Source: International Institute for Education and Research on Antisemitism (IIBSA), 17.6.2014
Rabat. 60 NGO activists, educators, blogger and journalists from 15 Moroccan cities and villages spread all over Morocco gathered on 14 and 15 of June in the Moroccan capital Rabat to discuss strategies in order to promote tolerance and to combat all forms of discrimination in Morocco, with a specific focus on antisemitism. The two-days event with the title „National Meeting on Tolerance. Towards a National Strategy to promote Tolerance“ was organized by the Moroccan nationwide organization Dialogus in cooperation with the International Institute for Education and Research on Antisemitism (IIBSA) based in Berlin and London. During the event, recommendations for state institutions and media were developed focusing on related main problems in Moroccan society: discrimination and hatred against homosexuals, Jews and Israel, handicapped people, the Amazigh (‘Berber’) population and Black people, as well as discrimination of women in general.
The event was opened on Saturday afternoon with a panel discussion bringing together intellectuals, Human Rights activists, researchers and a state representative in charge of educational programs in Southern Morocco. They discussed together the concept of tolerance, respect, the forms of discrimination in Morocco and which new approaches are needed. Hassan Aourid, a famous Moroccan intellectual and former spokesperson and chief historian of the Moroccan palace, with strong ties to the Moroccan King Mohammed IV also intervened spontaneously at the event. He stated that tolerance, which means for him respect, is the topic which has to be dealt with now.
On Sunday, two workshops for NGO activists, journalists and educators, focused on „Antisemitism and hate crime in Morocco“ as well as on „Tolerance Education for Moroccan schools and universities“. The workshops developed recommendations for Moroccan state institutions and media, including the following:
All Moroccan laws with discriminatory content have to be removed and laws against all forms of discrimination be implemented in the new „loi organique“ (organic law) foreseen by the new Moroccan constitution of 2011, but still pending. All religious juridical institutions should be removed and replaced by civil juridical institutions. The rights of the individual has to be recognized, especially the freedom of sexual orientation, and the freedom of religious or no-religious believes.
Moroccan official institutions have been asked to change the term „Arab Maghreb“ in all official documents to the geographic description of the region „Grand Maghreb“, so as to include all populations living in the area.
Moroccan mosques and other religious places should be stronger controlled by the Moroccan state and be stopped to call for any kind of discrimination.
Official teaching material for schools and academic education, especially on the topic of Islam, has to be revised in its entirety and all discriminatory contents to be removed. Education on Human Rights should be included in teaching materials with reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other broader Human Rights declarations. Furthermore, tolerance education has to be included in the curriculum for school and academic educators.
The official Moroccan history has to be scientifically rewritten to include all historical components of Morocco’s society and their contributions to Moroccan history.
The Moroccan government has to stop the discrimination of women and include them equally in all Moroccan institutions.
The media, especially state media, should report in a neutral and objective manner and without discriminatory content. Furthermore, the media should include members of discriminated groups in their audio-visual programs, especially Black people.
After the conference, the president of the Moroccan organization Dialogus, Abdellah Benhssi, stated: „The conference was a great success. This event symbolizes a milestone for all participants and for Morocco in general. It is the first time that so many educators, civil society activists, blogger and journalists gathered from all over Morocco to discuss all forms of discrimination, including some of the biggest taboos: antisemitism, homophobia, discrimination of Berbers and black people. The network that was built-up will help us in the future to combat these forms of hatred.“ Kim Robin Stoller, co-director of the International Institution for Education and Research on Antisemitism, reinforced the importance of the event: „This event is exceptional for the so called Arabic-Islamic world. It will have a major impact on Moroccan civil society and opens the possibility of further co-operation. I was impressed by the conversations and discussions. This network should be supported in Morocco and from abroad to make a real difference in Morocco.“