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U.S. report on 'religious freedoms around the World' hails Morocco's efforts in promoting tolerance.

Summary: The U.S. State Department hailed, on Friday, Morocco's efforts in the field of religion, and its role in promoting understanding and tolerance among different religions.

The 2008 report on "Religious Freedoms around the World", released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, stressed that Morocco "continues to encourage tolerance,a respect, and dialogue among religious groups." <p>aaa "Morocco participates in the Alliance of Civilizations and other internationala groups that promote religious tolerance," according to the annual report whose presentation took place at the State Department during a press conference held by U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, John V. Hanford III.

aaa The report, covering 198 countries, also stressed the coexistence betweena the Muslim, Jewish, Christian and other communities.

aaa The Moroccan government providesa tax benefits, land and building grants, subsidies, and customs exemptions fora imports necessary for the religious activities of the major religious groups,a namely Muslims, Jews, and Christians, the same source said.

aaa "The Government's annual education budgeta funds the teaching of Islam in many public schools, and Judaism in some publica schools. The Government also funds the study of Jewish culture and its artistic,a literary, and scientific heritage," the report added, recalling that at the University of Rabat, Hebrew anda comparative religion are taught in the Department of Islamic Studies.

aaa "Throughout the country, approximately 13 professors teach Hebrew," the document pointed out, underlining that Morocco "is the only Arab nation with a Jewish museum."

aaa The same source also mentioned the religious lectures organized during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and chaired bya King Mohammed VI, which are attended by Muslim religious scholars from around the world, including the United States.

aaa These lectures, the report went on, "consider ways to promote moderate anda peaceful religious interpretations and encourage tolerance and mutual respecta within Islam and between other religions."

aaa The report noted that the Jewish annual commemorations are held throughout the country and Jewish pilgrims regularly visit the sacred places, stressing that "a small foreign Christian communitya operates churches, orphanages, hospitals, and schools without governmenta restriction."

aaa The Moroccan government "monitors and works to counter extremism in the name ofa religion by promoting religious tolerance," said the document.

It also recalled the annual "Fez Festival ofa Sacred Music, which included musicians from Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu,a Buddhist, and other spiritual traditions."

aaa During the preparation of this report, U.S. officials "encountereda no interference from the Government in making contacts with members of anya religious group," concluded the document, which will be submitted to the Congress.

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Publication:UMCI News (Potomac Falls, VA)
Date:Sep 21, 2008
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