In line with the High Royal Guidelines, Morocco maintains an “unwavering” commitment to the promotion of the values of peace and dialogue between religions and cultures, said, in New York, the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Morocco to the UN, Omar Hilale. “In accordance with the High Guidelines of HM King Mohammed VI, the Kingdom of Morocco maintains an unwavering commitment to the promotion of the values of peace, dialogue between religions and cultures, mutual respect, respect for human dignity and good neighborliness,” underlined Mr. Hilale who was speaking Thursday during the annual Debate of the UN General Assembly on the Culture of Peace. The Moroccan diplomat stressed that the Kingdom attaches “great” importance to the fight against all forms of discrimination, xenophobia, hatred and rejection of others, including Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and Christianophobia, noting that Morocco remains ready to continue its actions to combat hate speech. To respond to the several challenges that the world is currently facing, including the rise of ideological conflicts, intolerance, identity withdrawal, violence, extremism, the encouragement of separatism and armed groups, Morocco, as a an “active and responsible” actor within the international community, is convinced that strengthening multilateralism and the collective and coherent action of the United Nations in favor of dialogue, pluralism and mutual respect is essential, he pointed out. Morocco is “proud” to have a centuries-old tradition of tolerance, moderation, cohabitation, promotion of intercultural, interreligious and inter-civilizational dialogue, being a crossroads of meetings and mixing of different cultures, religions and civilizations, he said, adding that respect for cultural and religious diversity is an integral part of daily life and the collective conscience of Moroccan society. “Moreover, in Morocco, just last week, Jews, Christians and Muslims celebrated + Hanukkah +, hand in hand, at the Nevé Shalom synagogue in Casablanca,” he said, noting that the Kingdom is working “tirelessly” for the reinforcement of the values of peace, harmony, knowledge and respect for cultural and religious diversity, at the national, regional and international levels, and this in line with the High Guidelines of HM King Mohammed VI. The diplomat recalled, in this regard, the historic visit of His Holiness Pope Francis to Morocco on March 30 and 31, 2019, at the invitation of HM King Mohammed VI, Commander of the Faithful, the second visit of its kind after that of Pope John Paul II in 1985, adding that this trip is a “strong and eloquent” testimony to the leading role played by Morocco in promoting dialogue, understanding and cooperation between different religions and cultures. He underlined that Morocco attaches “fundamental” importance to education as a key element to ensure the development, maintenance of a culture of peace and the fight against the scourges of discrimination, hatred and extremism. The Moroccan education system teaches, from an early age, the virtues of respect, openness, diversity and human rights, he added, noting that textbooks and school curricula are systematically and periodically revised to include the values of living together, harmony and tolerance. It is worth noting, in this regard, the decision taken by Morocco to teach Jewish history and culture in Arabic to Moroccan students from elementary school onwards, the ambassador said. Mr. Hilale also noted that in Morocco, young people are the promoters of several initiatives to fight against all forms of discrimination. He underlined that the report of the UN Secretary General entitled “Promotion of a culture of peace, dialogue, understanding and cooperation between religions and cultures in the service of peace” mentioned that from 2018 to 2021, more than 5,000 young people from several countries, including Morocco, took part in a “great mobilization of youth-led organizations, universities and national stakeholders, under the leadership of UNESCO and the Office of Counter-Terrorism, in order to foster an inclusive dialogue for the prevention of violent extremism”. And in order to put forward the just, noble and respectful values of the Islamic religion and fight all forms of radicalism and extremism, the Kingdom is leading various initiatives, such as the reform of the religious field, the upgrading of the religious education and promotion of cooperation with brotherly and friendly countries, particularly African nations, he pointed out. In this regard, he said, Morocco has set up the Mohammed VI Foundation of African Ulema, as well as the Mohammed VI Institute for the training of Imams, Morshidines and Morshidates (religious preachers), upon the instructions of HM King Mohammed VI, Commander of the Faithful, adding that the Kingdom provides multidimensional training to hundreds of preachers from a large number of African, Arab, European and Asian countries. The diplomat also stressed that Morocco acts, at the multilateral level, at a double level by contributing, in a “very active” manner, to the debates of the various United Nations bodies on this issue and by participating in the process of development and approval of relevant UN resolutions. It is in this perspective that Morocco presented to the UN General Assembly, in July 2019, the historic resolution 73/328 on “the promotion of interreligious and intercultural dialogue and tolerance in the fight against the hate speech,” recalled the ambassador, adding that this same Assembly adopted, last July, unanimously, the resolution 75/309 presented by Morocco, and which proclaims for the first time in the history of the United Nations, June 18 of each year as “the International Day Against Hate Speech”. “This is another illustration of Morocco’s status as a builder of bridges of tolerance and dialogue between religions, cultures and nations,” he pointed out. Morocco presented, jointly with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at the UN General Assembly in January 2021, resolution 75/258 on the promotion of the culture of peace and tolerance for the protection of religious sites, which was adopted by consensus and co-sponsored by a large number of member states, he added. According to the diplomat, Morocco is also “proud” to have largely contributed to the adoption and implementation of action plans, documents and resolutions which constitute the cornerstone of UN efforts and initiatives aimed at promoting the culture of peace, the values of moderation and tolerance, and the fight against all the evils of discrimination and exclusion. These include the United Nations action plans on safeguarding religious sites as well as on hate speech, the Marrakech Declaration on the Protection of Religious Minorities in the Muslim World, the Rabat Action Plan on the prohibition of any call to national, racial or religious hatred and the Fez Action Plan on the role of religious leaders in preventing incitement to violence that could lead to atrocities, Mr. Hilale said. In the same regard, the ambassador underlined that Morocco, a founding member of the Alliance of Civilizations, participates “actively” in international dialogues and conferences, and works in favor of mutual understanding and cultural and religious enrichment and spares no effort to promote a dialogue of peace allowing the emergence of true synergies within the international community. Morocco is honored to host next year, in December, the World Summit of the Alliance of Civilizations which was postponed last year due to COVID-19, he said. Mr. Hilale also noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has “strongly” called on the international community to strengthen the centrality and importance of building a peaceful, stable and prosperous world, noting that the health crisis has shown how important is to promote a culture of peace in order to reduce gaps between and within societies. In this regard, he “warmly” welcomed the role, actions and initiatives undertaken by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to keep the international organization at the center of multilateralism and of all international efforts to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Religious leaders also have an “important” role to play in meeting the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, adding that Morocco, in support of the Secretary General’s call on this issue, organized in May 2020 the high-level video conference entitled “The role of religious leaders in facing the multiple challenges of COVID-19”. The diplomat reiterated Morocco’s “full” support for the efforts of the United Nations to make the promotion of a culture of peace and dialogue between religions and cultures, the center of attention of the entire United Nations system.
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