Morocco was home to the Muslim world’s largest Jewish community before Israel became a state in 1948.
Rabat – Morocco was the special guest of a virtual seminar on the Holocaust hosted in Colombia on Wednesday, which marked the International Day to commemorate the memory of victims of the mass genocide.
Moroccan Ambassador to Colombia and Ecuador, Farida Loudaya represents Morocco during the seminar.
She emphasized Morocco’s approach and efforts to promote the culture of peace, intercultural, and inter-faith dialogue.
The diplomat said that Morocco will continue to be a land of tolerance, openness, and multiculturalism.
During her participation, Loudaya recalled how late King Mohammed V categorically refused to hand over Moroccan-Jewish people to the Nazi regime despite the “implacable reaities imposed by the French protectorate,” she said.
The ambassador emphasized Morocco’s approach against the Nazi regime, which she described as “barbarism and the application of any racist law against Moroccan Jews.”
She said the country does not marginalize any religions.
“Morocco [is a place] where Muslims and Jews have always been brothers, cousins, colleagues, partners, friends , and allies.”
The diplomat said the same approach was adopted for decades by late King Hassan II and promoted by King Mohammed VI.
She said King Mohammed VI has always promoted the Jewish heritage in Morocco, “where the union of all Moroccans, beyond their religious confession, is an eloquent example.”
The virtual meeting also saw the participation of the Colombian Minister of Foreign Affairs Claudia Blum,
The number of people who died during the Second World War in Nazi death camps exceeds 6 million. The vast majority of them were European Jews, whose global population was reduced by one third because of the Nazi regime’s atrocities.
After the French capitulation to the Nazis, French authorities of the new “vichy regime” deported their Jewish population to the Nazi death camps without an explicit order from Berlin. Morocco’s King however refused, despite being part of France’s colonial empire,
Morocco has been clear about its strong attachment to the Jewish community under the leadership of King Mohammed VI.
Morocco has been home to Jewish communities since before the emergence of the Roman Empire. After the Spanish edict of expulsion in 1492, some 20,000 Jews emigrated from Granada to Morocco, fleeing the torture, persecution and forced conversion of the Spanish Inquisition. At their peak before Israel became a state in 1948, Jews in Morocco numbered over 200,000.
Between Israel’s founding and Morocco’s independence in 1956, most of Morocco’s Jews emigrated to Israel, Canada, and France.
The meeting comes at a time when the Moroccan Jewish community have expressed pride for Morocco’s decision to reestablish ties with Israel.
The North African country announced its decision on December 10. Last week marked Israel’s formal approval of the decision to establish relations with Morocco.