all about door-to-door evangelism. I liked that they chose to go out and represent Christ through teaching,” Beck said. “The organization works with countries that are ‘unreached’ groups where Christianity isn’t a part of the culture.”

Before leaving for Morocco, Beck met up with her three other female teaching teammates in Pasadena, Calif. There, they were taught cultural norms, taught how to teach English and make lesson plans. Even over a week of training, Beck said she was unsure of what Moroccan culture would be like.

One thing that continually surprised and confused Beck was how to interact with people of the opposite sex in Morocco’s predominantly male-dominated culture. The differences were compounded with the problem of combating the widely held belief in Morocco that U.S. women were promiscuous.

“In public, if a man says anything to a woman, a woman cannot reply or else it is seen as a sexual advance and for us, it was really odd to adjust to this,” Beck said. “We would be followed or stared at for very long periods of time.”As a resident of the Open Door theme house, Beck is no stranger to the concept of hospitality.

The members of the Open Door theme house make it their goal to keep their home available as a refuge for Whitworth students. At any time, students are encouraged to come over for a place to relax, do homework and fellowship together.

The theme house has a prayer room, where anyone can come and pray in a quiet location out of residence halls. Additionally, three nights a week, students can sign up to come over for free home-cooked meals.

The Moroccan locals also used food as a means of ministering to Beck and her fellow U.S. teachers. The school maids often invited the teaching team to their homes to learn how to prepare Moroccan food.

So what is this English Language teaching organisation?

According to their website:

TeachOverseas is a unique interdenominational ministry that offers you the wisdom of experience with a cutting edge sensibility. Since 1981, we have transformed lives in a dozen different countries through hundreds of summer and year-long programs teaching conversational English.

Each year, we train and send hundreds of Christians to teach English, Business and other subjects in: China, Czech Republic, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Russia, Slovakia, Ukraine and Vietnam. To date, over 100,000 students around the world have benefited from our teachers' commitment to excellent teaching and Christ-like service. We are an openly Christian organization and have developed an excellent reputation with national governments and local school administrations.

Teaching English is perhaps the best overseas opportunity for Christians. It deals with people face to face; leads to discussions that point to truth; and is needed everywhere in the world.
— Ralph Winter

Teaching English as community service is a very worthwhile vocation, but using teaching of English as a way of evangelising is at best dubious, at worst subversive. It is hard to find anyone in the Moroccan Government who is aware of this program's Christian purpose. Christians are very welcome in Morocco - Evangelists not.

chelhman [ PM ]
17 September 2008 13:33
I honestly don't understand what the fuss is all about, these people are not a security threat, I have yet to see an evangelist blow himself up. They're stupid, believe in creationism, the apocalypse, all sorts of myths, but they're not the only ones, we've got our own homegrown brand of these nuts and they're far more dangerous. Maybe that explains why the moroccan gvt isn't exactly mobilizing its best and brightest to stop them, stupidity is more an annoyance than it is threat.
Let's not forget something, if they have any success, it's because they're on fertile grounds, if we spent more on education, people wouldn't listen so easily, let's face it, I spoke to some of them, their pitch is laughable.
One last thing, shouldn't religious freedom be something we would gladly like to see established in our country ? We still have laws that condemn the mere mention to a muslim of another religion or condemn apostasy. On other hand muslims are free to convert others in North America or Europe. We still have a long way to go it seems.
Minniemouse [ PM ]
17 September 2008 14:54
Chelhman, i agree with you that people should be entitled to choose their religion but freedom doesn't mean the brainwashing of poor illiterate people and mass conversion no matter what religion you are talking about. You say that these evangelists do not constitute a security threat, i don't think so. They probably don't go out bombing trains and blowing up themselves in the way (too clever to do that) but they have proven to be dangerous, immoral and swindlers in many occasions. Take Jimmy Swaggart, the famous televangelist who had millions of followers before scandals involving him in fraud and prostitution came to the surface. Evangelists in African countries have used their power to extract money to poor people who sometimes have to sell their goods and deprive their kids of food to satisfy these criminal's greed! The genocide in Rwanda was largely blamed on the evangelists who encouraged large scale massacres. They are also devided in their beliefs and belong to different branches and sects, some of which are extremely dangerous and encourage terrible actions such as mass suicide.
Obviously the same thing applies to Islamist preachers, who were barricading young men inside mosques and indoctrinating them into murdering innocent civilians to get the ultimate reward!
Besides, i very much doubt that a muslim would be handed his own tv channel to preach religion in North America or Europe as you say. They can't even preach in mosques anymore without being monitored or tracked by security services.
Religion should be thought in schools by qualified theologians only and according to standards set by approved institutions. Only then we would be allowed to talk about freedom of religion.
There is no sincerer love than the love of food. George Bernard Shaw
atlasmagic [ PM ]
17 September 2008 15:01
We alla grre about the freedom of faiths but to masque things and sneak in the country to teach English for free & promise poor ignorants people material things is not the right way ............

We do not want these sects to developp & become a danger to our security we have enough home made talents !!!

I believe people should be made aware of theses actions & some how the associations /school /mosques .... open our youth eyes to these people ...........
Hicham_A [ PM ]
17 September 2008 22:48

Chelhman, it is a not a question of threat, it is more a question of respecting the law and the country itself. Ad far as your Analogy between Evangelists and "our home grown home brand", i don't know to whom you referring, 99% of the country believe in creationism and the apocalypse...does this mean that this majority is also stupid?? come on!!! Our religion has nothing no common points with Christianity the way it is and was historically practiced, it is not incompatible with reason, nor it is putting forward myths such as the trinity, a small example of this is that it is an Imam, with all what this word connotes, that put forward methodological doubt theory Centuries before Decartes, have you ever heard of Imam Alghazali...

Morrocan GVt is not moving because it simply ignores what is happening inside the country..

As far as freedom is concerned, this kind of request should come from inside and not from the outside and as far as i know there is no one complaining, except some minority that imported strange ideas about Islam as a religion of an ethnicity called Arab Semites. in Islam, every one is free to choose his/her religion, "La Ikraha fi dinne" "There is no compulsion in religion" Quran 1:255 or 256, but law in Morocco is concerned is something else...

"The true traveller is without goal, it is the absence of goals which creates the ultimate traveller."Gao Xingjian 'Soul Mountain'
chelhman [ PM ]
18 September 2008 11:41
Hi everyone,


About the brainwashing part, I view any radical religious teaching as brainwashing, we have to be fair, they are no more insidious than our own radicals, but I do think they're not violent. The mass suicides you mention are extremely rare and come from sects which are recognizable a mile away.
About the money they might suck from people, that becomes a violation of the law, then the ministry of justice will deal with it, but again, not fair to judge people on what they might do, it's called preemptive policy and it's unconstitutional in any country, you can't condemn people before the crime has been committed. Besides we've had enough of preemption these past 8 yearsSmiling Smiley

Regarding the conversions to islam, the UK is putting a screw on muslim preachers, but I can assure you it's not the case on mainland Europe, in Belgium for instance the rate of conversions is staggering, the highest conversion rate can be witnessed in prisons across the country, France is the same. So again, fairness, if muslims can convert others, than they should expect other creeds to hunt on their own grounds.
I totally agree with your last sentence, islam should be taught by theologians, but which ones ? There's a world of difference between a maleki and a wahabi, let's not even mention a salafi, there's our problem right there, having no clergy, islam is a "free for all" religion, anyone is an exegete of the quran. And let's face it, regulating religion is a failure in our country, we have not been able to stop the influence from the East coming through sat channels.
So the best way would be to have a solid education system, shape informed intelligent people who'll be able to discern between spirituality and manipulation. The fact is, we're not doing so good in that department, otherwise wahabis or evangelists wouldn't penetrate the minds so easily.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/18/2008 12:48 by chelhman.
chelhman [ PM ]
18 September 2008 12:08

Creationism is ridiculous given the vast amount of knowledge humanity has accumulated over the past century, islam does not oppose evolutionism at all, contrary to christianity. So yes, to your question, believing in creationism is stupid, it's more than that actually, it's stubborness, it's holding on to a belief and setting aside knowledge. It's not what islam is about, the rise of the muslim civilization was accomplished through the expansion of knowledge not the rejection of it.
All and all, I sense that it's more the fact they are christians that bothers you, do you think you're being fair when our country is the target of other sects of islam roaming free with little oversight unless they start being violent ?
We enjoy a great deal of freedom in Europe in terms of religion, but somehow we seem to have a problem to reciprocate. I'm not condoning evangelists, I've made it clear, I know what they're about, but there's no half freedom, you're either free or not. If muslims are free to convert, open mosques, practice..etc in Europe or North America, then other creeds should be able to do the same in muslim countries, regardless of what they preach, trinity, worshipping cows or trees if they wish to do so.
I'm wondering how would a community react in Morocco if someday you'd want to open a church or a temple.
I know it's pushing it when talking about reciprocation in Morocco, although we're one of the most tolerant muslim country, but since when is fairness far-fetched ?
Hicham_A [ PM ]
18 September 2008 13:38

you are mixing things up, 'malekism' is a rite, a madhab, and Wahhabism is a religious current, and wahhabism is a salafi religious orientation, so..... Also, grant yourself the benefit of doubt as all rational oriented people if you are pretending to be one of those, meaning, humility is one the main virtues of any reasonable intellectual effort...

There is a lot of misunderstandings in what you said, the flourishing of muslim civilization was due to a dual coexistence of Faith and reason in the overall muslim intellectual movement, Averroes was a creationist, an Imam, a muslim judge, and at the same time the one who's works triggered the enlightenment process of the west, the same thing for all other muslim scientists who participated in the development of humanity, and still participate as there are still muslim scientists working in the NASA and elsewhere, do you think all these people are stupid, and you are in the other side as you are not creationist, they were and are , firstly, HUMBLE...

Also, Salafi movement flourished in Morocco because of the makhzen's instrumentation of this current in order to dumb down moroccan youth using Saudi funds and to thwart the politically oriented islamist movements, literally, those contesting monarchy and the system, as Salafi movement used to put forward the famous " obey your governers" "Ati3ou Ouli al'amri minkoum', that's why Dar Alquran was present in every course before 2003

To your knowledge, churches and temples are present in Morocco from centuries behind, and why do want us to build these while they are only less 4000 jews in Morocco that can not even fill those already crumbling, and churches are closing in Europe...and as you said evangelists are bothering me, you are right, you know why ? because i find it stupid to come all the way to teach someone that God is 3 gods,a father who happens to be the son who is the same god ..and who cannot fill but 2/3 of a god..
and you find it uncondemnable.. come one!!
"The true traveller is without goal, it is the absence of goals which creates the ultimate traveller."Gao Xingjian 'Soul Mountain'
chelhman [ PM ]
18 September 2008 14:11

I wasn't being specific, I simply use a broad stroke to depict the different muslim currents and their general philosophy.
Regarding the glorious past of the muslim civilization, the operative word is "past", everytime we have a debate on islam, it's the same thing, "we were great", "we invented this and that", it's over, we have not done anything in centuries, have not contributed to humanity for a long time and that's precisely the problem, we're acting out in frustration. It's harsh and I take no pleasure in admitting it, but I'm being realistic.

Thank you but I know we have churches and temples, I was merely mentioning the possibility as a puzzle, would a moroccan community or our authorities accept the opening of a church or temple from where christians or bouddhists would launch conversions or simply inform Moroccans of a different creed just as it's being allowed for muslims in Europe ?
You've been to Belgium, you've seen the mosques in Brussels, they're open, they operate freely.
The answer is no, we do not reciprocate the freedoms other countries are giving us. It's a fact and it tells a lot about our bias.
Hicham_A [ PM ]
18 September 2008 14:29

This question of Past Vs present is another issue, nothing to do with the example i used to demonstrate that Islam is not against reason, absolutely...on the other hand, our frustrating present is a fact, no one can deny it

However, there is no muslim proselyting movement in continental european countries, at the opposite of the UK if we assume what u said is true, the great number of europeans reverting to Islam is partly due the hypermediatized islamist terrorism issues, and partly because europeans are looking for spiritual revival..

you know, the big problem with this people is that they are fishing in dirty water, you understand what i mean...
"The true traveller is without goal, it is the absence of goals which creates the ultimate traveller."Gao Xingjian 'Soul Mountain'
adds [ PM ]
19 September 2008 01:12
Right in front of me a picture I bought in Egypte of the day of resorection ( discribed in our Coran) the same story was told by pharoahs.
In 1983 I have met this Moroccan boy in Paris who was saved by the Jesus(the organisation helped him to move to france after converting...).
It is a matter of choice and accepting others with their beleives.
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