Weak Knees and Tired Hands: On sub-Saharan Christianities in Morocco

Josh Cohen, SIT Study Abroad

Morocco: Migration Studies


Christianity lives in Morocco. Christ, arguably, lives in Morocco. More importantly, Christians are once more living in Morocco. Of course, Christians have—more or less—always lived in Morocco, but never have Christians like these lived here. This statement risks redundancy, if only because there are so many ways to make this distinction, the most obvious of which is time. These aren’t the pre-Islamic Berber Christians, nor are they the colonial Portuguese, the French or the Spanish (or the English or the Italian, if you worship in Tangiers). Today’s Moroccan Christians—the adjective describing location, and not much else—are mainly sub-Saharan African refugees. Nearly everything about their lives here is, indeed, determined by Today. And yet their lives here are barely being written into history. As men, women, and children, the very circumstances that create them keep them from fully existing, and work to render them the same. As Christians, however, they vary, which is hope enough. The academic aim of this paper is merely to begin to document and consider lived sub-Saharan Christianities in Morocco, particularly those of sub-Saharan refugees. Particular attention is paid to the relationship between being a migrant and being a Christian. The greater aim is premised on the belief that, for many living today, the realm of faith remains far freer than its socio-political counterpart: in the case of sub-Saharans living in Morocco, it is my intention that a focus on the way they live their faith will supplant the much-quoted image of “black locusts” , which wishfully evokes a muzzled single-minded swarm, with a nervous convergence of so many fundamentally mobile believers.