Morocco: King Mohammed, UNESCO Chief celebrate Islamic culture as source of dialogue, peace

Rabat, Morocco (PANA) - The UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, and His Majesty, King Mohammed VI of Morocco, on Tuesday jointly visited the Al Quaraouiyine University, the oldest institution of higher learning in the world, within the framework of the national plan on the prevention of violent extremism through education and culture.

For nearly 20 years, Morocco embarked on a comprehensive plan to prevent and counter violent extremism, which is based on the development of educational institutions and the training of imams to convey a moderate, open and tolerant Islam for the 21st century.

According to the UNESCO media channel, the King created the new Mohammed VI Institute and since 2015, placing Al Quaraouiyine University under his authority so that it may once again resume its place as a reference institution in the field of Islamic religion and civilization.

These efforts are aimed at "immunizing the religious field against violent extremism and ostracism." This policy is accompanied by a vast project for the rehabilitation of madrasas, traditional Koranic schools, that are an integral part of Morocco’s cultural heritage.

The pair visited three newly-renovated madrasas, reopened to students whose rehabilitation is part of the broader renovation of the Medina of Fez, inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981.

"We certainly need ‘hard power’ to respond, but this is not enough. We also have to win the battle of ideas to prevent a threat that draws on false interpretations of faith and history. This battle is an educational and cultural battle, and UNESCO plays a central role here," said the Director-General.

"When young people are learning to hate, we must teach them peace," said Bokova, underscoring that this must start on the benches of schools, including by learning about the history of Islam and its values, architecture, calligraphy and immense contribution to the history of humanity as a source of dialogue and dignity.

Morocco is the first Arab country to work with UNESCO to develop a National Strategy for the prevention of violent extremism through education. UNESCO has strengthened its programmes to prevent violent extremism through education for global citizenship, combating racism and hatred, including anti-Semitism and islamophobia.

During her official visit, Bokova also met with Mr Ahmed Toufiq, the Moroccan Minister of Habous and Islamic Affairs, and Mr Said Zniber, Wali of the Fes-Meknes Region and Governor of Fez.
-0- PANA VAO 24May2017

24 may 2017 15:29:16




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