Here is the full text of the Royal Message, which was read by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rachid Talbi El Alami.
“Praise be to God, Prayer and Greetings on the Prophet, His family and His companions.
Your Excellency, the President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,
Excellencies, the Presidents of Legislative Institutions,
Distinguished Representatives of Religious Institutions and Bodies,
Ladies and gentlemen,
First of all, We would like to express to you Our joy and Our consideration for having chosen the Kingdom of Morocco to hold this important conference there. Unique in its genre, both by the nature of the theme chosen and by the quality of the participants, it brings together for the first time parliamentarians who have come in their capacity as legislators and representatives of their respective peoples and a large number of religious leaders, d experts, renowned researchers from around the world. This meeting is an opportunity to debate and exchange around a topical subject that is of particular importance and whose scope and ramifications everyone understands with regard to the regional and international situation known to all.
We welcome all participants and salute the initiative of the Moroccan Parliament and the Inter-Parliamentary Union to hold this conference. We also welcome the relevant choice of interfaith dialogue as the major focus of the debates, reflections and expected interventions. We hope that the conclusions and recommendations resulting from this conference will contribute to renewing the approaches and methodologies adopted to respond to the requirement of interfaith dialogue. We hope that they will also make it possible to define the nature of the relationships which, under the sign of understanding, peace and mutual esteem, must prevail between the different confessions.
Thanks to conferences regularly dedicated to dialectical questions correlated to the theme of your conference, the Inter-Parliamentary Union has developed enough know-how and expertise which you will rightly avail yourself of to initiate rich and fruitful debates. It is also well equipped to bring added value to your conference by proposing new approaches to better frame the relationships between the different denominations through the use of serious, constructive and responsible dialogue.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Faced with major challenges, humanity is shaken by strongly intertwined crises of a security, economic, political, health and ecological nature. It is also shaped by an indisputable desire to do everything possible to manage, contain and resolve these crises. Your conference aims to be the undeniable expression of this sincere desire.
It is just as deplorable that anti-religious sentiment is the favorite subject of some, their battle horse during electoral bidding.
To this end, it offers the opportunity to engage in collective reflection leading, both internally and internationally, to the development of an action plan for parliamentarians and religious actors. It is aware of the seriousness of the current situation: our world is indeed confronted with ideologies of extremism, egocentrism, hatred, withdrawal into oneself, as well as terrorist enterprises which convert particular contexts into fertile ground for the propagation of subversive projects, in the name of religion even though religion formally denies it.
Here and there, public opinion is abused when the question is disguised as conflicts between confessions or between civilizations. But the fact is that, as We confirmed more than twenty years ago at the opening of the 107th conference of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the presumed clash opposes obscurantisms and not civilizations.
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is truly regrettable that we are always informed of the occurrence of acts of violence, persecution or murder perpetrated for religious or sectarian reasons or in the name of belonging to a civilization. It is just as deplorable that anti-religious sentiment is the favorite subject of some, their battle horse during electoral bidding.
We also regret that the spaces open to public debate, including many audiovisual media and public forums, readily accommodate the stigmatization of others on grounds of religion, color or origin. Such tolerance risks altering collective consciousness and imagination and dangerously inflaming public opinion. The world keeps in memory the memory of genocides and devastating wars whose first sparks are to be found in speeches and ideologies nourished by religious, sectarian or racial fanaticism.
Contrary to international human rights treaties, unanimously recognized within the world community, theses and ideologies flourish around the idea of ”natural inequality” which classifies individuals according to their religion, their race, of their origin, and whose theoreticians attest to the legitimate character.
Faced with these very worrying signs as to the future of relations between the different denominations and the various civilizations, it becomes necessary that the living forces, committed to the equality of religions, civilizations and, beyond that, of all beings human beings, are mobilizing to reverse the current trend and to adopt policies likely to stem this dangerous regression of human consciousness.
The institutions represented by the participants in this conference are undeniably at the heart of this noble fight which aims to promote understanding, tolerance and coexistence. Also, institutional action and awareness-raising and educational work are necessary. There is no place for fanaticism either in religions or in sacred books. In fact, at the origin of any fanatic act, there are only occult interests. Moreover, all religions draw from the same womb, as the Word of God masterfully suggests: “Say: ‘We believe in God and in what has been revealed to us, and in what has been sent down to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes, and in what was given to Moses and Jesus, and in what was given to the prophets, from their Lord: we make no distinction between them. we are Submitters” (Surat Al-Baqara, verse 136).
Ladies and gentlemen,
The gloomy picture of a world taking note of this conflict of beliefs should not hide a more radiant reality: the audacious initiatives that seek to promote communication and interaction between the components of the international community and the followers of different faiths, thus contributing to cultivating, among each other, a spirit of tolerance, a climate of harmony: the ideal of living together. There is, therefore, cause for rejoicing in seeing how, in East and West, North and South, men and women of good faith, wise political decision-makers, free thinkers and enlightened intellectuals , engaged in a fight against hatred, tend the gateways of dialogue and understanding between different religions, civilizations and cultures.
We are particularly delighted that all of you who are taking part in this conference are part of these political elites, of these religious magisteriums, of these academic and intellectual circles won over to the idea that the mission of populating the Earth, willed by God the Most High, must be accomplished in accordance with a desire for interaction, mutual understanding and living together, regardless of confessional and doctrinal differences. This responsibility falls on all of mankind.
If these elites decide to act in unison around noble objectives, We are convinced that interfaith dialogue, driven by the desire to promote constructive interaction, unanimous understanding and fruitful cooperation between different faiths, will be a lever essential which will contribute to preserving humanity from the torments of suffering and division.
We can only achieve this goal if we walk the talk; this is one of the major challenges of your conference. It is also up to us to shed new light on the concept of interfaith dialogue; finally, it is up to us to strengthen collective awareness of the importance of dialogue and coexistence, of the dangers entailed by the persistence of a logic of introversion and fanaticism.
Furthermore, we expect the Marrakech Conference to provide a rational, informed and convincing response to currents which cultivate fanaticism, hatred and denigration of religions and which treat human beings according to their religion, their doctrine , race or skin color.
In order to achieve this ambition, We are convinced that the diversity of your respective statuses and the variety of your political, intellectual and confessional backgrounds will be of precious help. Indeed, the parliamentarians among you have the competence to pass the laws intended to facilitate dialogue, to reject, even to penalize the speeches which praise fanaticism and withdrawal into oneself. For their part, the leaders here present of religious institutions and chiefdoms can take advantage of their mission of orientation and awareness and use their spiritual authority to alert on the excesses likely to undermine the foundations of coexistence and constructive dialogue between religions.
We must also understand that the fear of a religion, or rather the phobia intentionally aroused around it, eventually turns into a form of hatred towards all aspects of this religion or the civilization associated with it. Then comes the incitement to take a stand against the belief in question, the acts of discrimination against it and the violence that targets it. In this regard, it is deeply regrettable to note that many of the most followed media seek through their editorial line only to feed the spiral of fanaticism and confrontation.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We hope that your conference will result in action plans, the three components of which you represent will contribute decisively to ensuring their implementation, at the level of each country and internationally. In this regard, We underline the need to create a joint mechanism, the work of which will be coordinated by the Inter-Parliamentary Union. This mechanism will have the task of making interfaith dialogue between the various components of the international community a noble common objective, which should be promoted within international bodies. This objective will also serve as a criterion of democratic governance in parliamentary practice, and as an indicator of respect for pluralism and cultural diversity.
A priori, religion, by constituting a bulwark against extremism, must be the basis of living together and not be exploited by extremist ideologies. However, the rooting of this ideal, combined with respect for other faiths, requires an educational effort that schools, universities, mass media, religious institutions and spaces for responsible public debate should deploy. Thus, We express the wish to see the final document include practical proposals with a view to achieving this objective.
We expect the Marrakech Conference to provide a rational, informed and convincing response to the currents that cultivate fanaticism, hatred and denigration of religions
There is no doubt, ladies and gentlemen, that you are well placed to take stock of the devastating effects of the disrespect of religions and their denigration, as well as the extent of the tragedies they can induce within and within outside national borders. You are also perfectly aware of their human and material cost for international stability, an essential condition for establishing the institutional and democratic foundations of each country and for promoting its development and prosperity.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Faithful to its secular history made up of diversity and religious and cultural pluralism, the Kingdom of Morocco constantly strives to remain a model State where the followers of monotheistic religions live together in a climate of brotherhood and security. Indeed, in this melting pot, Muslims, Jews and Christians have always coexisted for centuries, Morocco having generously welcomed and protected thousands of Muslims and Jews from the Iberian Peninsula who came to take refuge there to escape the religious persecutions of the XVth and XVIth centuries.
The annals of contemporary history relate the high solicitude with which Our August Grandfather, the late His Majesty King Mohammed V, may God rest his soul, surrounded thousands of people of the Jewish faith, having escaped the persecution of the government of Vichy, then an ally of Nazism.
Our Venerable Father, the late His Majesty King Hassan II, may God have him in His holy Mercy, perpetuated, throughout His Reign, this tradition of benevolence towards Moroccan citizens of the Jewish faith and He is always committed to cultivating the spirit of coexistence and brotherhood among all Moroccans, whether Muslim or Jewish.
History also records that His Majesty King Hassan II – may God rest his soul – took the initiative to receive, in 1985, His Holiness Pope John Paul II, on the occasion of the first visit ever made by the Sovereign Pontiff in a Muslim country. Thirty-four years after this historic visit, and following an official invitation addressed to the Sovereign Pontiff, We welcomed His Holiness Pope Francis in March 2019. This papal journey on Moroccan soil testifies to Our attachment to the virtues of interfaith dialogue and Our faith in the need to place the efforts of religious authorities at the service of peace, mutual aid and human fraternity.
Moreover, since Our Accession to the Throne, We have never ceased to strengthen the spirit of brotherhood, coexistence, mutual aid and cohesion among all Moroccans, Jews and Muslims, these values being the foundation of civilization. Moroccan. In addition, the architecture of our cities is profoundly symbolic in that it has mosques, synagogues and churches side by side. More than an urban planning requirement, this close neighborhood embodies the spiritual, human and civilizational values rooted in Moroccan society, as well as the ideal of tolerance to which it is attached.
Ladies and gentlemen,
If Islam is the religion of the State, the Constitution of Morocco, for its part, stipulates that “the State guarantees to all the free exercise of worship”. As We have always affirmed, as King of Morocco and Commander of the Faithful, We guarantee the free exercise of worship and, as such, it is Our responsibility to ensure the protection of Moroccan Jews and Christians who come from elsewhere to reside in Morocco.
Claiming its singular attachment to the ideal of religious coexistence and moderation, the Kingdom of Morocco was naturally among the first countries to promote the establishment of international mechanisms, some dedicated to inter-civilizational dialogue and others to the fight against terrorism, radicalism and extremism. Such is the case of the World Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations which held its ninth session in November 2022, in Fez, this thousand-year-old city which symbolizes in a very beautiful way the historical depth of our civilization and the religious coexistence which is specific to it.
We have always been firmly committed to the Kingdom of Morocco contributing significantly to the creation of this Forum, to its structural organization and to its regular functioning. We are indeed convinced that it constitutes an appropriate framework for building the future, establishing harmony between civilizations and establishing peace and living together.
With the same resolute will, Morocco has contributed to the emergence of new mechanisms and contributes to their influence and the consolidation of their missions. It also hosts their meetings, like the International Conference on the Dialogue of Cultures and Religions and “the Conference on the Rights of Religious Minorities in Islamic Lands”.
Moreover, you are well aware of the decisive role that Morocco effectively played in the creation and structuring of the Global Counterterrorism Forum. He also served as its joint chairman for three terms from 2015 to 2022. All of this work is the concrete expression of proactive policies that stem from our responsibilities and our commitments to the components of the international community.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We are convinced of the importance of coexistence and dialogue and firmly attached to the values of moderation and tolerance which encourage us to reject all forms of intolerance, hatred and extremism. We are also convinced of the need to implement policies to achieve these objectives. In this respect, in Morocco, we are proud of what we have accomplished in the field of management of the religious field, and of the performance of the institutions that We have created for this purpose, including those provided for by the Constitution. This is the case, in particular, of the Superior Council of Ulemas: the only authority empowered to issue fatwas in order to prevent any transgression of the purposes assigned to these advisory opinions.
The achievements accomplished by the institutions of religious supervision that We have created to spread the values of moderation, tolerance and living together are also a source of pride for Us. In addition to the Rabita Mohammadia des Oulémas, one of the key partners in the organization of your conference, let us mention more particularly the Mohammed VI Institute for the training of imams, morchidines and morchidates, the Mohammed VI Foundation of African Ulemas which is responsible for pooling and coordinating efforts made by African ulama to promote these values. All this work responds to the duty of solidarity and mutual aid which is spiritually incumbent on Us towards Our brothers in other African countries.
In the same vein, we must realize that by succeeding in establishing a fruitful dialogue between religions and civilizations, we will respond to many problems and several challenges threatening the future of our planet and compromising the ideal of living together. All on board the same ship, we face the same destiny. Faced with these challenges, we must imagine now what the world we want to bequeath to future generations will be like. This is the responsibility of parliaments, religious institutions, intellectual elites, governments, civil society and the press.
In conclusion, We reiterate our warm welcome to your second country, Morocco, a land of tolerance, coexistence, diversity and fraternity, and a crossroads of fruitful encounters during which major issues are addressed in the interest of the ‘Humanity and at the service of its future. Finally, we wish you every success in your work.
Wassalamou alaikoum warahmatoullahi wabarakatouh”.