More than 250 Muslim scholars, from over 120 countries, have called for religious freedom for non-Muslims in majority-Muslim countries.
In a declaration signed on 27 January in Marrakesh, Morocco, the clerics said that it is wrong to discriminate against religious minorities in Muslim countries.
They paid particular attention to Muhammad’s Charter of Medina when drafting the declaration, which gives instructions for governing a religiously pluralistic state, and was issued shortly after Muhammad arrived in Medina.
In particular, the declaration references the charter’s “principles of constitutional contractual citizenship” and “freedom of movement, property ownership, mutual solidarity and defense, as well as principles of justice and equality before the law”, in regards to Muslims and non-Muslims.
“The objectives of the Charter of Medina provide a suitable framework for national constitutions in countries with Muslim majorities, and the United Nations Charter and related documents, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, are in harmony with the Charter of Medina, including consideration for public order,” states the Marrakesh Declaration.
The declaration challenges a broad network of Muslims–including educational institutions, politicians, and artists–to fight extremism.
“[We] call upon the various religious groups bound by the same national fabric to address their mutual state of selective amnesia that blocks memories of centuries of joint and shared living on the same land,” it states. “We call upon them to rebuild the past by reviving this tradition of conviviality, and restoring our shared trust that has been eroded by extremists using acts of terror and aggression.”
The gathering was chaired by the United Arab Emirates Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies and sponsored by the government of Morocco.
For decades now, Morocco has been trying to counter Islamic extremism by training foreign scholars in order to disseminate a model of Islam based on tolerance, moderation and intercultural dialogue. Hundreds of clerics from Africa, as well as a few from European countries, including France and Belgium, have already been trained.
In July 2015, it launched the Mohammed VI Foundation for African Ulama, aimed at to unifying the efforts of Muslim scholars across the continent.
Source: Christianity Today