Pope Francis made a visit to Morocco in 2019 that was of great significance, as it provided an opportunity for him to engage in discussions with representatives of different religions about interreligious dialogue and mutual understanding. Over the course of two days, both King Mohammed VI and Pope Francis delivered speeches to followers of the three monotheistic religions at the Hassan Tower esplanade.
The Hassan Tower, link between Al-Koutoubia in Marrakech and the Giralda in Seville
In a stirring speech, King Mohammed VI spoke about the challenges facing the world today. Highlighting the need to combat betrayal and the misuse of religion. He advocated for brotherhood among followers of different faiths and celebrated the harmonious coexistence of religions in Morocco. The King reaffirmed the freedom to practice religion in the country, and assured the safety of Moroccan Jews and foreign Christians living there.
During his address, the King also reflected on the significance of the location where the meeting was held. He explained that the site, situated at the convergence of the Bouregreg River and the Atlantic Ocean. This symbolizes a harmonious balance, and serves as a spiritual and cultural bridge between Africa and Europe. The location is also on the same axis that connects the Al-Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech and the Giralda in Seville, making it a powerful emblem of cultural exchange.
King Mohammed VI has also warmly welcomed Pope Francis to the country. He cite the historic visit of Pope John Paul II to Morocco as evidence of the enduring relationship between Morocco and the Vatican. The visit coincided with the blessed month of Rajab, which is a time of reflection and unity across the Muslim world, and celebrates the welcome given by Christians to Muslims during the first Hijra.
Hassan Tower: Pope Francis pleads for respectful dialogue and solidarity
During his visit to Morocco, Pope Francis called for a more united and engaged society, rooted in a culture of dialogue that respects the differences and specificities of every person and people. He emphasized the importance of developing this culture to overcome tensions and misunderstandings, while also uniting believers in the face of fanaticism and fundamentalism.
The Pope’s words were a stirring call to action, urging people to work together towards a brighter future for all. He emphasized the importance of building bridges between communities, and cultivating a sense of solidarity that transcends religious and cultural differences.
During his visit, Pope Francis also took the time to visit the Mohammed VI Institute for Imams and Preachers, a center dedicated to promoting interfaith dialogue and understanding. This visit was a powerful symbol of the Pope’s commitment to building bridges between different faiths and cultures, and his recognition of the important role that religious leaders can play in promoting peace and harmony in the world.