Delirious?, the Newsboys, Phil Keaggy to play groundbreaking Morocco festival.

THE GOVERNOR of Marrakech, Morocco, has invited a bevy of Christian music artists to come and play at the Friendship Fest in Morocco, due to be held from 6th to 8th May. Set to play at the event will be Delirious?, the Newsboys, Phil Keaggy and the Rock 'n' Roll Worship Circus. In late February 2004, New Jersey Pastor Harry Thomas (co-founder of Creation Festivals) joined an evangelical delegation researching religious freedom and democratic reform in Morocco. They went, met with top government and religious leaders, including Prime Minister Driss Jettou.

The Wali (Governor) of Marrakech asked Thomas if he would present a Human Rights award at a major event to celebrate the achievements of women, called Khmissa 2004. The event was televised throughout the Arab world, and at first the audience of political elite was not sure what to make of Harry, introduced to them as an American Christian clergyman. He quickly won them over and went on to give the award to prison reformer Assia El Qouadie. Harry referred to Scripture and stated something to the effect that those who work with the poor touch the face of God. The crowd broke out in a three-minute standing ovation! From then on, wherever Harry went people came up to him, saying, "Thank you for talking about God. You were the only person on the programme that did so."

When Harry got back home he received a letter from Moroccan Ambassador Aziz Mekouar confirming an invitation he had received verbally from the Marrakech Wali Mohamed Hassad to bring Christian music to Morocco as the most prominent component of an event to promote friendship with American Christians. And so Friendship Festival was born. Organiser Tim Landis says of the trip, "I can honestly say that none of us will be the same. The love, acceptance and hospitality that was shown to us was more than we ever expected. We spent hours sharing our faith with our new Moroccan friends, festival specialist Saad and Moundir who in turn shared with us about the Arab world and their Muslim faith." CR

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