Morocco Christians urge religious freedom before pope visit

Pope Francis is expected to visit the cathedral as part of his visit to Morocco at the end of March. (AP)
Updated 21 March 2019
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Morocco Christians urge religious freedom before pope visit

  • Morocco is 99 percent Muslim
  • The pontiff is due to visit the North African country on March 30-31 at the invitation of King Mohammed VI

RABAT: Morocco’s Christian minority on Thursday called on authorities in the Muslim-majority country to guarantee religious freedoms, ahead of a visit by Pope Francis.
The Coordination of Moroccan Christians, a group representing converts to Christianity in a nation that is 99 percent Muslim, appealed for “basic freedoms of which we, Moroccan Christians, are still often deprived.”
These include freedom of public worship as well as the right to have church or civil weddings and Christian funeral rites and education, it said in a statement.
“We dream of a free Morocco” which embraces religious diversity, the group said, adding that it hopes Pope Francis’s visit this month will be a “historic occasion” for the country.
“We also call on the Moroccan authorities to no longer put pressure on the country’s official churches, including the Catholic church in Morocco, to dissuade them from accepting” converts to Christianity, the statement said.
The pontiff is due to visit the North African country on March 30-31 at the invitation of King Mohammed VI.
More than 40,000 Christians — mostly foreigners — are estimated to live in Morocco, whose king describes himself as the “commander of the faithful.”
Religious pluralism is enshrined in the constitution and freedom of worship is guaranteed, according to the Moroccan authorities.


US-led 2017 blitz on Syria’s Raqqa killed 1,600 civilians

Updated 17 min 34 sec ago
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US-led 2017 blitz on Syria’s Raqqa killed 1,600 civilians

  • The unprecedented investigation was led by Amnesty International and the Airwars monitoring group
  • It urged top coalition members to show more transparency and accountability

BEIRUT: Intensive US-led coalition bombardment on the Syrian city of Raqqa killed more than 1,600 civilians over four months in 2017, according to a report released on Thursday.
The unprecedented investigation, led by Amnesty International and the Airwars monitoring group, urged top coalition members to show more transparency and accountability.
“Many of the air bombardments were inaccurate and tens of thousands of artillery strikes were indiscriminate,” said Donatella Rovera, crisis response adviser at Amnesty.