Moroccan King Urges United Action on Religious Extremism at Arab League Summit
Washington, DC, July 27, 2016 (MACP) — In a speech delivered on his behalf at the Arab League Summit in Nouakchott, Mauritania on Monday, Morocco’s King Mohammed VI called for “an objective, impartial analysis of the situation prevailing in the Arab world” and cooperation “in the region and with the world around us” to combat Islamic extremism, which he described as a distortion of the Muslim faith.
“How is it possible,” the King asked, “that we should fail to be at the forefront of those who are developing multi-dimensional strategies and effective, practical plans to confront this destructive scourge, of which we are the source as well as the target?
“How can anyone claim that our pristine Islamic faith – the religion of moderation, the middle-of-the-road faith – is prevailing when extremists and terrorists are continuing to distort it in order to justify their criminal acts against individuals and nations, without our refuting their biased interpretations and false arguments through appropriate means?
“Is it fair that a distorted image should be associated with us and our children in the eyes of the community of nations, when we are the torch-bearers of a message of enlightenment, we have made proven contributions to the development of human civilization and we are duty-bound to continue to interact with other nations, for the good of mankind?”
Morocco has long championed a counterterrorism strategy that implements both hard and soft power measures. The US State Department’s 2015 Country Reports on Terrorism acknowledged Morocco’s “comprehensive strategy for countering violent extremism that prioritizes economic and human development goals in addition to tight control of the religious sphere and messaging.” It stated that “Morocco has developed a national strategy to affirm and further institutionalize Morocco’s widespread adherence to the Maliki-Ashari school of Sunni Islam” and promote “the teaching of relatively moderate Islam.” And in January of this year, Morocco hosted a historic three-day international conference on the future of pluralism in the Muslim world attended by hundreds of scholars and religious leaders from all faiths. The resulting “Marrakesh Declaration” urged “Muslim educational institutions and authorities to conduct a courageous review of educational curricula that addresses honestly and effectively any material that instigates aggression and extremism,” and affirmed “that it is unconscionable to employ religion for the purpose of aggressing upon the rights of religious minorities in Muslim countries,” among other commitments.
“King Mohammed VI’s powerful message comes at a moment when many countries are grappling with the aftermath of devastating terror attacks,” said former US Ambassador to Morocco Edward M. Gabriel. “Let there be no doubt that Morocco stands by all those fighting extremism in all its forms.”
Contact: Jordana Merran, 202.470.2049
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