Prominent political and religious leaders are in Morocco for a three-day conference ending Wednesday focusing on the rights of religious minorities in Muslim-majority communities, the Middle East Monitor reported. The conference, which kicked off Monday in Marrakesh, was jointly organized by the Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs and the forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies. Participants included ministers, muftis, religious scholars and academics from numerous backgrounds and schools of thought.

King Muhammad VI of Morocco was reportedly hosting the conference in order to examine more deeply the rights of religious minorities in Muslims, in theory and in practice. Conference organizers have also reportedly planned to release its first declaration, laying emphasis on the rights of non-Muslims inside Muslim lands since the Constitution of Medina, Press TV reported. That document was drafted by the Prophet of Islam in 622 C.E., or Common Era, and has been hailed as the world’s first written constitution, as well as the first Muslim constitution. 

RTX1K9EF A prayer session is held in Sale, Morocco, July 14, 2015. Photo: Reuters

The conference was expected to attract roughly 300 Muslim participants from Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt and religious authorities from non-Muslim denominations including Christians, Jews, Hindus and Sikhs. 

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon thanked Morocco on Monday for organizing the conference, calling for common work to preserve and reinforce diversity and dignity across the Middle East, Morocco World News reported.

“Interfaith dialogue is necessary and urgent. Religious leaders have a responsibility to help heal differences in their communities, and to use their moral authority to promote inclusion, not exclusion; forgiveness, not vengeance; equality, not superiority. Religion should be a bridge between people, not a wedge”, Ban told the conference, Morocco World News reported.