Orphaned work

"Orphaned work" Continued...

Issue: "O Jerusalem," April 10, 2010

In the midst of these deportations, other groups are making statements that the government is using against the deported Christians. On March 18, the Non-Aligned Movement praised Morocco's promotion of "interreligious dialogue, the culture of peace and the harmonious coexistence between faiths and cultures." In a joint statement, the Archbishop of Rabat Vincent Landel and Jean Luc Blanc, president of the Evangelical Church in Morocco, distanced themselves from the targeted groups, reiterating that they were against proselytizing and saying their purpose was to help fellow Christians meet and respect Muslims. The government has used these statements against those decrying the deportations, saying the "official Churches" praise Morocco as a tolerant country.

It is not the first time religious extremists have used interfaith movements to promote intolerance, said Marshall Sana, communications director for the Barnabas Fund, an organization that gives aid to persecuted Christians. In Jordan, persecution of Christians coincided with Common Word Initiatives supposedly promoting interfaith understanding. Sana said Islamist activists can use interfaith initiatives to exclude and label as troublemakers more evangelical organizations that maintain the exclusive claims of the Bible.

Sefaine remembers that police stopped Mary Mellinger on the way to the airport years ago, suspicious that an American woman had so many Moroccan children in her car. This time suspicion had a different outcome, though. When the lieutenant, who grew up in the Children's Haven community, saw Mellinger, he swept the 4-foot-11-inch woman into a hug and thanked her with tears in his eyes. Sefaine said, "This is my home. If this place is taken away, my heart has become an orphan again."


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