SUMMARY: THE MARRAKESH DECLARATION AND COMMITMENTS TO ACTION
16 November 2011
Engaging Historic Faiths to Advance the Common Good in the Middle East and North Africa Region
We—religious leaders from across the Middle East–North Africa (MENA) region—have gathered together in Marrakesh, Morocco, 15-16 November 2011, as partners in advancing the common good in our region. We gather during a time of momentous change. We urge all to eschew violence. In particular, we are concerned that misunderstanding among our communities can all too easily be exploited to provoke intolerance or hostility in the name of religion. We deplore and condemn this misuse of our religions. Our religions are for peace.
We acknowledge with appreciation the Moroccan heritage of amicable, respectful and fraternal relations among the Muslim, Christian and Jewish religious communities. It is a heritage with deep roots across our region that is of incalculable importance today. Moreover, the shared commitment to the common good that lies at the heart of these historic fraternal relations should today be extended to all persons.
We gather united in our religious convictions that the Divine and Holy One— understood in each of our religious traditions’ own ways—is the true and ultimate source of human dignity and of all the rights and duties that flow from it. We also respect our religious differences. Our commitment to principled collaborative action is based on our shared moral obligations to advance and protect the human dignity of all.
We received a profound and far-reaching call for the Muslim and Christian communities of the region to develop a “contract of mutual care” in which each community identifies the religious grounds for respecting and protecting the well-being of the other community as a solemn obligation that is linked with the practice of faith. Such agreements need to be developed in various ways among all three Abrahamic religious communities: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. We pledge ourselves to help support our respective religious communities to develop fraternal agreements that make clear their religious duties to honor and stand in solidarity with one another. Furthermore, on the most basic level, we also recognize that each of our respective traditions acknowledges the inviolable God-given dignity of all people, including those who are not part of the Abrahamic family of religions. We pledge ourselves to work together to promote and protect the fundamental dignity of all, including their related rights and duties. We are committed to advancing respect for religious differences and the protection of freedom of religion across our region. We are also committed in a most special way to stand together in solidarity with all vulnerable religious communities and to advocate for their protection.
We note with appreciation the United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18 adopted in April of this year. This resolution helpfully calls on all states to take action to foster an environment of religious tolerance, peace and respect. It urges them to address and combat advocacy of religious hatred against individuals. It affirms all of the rights related to religious freedom. It recognizes that the incitement to imminent violence based on religion or belief should be criminalized. And, it calls upon states to foster religious freedom and pluralism by promoting the ability of members of all religious communities to manifest their religion, and contribute openly and on an equal footing in society. This far-reaching resolution advanced by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and supported by its member states deserves the backing of all states. We urge the adoption of a new resolution based on it in the United Nations General Assembly and also urge all governments to implement it.
We are united in our conviction that all citizens have basic rights and freedoms and deserve protection. We also believe that diverse communities must be respected and protected. We will lead our religious believers in dialogues aimed at building understanding and good will among our respective communities. We will work together to resist any manipulation of religion for non-religious purposes. We will also work to educate our believers about their solemn responsibility to stand in solidarity with all the vulnerable religious communities. We must all stand together for the protection of the rights of each community, and we are committed to doing so together.
We are united in the conviction that religious communities should actively help to ensure that governments fulfill their principal mandate of honoring and protecting the fundamental dignity, safety and well-being of all of their citizens, including their related religious and other rights. As religious leaders, we call on all religious believers to become a united moral force to help ensure that governments honor the full rights, protect and serve all of their citizens without exceptions. This must be especially true in Jerusalem, a city holy to the three Abrahamic religions. We call on all governments and international institutions to achieve a just peace in Jerusalem, and the Holy Land. We pledge our support.
We are convinced that there must be principled partnerships among all stakeholders in the MENA region for the common good. We reaffirm the important role of our youth and women, who must be included in the great task of advancing the region. We recognize that they must take their due places in multi-religious dialogues and we commit to facilitating their participation. We also call for expanded opportunities for principled partnerships for all stakeholders, as we pledge ourselves as the Religions for Peace MENA Council to serve as a partner with all stakeholders in efforts to advance the common good.
Finally, religion, for us, can never simply be reduced to a theme, a topic or a social sector. It is a total way of life concerned with every dimension of human existence. We believe our religious communities will make positive contributions to all dimensions of personal and social existence essential for the flourishing of our MENA region. Respectful of our religious differences, we each believe that it is faith in God that calls us to cooperate with each other and all men and women of good will to build Peace.
Key Action Resolutions: