Photo Source: Pixabay Creative Commons
Map Source: People Group location: IMB / Joshua Project. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.
|People Name:||Moroccan, Arabic-speaking|
|Primary Language:||Arabic, Moroccan Spoken|
|Christian Adherents:||0.11 %|
|Online Audio NT:||No|
|People Cluster:||Arab, Maghreb|
|Affinity Bloc:||Arab World|
Arabs represent the largest, most diverse, and most politically influential Muslim ethnic grouping in the world. While there are several characteristics that determine if a person is a true Arab, one trait is always evident: a proud sense of being an Arab. The early Islamic period was a time when "Arab identity" meant that all Arabs had descended from a common male ancestor. Thus, being an Arab brought recognition, honor and certain privileges. Their physical, geographical and religious aspects all vary greatly. However, the ability to speak Arabic (or an Arabic dialect) and identification with the Arabian cultural heritage are, perhaps, the two most essential elements. Arabs are the majority people in many countries in the Arabian Peninsula, the Maghreb, and all of North Africa. From there, Arab and Berber armies turned northward, and conquered the Iberian Peninsula (i. E. , Spain and Portugal), and held all or part of it till 1492. Arabs were not as much of a threat to northern European countries like Belgium, the Netherland, Norway, and Germany. Today Moroccan Arabs have come to Europe seeking job opportunities and a better life than they had in Morocco.
The Moroccan Arab diaspora in Europe is centered in urban locations where they usually hold low paying jobs. Instead of a Muslim culture, they have to interface with a secular-humanist culture. Moroccan Arab traditional family and tribal ties are breaking down. In Belgium, there is greater freedom for women to leave the home, fewer arranged marriages, and less social pressure to conform to traditional religious practices. Women as well as men have greater educational and employment opportunities than they had in Morocco. These changes are bringing about much tension. Some Moroccan Arabs in Europe identify with their country of origin rather than being "Arab. " Others, mingle with Arabs from other parts of the Arab World socially. This is especially true for those who pray at the mosque. In Belgium, some Moroccan Arab youths have joined jihadist groups, which has given them a bad name. There is at least one effort by the Belgians to counter this by offering after school soccer clubs.
It is difficult for Moroccan Arabs in secularized Europe to maintain their Islamic identity. To do this, they sometimes get more immersed in Muslim activities, and stay clear of the European culture around them. Secular humanism isn't a formal religious system, and it has very little appeal to Moroccan Muslims. Still, those who want to fit in with European culture probably become more secularized. It is hard to imagine where the Moroccan Arabs will be spiritually in a generation or two. Most likely, they will maintain their identity with Islam, but it will not affect their lives like it did in Morocco.
People who genuinely follow Christ will need to patiently and lovingly take the opportunity to take Christ to the Moroccan Arabs in Europe. They can do this in part by helping to teach language and work skills.
Pray that God will raise up faithful intercessors who will stand in the gap for Moroccan Arabs in Belgium. Pray that the softening of their traditional culture will soften their hearts so they will hunger for the truth and eagerly accept it when they hear it. Pray for a church planting movement among Moroccan Arabic speaking people in Belgium that will show others the transforming power of the gospel in their lives. Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches and discipleship movements among Diaspora Arabs in Belgium.