US Department Praises Religious Freedom in Morocco

The United States Department of State praised Morocco for religious freedoms in its 2021 World Religious Freedom Report.

The United States has highlighted the initiatives launched by the Kingdom in this regard and Anthony Blinken, the American Secretary of State, did not fail to recall this during a press conference yesterday in Washington, DC, at the occasion of the publication by its US State Department of a report on international religious freedom for the year 2021.Last year, the Kingdom of Morocco launched an initiative to renovate Jewish heritage sites, such as places of worship and cemeteries, and to include Jewish history in the Moroccan school curriculumBlinken said.

In this context, the report states that King Mohammed VI, on December 14 last year, launched an initiative to rehabilitate Jewish heritage sites, in particular hundreds of synagogues, Jewish cemeteries and other sites. Jews in many cities. The report also welcomed the announcement by the national education sector to include Jewish heritage and history in Arabic and French in public education curricula. The document indicates that the State guarantees freedom of thought, expression and assembly, which the Constitution stipulates.

In this respect, the State must therefore guarantee everyone the freedom of their religious rituals. The King also holds the title of Commander of the Faithful and, as such, he protects Islam and guarantees the freedom of practice of all religions in the country. The report estimates that 99% of Muslims in Morocco, less than 0.1% of the population are Shia Muslims and less than 1% are Christians and Jews. The US State Department, however, has notified in its document that “Sunni Muslims and Jews are the only religious groups recognized in the Constitution as natives of the Kingdom“. For converts to Christianity, the document emphasizes that “the ecclesial authority of Morocco indicated that no fact of pressure from the authorities on converts to renounce their faith was mentioned“.

Moreover, the report’s data is based on the leaders of the Jewish community in Morocco, to estimate that there are approximately two to three thousand five hundred Jews in the kingdom. Two thousand five hundred of them live in the city of Casablanca. As for the Christians, their number would not exceed, at the best of the cases, the two thousand people, and they are distributed a little everywhere in the country. If the report was somewhat less benevolent against the latter, regretting that certain freedoms are slow to be released precisely, it was full of praise on the other hand when it came to Judaism. Indeed, the US State Department recalls that “Jewish citizens continued to report living and attending services in synagogues safely” and “said they can regularly visit religious sites and organize annual commemorations“.

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