New York - Hundreds of Muslim scholars will meet at a summit in Marrakech from January 25 to 27 to discuss the rights of religious minorities living in Muslim-majority countries.
New York – Hundreds of Muslim scholars will meet at a summit in Marrakech from January 25 to 27 to discuss the rights of religious minorities living in Muslim-majority countries.
The summit named “Religious Minorities in Muslim Countries: The Legal Framework and Call for Action” is expected to issue a declaration to protect religious minorities in the Muslim world based on the principles of the Charter of Medina, the first Muslim constitution.
The summit will kick-off in Marrakech on Monday. It will be chaired by the Moroccan Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs in cooperation with the Forum for the Promotion of Peace in Muslim Societies a think tank based in the United Arab Emirates.
According to a joint statement by the organizers, around 300 Muslim scholars, government officials, experts and religious leaders who advocate for the protection of non-Muslim minorities will attend the conference.
This conference comes at a time marked by a surge of terrorist attacks, hate crimes, and the increasing violations to the rights of religious minorities in Muslim countries, namely in the Middle East where minorities flee extremism, the statement noted.
Organizers have chosen Morocco to hold this summit due to its moderate position, appreciation of cultural diversity and its advances in human rights in the last few years.
Morocco is described as a “tolerant” country where Christians do not face persecution nor physical or mental abuse.
This summit presents an opportunity to prove that “violations of religious minorities’ rights are totally at odds with the spirit of peace, moderation and togetherness that have always prevailed among various components of majority Muslim countries,” the statement stressed.
According to the organizers, the Marrakech conference is the first of its kind in the last 1,400 years of the history of Islam, since Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) enumerated the rights of non-Muslims.
“The prophet was religiously persecuted, so he knew first-hand what it was to experience religious persecution,” Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, co-founder of Zaytuna College, the first Muslim liberal arts college in the U.S., told the Washington Post.
“His religion ensured the rights of religious minorities. We want to counter the idea that Muslims and non-Muslims can’t live together. This is not who we are or who we want to be,” Yusuf stressed.
For the last two years, Morocco has been ranked among the safest countries for Christians worldwide, according to a ranking by “Portes Ouvertes,” a non-profit organization.
The summit in Marrakech will be attended by both Muslim and non-Muslim leaders, including Christians, Judaists, Hindus and Sikhs.