Hilale: Morocco reaffirms its commitment to peace and dialogue between religions and cultures

Omar Hilale, Morocco’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, reiterated the Kingdom’s unwavering commitment to peace and communication between religions and civilizations at a high-level event in New York on Tuesday.

“The Kingdom of Morocco reiterates its unwavering commitment to the promotion of the values of peace, dialogue between religions and cultures, mutual respect, and human dignity, and remains ready to continue its commitment to combat hate speech,” said Mr. Hilale during the forum, which was organized at the initiative of the President of the United Nations General Assembly under the theme “Transformative role of the United Nations General Assembly.”

Morocco, he said, works hard to develop the principles of peace, harmony, and respect for cultural and religious diversity at the national, regional, and international levels, under the High Guidance of His Majesty King Mohammed VI.

The diplomat emphasized Morocco’s support for the UN’s efforts to make the promotion of a culture of peace and dialogue between religions and cultures the center of attention, recalling that the culture of peace is the UN’s raison d’être because it embodies the three pillars that guide its action, namely: development, peace and security, and human rights.

“In order to address the many challenges that our world is currently facing, particularly the rise of ideological conflicts, intolerance, identity withdrawal, violence, and extremism, the Kingdom of Morocco, as an active, responsible, and active actor in the international community, believes that a strengthening of multilateralism and of our organization’s collective and coherent action is necessary.

In this regard, Mr. Hilale emphasized Morocco’s long history of encouraging intercultural, interreligious, and inter-civilizational discourse as a crossroads for the meeting and blending of many cultures and civilizations.

“Respect for cultural and religious diversity is an integral part of Moroccan society’s daily life and collective conscience,” he said, recalling His Holiness Pope Francis’ historic visit to Morocco on March 30 and 31, 2019, at the invitation of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, Commander of the Faithful, the second after Pope John Paul II in 1985, and which represents a significant step forward.

Morocco also places a great emphasis on education, which is a vital component of progress, the maintenance of a peaceful society, and the fight against prejudice, intolerance, and extremism, according to the ambassador.

“From a young age, the principles of respect, openness, variety, and human rights are instilled in Moroccan education. In this context, textbooks and school curricula are systematically and periodically reviewed to include the values of living together, harmony, and tolerance,” he said, citing Morocco’s recent decision to teach Jewish history and culture in Arabic to Moroccan students beginning in primary school at the start of the current school year as an example.

Mr. Hilale also remembered the Kingdom’s numerous measures, such as the field reform, in order to showcase the Islamic religion’s righteous, noble, and respectful principles and combat all types of radicalism and extremism. The establishment of the Mohammed VI Foundation of the Oulemas, as well as the Mohammed VI Institute for training imames, morchidines, and morchidates, are examples of religious education, upgrading religious education, and promoting cooperation with brotherly and friendly countries, particularly African countries.

Morocco’s actions in the fight against all forms of discrimination, xenophobia, hatred, and rejection of others, including Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and Christianophobia, were also highlighted by the Ambassador, with Morocco contributing significantly to the adoption and implementation of action plans, documents, and resolutions that form the cornerstone of UN efforts and initiatives aimed at promoting the culture of tolerance.

The Moroccan ambassador emphasized the transformative role of peace culture, especially in the face of challenges such as the current health crisis, saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the international community to emphasize the centrality and importance of building a peaceful, stable, and prosperous world.

“This epidemic has demonstrated how important it is to foster a culture of peace in order to bridge divides between and within societies,” he added.

And to emphasize the critical role of religious leaders in addressing the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, recalling that the Kingdom, in response to the UN Secretary General’s appeal, held a high-level video conference in May 2020 titled “The Role of Religious Leaders in Addressing the Multiple Challenges of COVID-19.” Morocco was also the driving force behind the UN General Assembly’s unanimous approval of Resolution 75/309 on “Combating Hate Speech: Promoting Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue and Tolerance” last July.

According to Mr. Hilale, this resolution outlines three concrete actions of the multilateral commitment, of which the United Nations will serve as the catalyst, to strengthen the fight against hate speech, racism, and discrimination, including the proclamation of June 18 each year as “International Day against Hate Speech,” the convening of a High Level Meeting of the General Assembly on June 18, and the designation of June 18 as “International Day against Hate Speech.”

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