MARRAKESH, JANUARY 29, 2016(CISA)-Muslim leaders from around the world have adopted a declaration to defend the rights of religious minorities in predominantly Muslim countries.
Hundreds of both Sunni and Shiite scholars from 120 countries gathered in Marrakesh to consider the plight of non-Muslim minorities in largely Muslim nations.
Speaking during the conference, King Mohammed VI of Morocco said that the kingdom would never tolerate violation of the rights of religious minorities.
“We in the Kingdom of Morocco will not tolerate the violation of the rights of religious minorities in the name of Islam,” King Mohammed VI stated at the January 25-27 conference.
“I am enabling Christians and Jews to practice their faith and not just as minorities. They even serve in the government,” he added.
The declaration said “conditions in various parts of the Muslim world have deteriorated dangerously due to the use of violence and armed struggle as a tool for settling conflicts and imposing one’s point of view which has enabled criminal groups to issue edicts that “alarmingly distort “ Islam’s “fundamental principles and goals.”
Participants said the Marrakesh Declaration, developed during a January 25-27, 2016, conference was based on the Medina Charter, a constitutional contract between the Prophet Muhammad and the people of Medina.
The declaration said the charter, instituted 1,400 years ago, guaranteed the religious liberty of all, regardless of faith.
The reports also stated that politicians and leaders need to take necessary steps to legally “fortify relations and understanding among the various religious groups in the Muslim world.”
The declaration said cooperation must be based on “A Common Word,” a statement issued in 2007 and originally signed by 138 Muslim scholars and endorsed later by dozens of other Muslim leaders.
Addressed to then-Pope Benedict XVI and the heads of other Christian churches, the statement called for new efforts at Christian-Muslim dialogue based on the shared belief in the existence of one God, in God’s love for humanity and in people’s obligation to love one another.
With such a large percentage of the world’s population belonging to the Christian or Muslim faith, the Common Word scholars insisted “the future of the world depends on peace between Muslims and Christians.”
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Emeritus Archbishop of Washington has welcomed the recently signed declaration to protect religious minorities in the world.
Cardinal McCarrick said that document would help ensure all religions take care and protect one another in their undertakings.
“It is truly a great document, one that will influence our times and our history,” the prelate said, according to a Catholic News Service report.
“It is a document that our world has been waiting for and a tribute to the Muslim scholars who prepared it. As one of the People of the Book, I thank you for this document and I thank the Lord God who has provided his followers the courage to prepare this document,” added Cardinal McCarrick soon after the declaration was adopted in Morrocco.
The 50 non-Muslim religious leaders at the Marrakesh conference shared concerns over violence in the name of religion, limitations of citizenship, restrictions on freedom of religion or belief, and xenophobia, especially Islamophobia by members of their religions; reaffirmed values shared with Muslims; and asked forgiveness for past and current injuries for which their communities are complicit.