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Christians expelled, Morocco and US spar over religious freedom

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School officials barred from returning to Morocco

Parents and former teachers charge that the George Washington Academy (GWA), a stately private school just outside of Casablanca, lured students with a facade of multicultural academic excellence, only to spread Christianity.

The school first came under scrutiny in late March, when border officials barred GWA founder and director Jack Rusenko and two senior school administrators from reentering Morocco, in part of an unusual sweep of foreigners said to be missionaries. Moroccan law explicitly forbids proselytizing.

Although GWA denies wrongdoing, it is gaining notoriety, spurred by a website that spreads word of new tales of complaints by teachers and parents. Mustapha Ramid, a prominent Islamist politician whose complaint spurred the police investigation, is calling on judicial authorities to investigate the matter as well.

“It is out of the question to misuse a school to convert children – that’s true for any school in this country,” says Mr. Ramid, a member of parliament, in an interview in his Casablanca office. “Foreigners must respect our laws,” Ramid adds.

Ramid’s words resonate with many here, who feel deeply offended at the thought that foreign evangelists would spread their religion in secret, particularly among children.

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