Christian missionaries stir unease in north Africa
“A new breed of undercover Christian missionary is turning to Muslim north Africa in the search for new converts, alarming Islamic leaders who say they prey on the weak and threaten public order,” writes our Rabat correspondent Tom Pfeiffer.
(Photo: Foreign Christians worship at Saint Peter’s Cathedral, Rabat, 12 Nov 2008/Rafael Marchante)
His feature (read it here) says missionary groups estimate the number of Moroccan Christians has grown to 1,500 from 100 in a decade and that Algerian Christians number several thousand, although no official figures exist. It quotes Moroccan converts from Islam who fear persecution, an American missionary who works undercover, Muslim officials who denounce this evangelising and local Roman Catholic bishop who will not baptise Moroccans because it’s against the law.
The growth of evangelical missionary work in Muslim countries in recent years presents a dilemma for Christians. Jesus told his followers to “go and make disciples of all nations” and these missionaries are doing that. But in the process, at least some are endangering the lives of their converts, breaking local laws and creating tensions that can lead to a backlash against all Christians, including long-established local churches who have come to a modus operandi with Muslim authorities.
Is undercover missionary work a responsible way to spread Christianity?