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US Department of State Highlights Morocco's Efforts to Promote Tolerance, Interfaith Dialogue

The US department of state highlighted Morocco's efforts, under the leadership of HM King Mohammed VI, Commander of the Faithful, to promote tolerance and interfaith dialogue.

In its 2018 report on international religious freedom, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom underlined that the sovereign "continued to support the restoration of synagogues and Jewish cemeteries throughout the country," saying that these efforts were necessary to preserve the country's religious and cultural heritage and to serve as a symbol of tolerance.

Since 2012, an estimated 170 Jewish cemeteries across 40 provinces have been restored, it added.

The report recalled that, in May 2018, the Archives of Morocco signed a cooperation agreement with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) to facilitate the sharing of documentation on Jewish history in Morocco, adding that the USHMM delegation met with country's leaders to discuss continuing collaboration between the museum and the country's National Archives to promote religious tolerance and awareness.

The document also recalled that, on September 26, Head of Government El Othmani delivered a message from HM the King at a UN roundtable table on "The Power of Education in Preventing Racism and Discrimination: The Case of Anti-Semitism" in New York on the margins of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly, saying that the message highlighted the country's preservation of its synagogues and noting the importance of "shedding light not only on humanity's glorious moments, but also its darkest hours."

"Anti-Semitism is the antithesis of freedom of expression. It implies a denial of the other and is an admission of failure, inadequacy and an inability to coexist," wrote the royal message quoted by the department of state.

The report said the government hosted the second International Conference on Intercultural and Interfaith Dialogue in Fez from September 10 to 12, where HM King Mohammed VI delivered remarks underscoring the tradition of coexistence in Morocco between Muslims and Jews and openness to other religions.

The report added that, in November, the Ministry of Culture, in partnership with the Essaouira-Mogador Association, opened the Bayt Al Dakyra (House of Memory), a research center built from the remains of an old synagogue in Essaouira.

On December 11-12, UNESCO and the Aladdin Project in partnership with Mohammed V University, a public university in Rabat, hosted an international conference in Marrakech titled, "The Importance of History Teaching in Education: The Case of the Holocaust and Great Tragedies of History" and "Honoring the Righteous in the Muslim World," the same source said.

The organizers paid tribute to the "Muslim Righteous" from Morocco and other countries that helped Jews during the Second World War and discussed the importance of education for highlighting the different phases and experiences of coexistence in the region.