On Sunday May 26, 200 people of Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths came together for the 7th annual “Multi-faith Iftar” in Mohammedia, breaking the Ramadan fast together in a symbol of inter-religious tolerance.
Rabat – The annual Multi-faith Iftar is organised by the NGO “Marocains Pluriels” (Diverse Moroccans) and took place on Sunday at the Saint Jacques Parish in Mohammedia, north of Casablanca.
The event brought together religious representatives from each faith, including the Archbishop of Rabat, the Imam Omar El Mrini, the Chief Rabbi of Casablanca, as well as the King’s advisor Andre Azoulay, and embassy representatives from Norway, Burkina Faso, France, Italy, Canada, Denmark, and the Vatican, among others.
Over 200 people attended the event, sharing a traditional Moroccan iftar meal and breaking the Ramadan fast together as a symbol of religious and cultural tolerance.
Andre Azoulay, the King’s advisor, emphasized that Morocco was built by a number of civilizations, in particular “the great Berber civilization, the great Jewish civilization, the great arabo-muslim civilization, Africa, Andalusia, Europe.”
He added the event was about not about politics.
“We are not here by obligation. [The event] is not conceived, organized and attended for reasons of political necessity. We are here for reasons of the heart, because we want to be, and because we find in this great pleasure and joy,” reported Moroccan news channel 2M.
The Juniors, the youth branch of Diverse Moroccans, opened the evening by reading a text calling on the values of unity.
“Whereas elsewhere, men and women are stigmatized for being Jewish, Muslim, or Christians…in Morocco, Muslims, Jews, and Christians raise the flag of harmony.”
Inter-religious dialogue has been an important theme of 2019 in Morocco. Pope Francis made a two day visit to the country in March, holding a mass for 10 000 people at Prince Moulay Abdallah sports complex in Rabat. It was the first papal visit to Morocco since 1985.
In his official welcoming speech, the King described the Pope’s visit as “ deeply symbolic, with historical and civilizational consequences.”
Speaking about the importance of combating terrorism, he added that “co-understanding negates all forms of radicalism.”
“I protect Moroccan Jews and the Christians from other countries who live in Morocco,” the King emphasized.
The foreword of the Moroccan Constitution of 2011 expressly promotes the values of “openness, moderation, tolerance and dialogue for the mutual understanding between all cultures and civilizations in the world.”
The constitution defines “Islam as the state religion, which guarantees free exercise of all religions.” However, while the practice of other religions is tolerated, the conversion of Muslims to another religion is banned. Some Moroccan converts to Christianity are therefore forced to worship in secret.
Proselytizing is also illegal and punishable by up to three years prison.