Casablanca hosted a conference to celebrate International Holocaust Remembrance Day, in which the role played by the King of Morocco was highlighted

Mohamed VI y su importante rol en la defensa del patrimonio cultural y religioso judeo-marroquí

PHOTO/FILE - Mohammed VI

The King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, is seen as a key figure in the preservation and promotion of Moroccan-Jewish cultural and religious heritage. This was underlined at a conference in Casablanca on Sunday to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day. 

Attendees praised Mohamed VI's work for important values such as tolerance and inter-religious dialogue, as well as his efforts to preserve the cultural and religious heritage of the Moroccan-Jewish community and enhance its influence, as reported by Morocco's official news agency MAP.  

Participants praised the King of Morocco's vision for the preservation of Moroccan-Jewish heritage and the modernisation of the institutions that manage the daily affairs of members of the Jewish community, noting that the Moroccan kingdom's stance under the leadership of Mohamed VI has contributed to strengthening the ties of Moroccans of Jewish faith living abroad with their homeland. 

Mohammed VI is considered Amir Al Mouminine, the prince or emir of the believers. This is an Islamic title traditionally associated with that of caliph, which indicates that its bearer is the highest religious authority among Muslims. In the case of the King of Morocco, this title also seeks to promote peaceful and respectful coexistence between different religions, despite the differences that may exist between communities. 


It is worth noting that the historical ties between Morocco and the Jewish community are important. At its peak in the 1940s, Morocco's Jewish population exceeded 250,000. Today, an estimated 5,000 Jews live in the country. Moroccan Jews and their descendants can be found in various countries such as Israel, France, Canada, Spain, Argentina and Venezuela. And of course, the Moroccan kingdom also pays attention to all of them in a relevant and important work in favour of the cohabitation of the different religious confessions, avoiding any confrontation.  

During the ceremony, held at the Beth El Synagogue, the participants recalled the actions of the late Mohammed V and Hassan II, Mohammed VI's ancestors, in the defence and protection of Moroccan Jews in the face of the Nazi horror experienced during the French occupation.  

On the occasion of this commemoration organised by the Mimouna Association, the Council of Jewish Communities of Morocco (CCIM) and the United Nations Information Centre in Rabat, the president of the association, El Mehdi Boudra, underlined the efforts of the late King Mohammed V to protect Moroccan Jews against the oppression suffered under the Vichy regime, established after the occupation of France by Nazi Germany.  

In this regard, he praised the "courage of the late Mohammed V, who did not give in to pressure from the Nazis", pointing out that the Mimouna Association, founded at Al Akhawayn University by a group of young Muslims, aims to raise awareness among young people about Moroccan-Jewish cultural heritage, as reported by MAP.  

For his part, the secretary general of the CCIM, Serge Berdugo, recalled the hard work of the late King Mohammed V, who opposed the aims of the Vichy regime when the Kingdom of Morocco was under French and Spanish colonial occupation. 

Serge Berdugo referred to the sufferings endured by Moroccans, Muslims and Jews, during the period of colonisation, adding that the Royal Court, despite all the pressures to which it was subjected, ensured the defence of the rights of Moroccans, of all faiths, and the protection of their property. 

For her part, the acting head of the Israel Liaison Office in Rabat, Alona Fisher Kamm, added at this great Holocaust memorial event that it was an opportunity to evoke this suffering in order to raise awareness of the dangers of hatred and racism. In this regard, she highlighted the efforts of the Moroccan Royal Court over the centuries to protect Moroccan Jews, as reported by MAP. 

For his part, the US ambassador to Morocco, Puneet Talwar, stressed that King Mohammed V showed courage in the face of the Nazis to protect Moroccans of Jewish faith during this complicated historical episode, noting that the same approach was followed by Hassan II and the current monarch Mohammed VI. He added that Morocco is a "role model" for the region and the whole world, especially as the world is currently witnessing a resurgence of certain manifestations of hatred and violence, which constitutes "a danger that must be confronted", as reported by MAP. Although, in this sense, work continues in various spheres on interreligious coexistence with initiatives such as this one promoted from Morocco or with others such as the Document for Human Fraternity sealed in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on 4 February 2019 by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed al-Tayeb, which highlights the obligation of Muslims and Christians to watch over every human person and which seeks to preserve peace in these dangerous times sometimes marked by "religious extremism".