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American Muslims Working with Religious Authorities in N. Africa to Develop Protocols to Protect Religious Minorities

This is real commitment to religious freedom, in stark opposition to the hackneyed, biased and ineffectual ‘work’ of Zuhdi Jasser and the USCIRF. The USCIRF would do better to promote projects such as the one below (h/t: Kamal):

Working with Religious Authorities in N. Africa to Develop Protocols to Protect Religious Minorities

Last week, ISNA President Imam Mohamed Magid and ISNA Director of Community Outreach Dr. Mohamed Elsanousi met with high-ranking religious authorities and scholars in Morocco and Tunisia to discuss the rights of religious minorities in Muslim-majority countries across the globe.  Working in consultation with these authorities, they presented the idea of developing Islamic standards and protocols to guarantee equal participation of various religious groups in Muslim-majority countries.

ISNA is deeply concerned about the rights of religious minorities and among those with whom they met were Dr. Ahmed Toufiq, Moroccan Minister of Islamic Affairs and Endowment; Dr. Noureddine Khadmi, Tunisian Minister of Religious Affairs; and Dr. Abdul Aziz Othman al-Tuwaijri, General Manager of the Islamic Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ISESCO). All of them remain solidly committed to addressing this issue.

The Kingdom of Morocco has a history of harmonious coexistence between people of diverse religious backgrounds. Under the guidance of original Islamic scholarship stemming from some of the most reputable Islamic institutions in the Muslim world, both the Moroccan government and its majority-Muslim population peacefully coexist with the Moroccan Jewish and Christian communities. Similarly, developments in Tunisia following the Arab spring have re-energized a commitment to a pluralist democracy and to a guarantee of the rights of all people to wholly participate in government and society.

ISNA is committed to religious freedom and seeks to promote it not only in the United States, but also abroad.  We deeply appreciate the partnership of religious leaders of all faiths, particularly the way religious leaders and community members from Jewish and Christian faiths have wholeheartedly demonstrated their support for Muslims through the institutionalization of the campaign, Shoulder-to-Shoulder: Standing with American Muslims; Upholding American Values.

Similarly, ISNA is dedicated to standing in solidarity with people of other faiths everywhere, whether they constitute the majority or the minority.  Following this trip to Morocco and Tunisia, stay tuned for news about a series of activities, as ISNA works to promote a mechanism for developing standards and protocols on religious freedom and the role of religious minorities in the Muslim world.

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  • Zakariya Ali Sher

    @ Stephen: Yes, by all means. I’d love to converse with you. Do you have my e-mail?

  • Hard Core Atheist

    Love this and want to hear more. What came of this? What was discussed? What did they agree and disagree with? I need more!

  • Ryan Now these guys are going all out. How bad are they compared to pam gellar

  • @ Zakariya Ali Sher – and also Michael Elwood, if you’re reading this – would you mind if I correspond with you to ask you a question of two (non-related to this article)? If you would post a comment at one of my blog articles, your e-mail address will be visible to me but not to the public. Thanks.

  • Christian-friend

    Zakariya Ali Sher, the guy that I want to meet in person

  • Zakariya Ali Sher

    @ Mindy: I can’t speak much for the Christians in North Africa (as far as I was aware, Christianity historically was limited to communities like Pied-Noirs and a rare few Berber or Arab converts) but the Maghreb has had a very long and important Jewish presence, especially in Morocco. Al-Kahina, the Berber priestess who fought the Arab invaders, is said to have been Jewish (though this has been contested). Likewise, a number of Sephardim fled from Spain and resettled in Muslim lands following the Inquisition, and a fair number of Algerian raï and chaâbi musicians such as Blond-Blond, Reinette l’Oranaise and Maurice el Médioni were of Jewish extraction (and, on the other side of the Mediterranean, Israeli cantor was born in Rabat). During World War II, King Mohammed V prevented the Vichy from singling out the Jewish minority. He is even counted amongst the Yad Vashem. There is even a Jewish museum in Casablanca, and this past decade has seen a greatly increased effort on the part of educators and museum professionals in Morocco to include Berber and Jewish history and culture.

    Of course, I don’t want to be unfair and paint the entire picture as bright and sunny. The fact is that there have been persecutions of Jews historically in North Africa at various times, both popular and state sanctioned. One of the most tragic and infamous of these was the near obliteration of the Jewish community in Fes in 1465. Following a wave of nationalism in Algeria, the creation of the state of Israel, and the growing Saudi-backed spread of Wahhabist and Salafist Islam in the past few decades, the Jews faced no small amount of persecution. The overwhelming majority of Jews in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and even Libya have all left for Israel, France or elsewhere. In many cases shortly after the creation of Israel. In Tunisia, the only Jewish communities left are in Tunis and Djerba. Arguably the Jews in Morocco have fared much better, and have retained much of their community and heritage, but it is still a great tragedy for North Africa and the Arabic-speaking world.

  • mindy1

    Aww that’s good, I wish them luck 😀 I was never sure how easy it was to be Jewish in the Middle East, but it’s nice to know that there are countries that accept it 😀

  • @Averroe’s Ghost

    I agree. A lot of good might come of this.

  • Averroe’s Ghost

    Now this is what I like to see!

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