Freedom of Faith in Morocco


Religious pluralism and doctrinal diversity are a defining characteristic of Moroccan society, contributing to its cultural richness and historical legacy. Despite embracing individuals from diverse religious backgrounds, Morocco has maintained a remarkable history of peace and harmony, devoid of religiously motivated conflicts or sectarian strife. The Moroccan Constitution of 2011 acknowledges Morocco as an Islamic state safeguarding the solidarity of its national identity, unified by the fusion of all its components: Arab-Islamic, Amazigh, and Hassani, enriched by its African, Andalusian, Hebrew, and Mediterranean influences.

Historical Context:

  • Religious pluralism has been a longstanding feature of Moroccan society, shaping its cultural identity for centuries.
  • Morocco has avoided conflicts or wars in the name of religion, demonstrating a history of peace and coexistence among its population.
  • Cooperation and solidarity among Moroccans, regardless of faith, have been evident at various stages, positioning Moroccan society as a model of communal living and respect for diversity.

Principles of Coexistence:

  • Morocco strives to maintain peace in dealing with religious minorities within the Muslim community, guided by principles of coexistence and mutual respect.
  • Late King Mohammed V exemplifies Morocco's commitment to religious tolerance and inclusivity, as demonstrated by his refusal to comply with discriminatory policies and resisting the endeavors by the French Vichy government to transfer the Jewish population within Morocco to the Nazi concentration camps.
  • The religious pluralism in Moroccan society has enriched its civilization, fortifying the community against discrimination, and fostering an environment of mutual respect and tolerance.


Legal Framework:

  • Morocco's 2011 Constitution reaffirms the state's commitment to religious pluralism and tolerance, enshrining principles of equality and diversity.
  • The constitution recognizes various religious streams and guarantees the rights of non-Muslim Moroccans to practice their religious rituals without constraint.
  • Chapter III of the Moroccan Constitution guarantees for every individual the freedom to practice their religion, with an entire branch of criminal law dedicated to the protection of freedom of faith.

Moroccan Jewish component:

  • Morocco, within its diversity, ensures the presence of Hebrew courts to address Jewish affairs, affirming the kingdom's commitment to maintaining this component within the comprehensive system of national identity that brings together various cultural streams.
  • The recognition of the Jewish component is not a product of the current constitution but has been practiced both before and after independence.
  • The Moroccan constitution views the Jewish component as a source of richness and pursuit of the Moroccan identity, thus preserving it through museums, encouraging and showcasing Jewish culture, and promoting religious festivals. This constitutional recognition ensures legal protection and seeks to enhance its presence within Moroccan society.

Morocco’s longstanding relations with the Vatican:

Papal Visits to Morocco:

Morocco and the Vatican enjoy longstanding diplomatic relations dating back to 1976. The first Papal visit of Pope Jean Paul II in 1985 and his grand reception by late King Hassan II, marked a historic moment in interfaith dialogue between Morocco and catholic world. The second visit of Pope Francis in 2019 aimed to bolster dialogue between Christians and Muslims and strengthen world peace. The religious leader received a unique welcome by His Majesty King Mohammed VI, emphasizing the continuous dialogue between religions. Beyond the importance of that papal visit may have on the global stage, as it has signified a new era in Muslim-Christian relations. In this regard, the visit was perceived as a manifestation of “a strong will for coexistence among the Abrahamic religions.”

Marrakech Declaration on Religious Freedom:

In January 2016, a landmark Declaration on Religious Freedom was signed in Marrakech, following the gathering of over 300 Muslim scholars, interfaith leaders, and international observers from over 120 countries, including from the United States. The participants in this event sought to establish a declaration by Muslim scholars and intellectuals consolidating the human rights and fundamental freedoms of members of religious minorities as equal citizens in Muslim-majority countries.

A consensus document among the participating scholars and intellectuals has been made providing a powerful tool from within the Muslim tradition for promoting respect for religious freedom.

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