The upcoming visit to Morocco by Pope Francis in March is aimed at opening a dialogue between religions, which is expected by Moroccan Christians to try to shed light on their file.
The visit, which begins next month and follows the pope’s visit to the United Arab Emirates, was praised by the Director-General of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), calling for opening a new chapter in the history of interfaith relations.
ISESCO Director General Abdulaziz Al-Tuwaijri said that “what was announced by Pope Francis is confirmed by ISESCO’s reference documents related to the promotion of intercultural dialogue and the dissemination of the values of tolerance and co-existence between followers of religions and cultures, and ISESCO’s efforts to promote relations of understanding and cooperation between Muslims and Christians and to contribute In consolidating the foundations of international peace and security”.
Al-Tuwaijri welcomed Pope Francis’ visits to the ISESCO member states, praising their goals to “spread the values of respect, tolerance and cooperation among followers of religions within the framework of the common humanity, confront the currents of terrorism, extremism and hatred in the world and reduce the abuse of religions or encroachment upon their sanctities.”
Moroccan Christians are waiting for the Pope’s visit to Morocco, all hoping to serve their file and change the Moroccan authorities’ view of them and the reactions that will follow.
Although Pope Francis’ tour to a group of Arab countries is not the first of its kind, it receives a lot of energy. The Vatican News website commented: “When Greg Burke, director of the Vatican’s press office, Simply referred to the Pope’s fundamental importance for interreligious dialogue,”describing the visit as an example of a” meeting of cultures.”
“The signing of a joint statement will undoubtedly carry a pledge to continue promoting dialogue and mutual understanding between the followers of both faiths,” the website said.
“The road to peace, which can only be pursued by overcoming the difficulties of Muslim-Christian relations, which can create storms of mistrust and bias, is the most effective way to discourage – and perhaps extinguish – the sparks of religious fundamentalism that fuel terrorism and fear.”
This is not the first time that the Pope has visited an Islamic country. He was welcomed by the King of Jordan in Amman and visited some of the holiest Islamic sites, including the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Holy Land and the Blue Mosque in Turkey. He traveled as a pilgrim to Albania, Azerbaijan, Egypt and the Central African Republic where the Year of Mercy was opened.