A delegation of evangelical leaders recently visited the Kingdom of Morocco. "The Moroccan overture is a great beginning," says Richard Cizik, the National Association of Evangelicals' vice-president for government affairs, "and a sign of good faith from leaders of a country whose inhabitants are almost entirely Muslim. It's a bold step by both faith communities to showcase cooperation and mutual respect in a conflict-weary world." Associate news editor Stan Guthrie interviewed Cizik. More information on developments will soon be available at www.nae.net.
How did the Morocco initiative begin?
In May of 2003, the NAE co-sponsored with the IRD [Institute on Religion and Democracy] a consultation on Islam meant to encourage both dialogue with Muslims on democracy, human rights, and religious freedom, but also to explore opportunities here and abroad for acts of compassion in Christ's name toward those in the Muslim communities. And thus, in prayer and thinking about the opportunities available to us in Morocco, opportunity arose because it provides a potential model for not just other Muslim nations but for Christian-Muslim collaboration on a variety of levels.
And why did you choose Morocco?
We chose Morocco because it has a history that includes a very dynamic, culturally diverse society that is modernizing and is open to evangelical Christian outreach. But it also is a society that was never occupied during the Ottoman Empire and is a bridge toward other Islamic states and nations.
What are the results coming out of this meeting?
On February 29 to March 8, a nine-member delegation visited Morocco and met with the nation's prime minister, cabinet ministers, regional governors, and then top Muslim, Jewish, and Roman Catholic authorities. ...