Morocco, Austria Sign Memorandum of Understanding to Strengthen Cooperation in Religious Dialogue Field
Morocco and Austria signed, Friday in Rabat, a memorandum of understanding on strengthening bilateral cooperation in the field of religious dialogue. Inked by Ahmed Taoufiq, Minister of Endowments and Islamic Affairs, and Theresa Endgen, Federal Deputy Minister for European and International Affairs of the Republic of Austria, the memorandum aims to develop and expand bilateral cooperation in the field of intercultural and interreligious dialogue, by identifying dialogue partners at the governmental and academic levels, as well as at the level of official religious groups and civil society. The memorandum also aims to create a platform dedicated to improving mutual understanding between the two partner countries, as well as to strengthen cooperation with academics and experts from both sides in order to expand the academic platform in the field of intercultural and interreligious dialogue. The objectives of the memorandum also include developing a roadmap and agenda for intercultural and interreligious dialogue, in addition to exploring the possibility of publishing the results and achievements of bilateral cultural and religious dialogue, supporting dialogue partners, and sharing data on local and national initiatives that promote intercultural and interreligious dialogue. The two sides will work to establish a joint working group to implement this MOU and achieve the desired objectives. Endgen expressed, in a statement to the press on this occasion, her admiration for the Moroccan model of management of religious affairs. “We have much to learn from this model that should be made known in Europe,” she said. The Austrian official also welcomed the institutional and cultural wealth of Morocco, expressing her willingness to strengthen future bilateral cooperation in the fields of literature, science and intercultural and interfaith dialogue. She welcomed the long history of Moroccan-Austrian relations, explaining that the two countries will celebrate next year 240 years of friendship and commercial cooperation. “We are committed to preserving this fruitful cooperation and strengthening it through new initiatives,” she said. For his part, Taoufiq said the signing of this agreement is a prelude to a broader future cooperation between the two countries in areas related to religious affairs, especially since 10% of the Austrian population is Muslim, and the country has recognized the Islamic religion as official since 1912.