Religiosity is alive and well in Islam just like any other major world religion. I define religiosity as doing something in the name of god that any rational person would see as foolish, useless, inhumane, or possibly even evil.
While in Morocco, our team saw this by interacting with a ministry that seeks to help women that get pregnant outside of marriage. Islam strictly forbids sex outside of marriage although many young people do it. At the same time, most families discourage getting married until a man can support his family. This means that most couples do not get married into they are in their 20s or 30s. Just like in American culture, many Moroccan youths don’t wait for marriage. The young “lovers” take their chances, thinking that they will not get pregnant. Many times a young “man” will lie to the girl, promising to marry her if she will only sleep with him.
If the girl gets pregnant, in many cases the guy walks away claiming the child is not his. Unfortunately, that’s not odd behavior for many young people around the world. It’s just sinful human nature. The women gets left with the baby.
In Morocco, it is illegal to have an abortion although many pregnant women have back alley procedures done to terminate unwanted pregnancies. I applaud the Moroccan government for protecting the life of the unborn. But unlike in the United States, a Moroccan woman that decides to go ahead with an unwanted pregnancy faces a much harder road to navigate.
Our team was told that most Moroccan families will not help the woman do to the public shame of having children outside of marriage. While it may not be a big deal in the United States, it is a huge scandal in most Muslim countries. We were told that many families would privately pressure the woman to have an abortion and would then welcome her back once the “problem” went away. All of this would happen in secret because abortion is illegal and in most cases forbidden by Islam.
In many cases a Moroccan woman pregnant outside of marriage would be on her own to cover the cost of the birth, raise the child and provide for her family. There is limited legal recourse to seek for child support. She would be cut off from her family. She would find it nearly impossible to ever get married. Many women are somewhat limited in what they can do as far as occupation. It would be a fairly dead end situation for this woman. That is why an abortion is such an attractive thing.
The Moroccan government doesn’t want to really help due to the cost and the concern about encouraging sexual promiscuity. Instead, we were told that the government simply acts like it is not a big problem. Humanitarian workers on the ground in Morocco told us that the problem is much worse than the government reports.
While the Moroccan government has done the right thing by limiting abortions in the country, the society does not do the right thing when families refuse to support young women who make the mistake of getting pregnant outside of marriage. It seems the loving response would be to support them.
Please take a few minutes to pray for all the young women in Morocco that face the difficult scenario described above. Pray that young people will understand the risks and be smart. Pray that the Moroccan government will allow humanitarian and aide organizations to get the permits and support to help with this often ignored problem. Please lift up the families involved that they will see their responsibility to love and support their “wayward” teens and young women. Pray that Moroccan guys will realize that they have an obligation to woman if they sleep with them. Most importantly, please pray that thousands of Moroccan youth will come to know Jesus.