RABAT, Morocco (AP) _ The Islamic Affairs Ministry called on Moroccans Friday to gather at royal mosques and pray for rain to end a months-long drought that threatens crops and has compounded the pain of an economic recession.

A lack of rainfall since the end of last year has put new pressures on the North African country, which already faces problems of debt, inflation and crippling unemployment.

The ministry said in a statement that King Mohammed VI had sent the ministry a directive stating the need for a national call to prayer. Such ceremonies, organized by religious authorities, are common in times of drought in Morocco, where the economy is largely dependent on agriculture.

Water levels at dams are about half-full. The drought has caused prices to rise, particularly for agricultural products and cattle.