Muslim leaders declare support for religious minorities in Islamic countries 


At a recent conference in Marrakech, a large international group of Muslim leaders adopted a Declaration defending the rights of religious minorities in predominantly Muslim countries.The Marrakech Declaration of 2016 is based on the Medina Charter, a constitutional contract between the Prophet Muhammad and the people of Medina made 1,400 years ago which guaranteed the religious liberty of all, regardless of faith. Muslim leaders from over 120 countries, government officials and representatives of persecuted religious communities — including Chaldean Catholics from Iraq – attended the Conference.

The Declaration stated: “conditions in various parts of the Muslim world have deteriorated dangerously due to the use of violence and armed struggle as a tool for settling conflicts and imposing one’s point of view,” which has enabled criminal groups to issue edicts that “alarmingly distort” Islam’s “fundamental principles and goals….. It is unconscionable to employ religion for the purpose of aggressing upon the rights of religious minorities in Muslim countries”.

Key points of the Declaration call on:

— Muslim scholars “to develop a jurisprudence of the concept of ‘citizenship’ which is inclusive of diverse groups.”

— Muslim educational institutions to review their curricula to address material that “instigates aggression and extremism, leads to war and chaos, and results in the destruction of our shared societies.”

— Politicians and leaders to take necessary steps to legally “fortify relations and understanding among the various religious groups in the Muslim world.”

— All members of society “to establish a broad movement for the just treatment of religious minorities in Muslim countries and to raise awareness as to their rights, and to work together to ensure the success of these efforts.”

— Religious groups to remove “selective amnesia that blocks memories of centuries of joint and shared living on the same land.”

The Marrakech Declaration emphasised co-operation and said this must be based on “A Common Word,” a statement issued in 2007 which was originally signed by 138 Muslim scholars and subsequently endorsed by dozens of other Muslim leaders. The 2007 statement was addressed to Christian leaders including then-Pope Benedict and called for new efforts at Christian-Muslim dialogue based on the shared belief in the existence of one God, in God’s love for humanity and in people’s obligation to love one another.

The Common Word scholars acknowledged that a large percentage of the world’s population belonged to the Christian or Muslim faith and therefore the world’s future depended on peace between Christians and Muslims. It stated “The basis for this peace and understanding already exists. It is part of the very foundational principles of both faiths: love of the one God, and love of the neighbour”.


ACN Malta