Rabat - On this Day (August 20, 1985) 30 years ago, one of the most influential people of the 20th century, arrived in Morocco, marking his very first visit to a Muslim country.
Rabat – On this Day (August 20, 1985) 30 years ago, one of the most influential people of the 20th century, arrived in Morocco, marking his very first visit to a Muslim country.
In August 30 1985, Pope John Paul II was received by the late king Hassan II of Morocco in Casablanca. That was second meeting between the two leaders, after their first meeting in Vatican.
Although popes had previously visited Muslim nations, Pope John Paul II was the first pope to visit a Muslim country following a direct invitation by its leader. Traditionally, the local Roman Catholic Church was in charge of the Pope’s visits.
King Hassan II invited Pope John Paul II, to address the young people of Morocco, during a year that was dedicated to young people by the UN.
Pope John Paul II had delivered a speech to Moroccans in the Mohammed V Stadium.
”Christians and Muslims have generally understood each other poorly, and sometimes in the past we opposed each other and even exhausted each other in polemics and wars,” he said.
Praising what he called Morocco’s ”tradition of tolerance,” the Pope said that ”in this Muslim country, there have always been Jews and almost always Christians; they have lived in respect, in a positive way.”
The pope had also warned Moroccan young people against extremism and violence. He said that ”wisdom teaches us that self-discipline and love are the sole levers for the desired renewal [of tolerance].’’