Pope and King Mohammad called to protect multi-religious Jerusalem

BYYasir Rehman


At the invitation of King Mohammed VI, King of Morocco, the spiritual leader of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics Pope Francis paid visit to Morocco at the weekend with the aim of reiterating the long-standing relations between Morocco and the Vatican.

Muslim majority Morocco has about 35,000 Catholics population, many of them from sub-Saharan Africa. Pope Francis to Morocco is first in 34 years after first papal visit to Morocco since John Paul II in 1985.

King Mohammed VI invited the Catholics spiritual leader for the sake of inter-religious dialogue, said a statement issued by the Embassy of Morocco in Canberra.

It was Pope Francis second visit to a Muslim majority nation in two months after his visit to United Arab Emirates early February.

Pope Francis and Morocco’s King Mohammed VI echoed in the joint statement that Jerusalem should be a symbol of peaceful coexistence for Christians, Jews and Muslims.

“Jerusalem was common patrimony of humanity and especially the followers of the three monotheistic religions”, both leaders said in the joint statement.

The said that the specific multi-religious character, the spiritual dimension and the particular cultural identity of Jerusalem must be protected and promoted.

During his two day visit, Pope Francis besides meeting with King Mohammed VI visited an institute where around 1,300 students are studying to become imams and preachers.

On Sunday Pope Francis celebrated mass at a Rabat stadium with an estimated 10,000 people in attendance. He also visited a church-run social services center and met with Catholic priests and other Christian representatives.

Photo: BBC

Speaking in Rabat’s cathedral, the pontiff warned Catholics against trying to convert people to their own belief, saying this always leads to an impasse.