Pope Francis will meet with migrants in Morocco and visit a training institute for imams that seeks to be a bulwark against extremism during his March 30-31 visit to the North African country.
It comes on the heels of Pope Francis’ recent visit to the United Arab Emirates, where he signed a landmark “fraternity” document with a leading Sunni imam and sought to encourage moderate Islam and interfaith ties. The visit to the UAE, and second meeting with the Muslim Grand Imam of al-Azhar, “wrote a new page in the history of dialogue between Christianity and Islam and in the commitment to promote peace in the world on the basis of human brotherhood.”
The Vatican on Saturday released the schedule for the pope’s trip to Rabat. Pope Francis, during his visit, will meet with Morocco’s king, the country’s priests and religious sisters and celebrate Mass for the Catholic community. His meeting with migrants will take place at the Vatican’s Caritas charity. Francis is also planning a visit to a social center outside Rabat.
Morocco has long considered itself a key ally in the fight against extremism, and King Mohammed VI routinely criticizes terrorism.
The imam training institute, named for the king, draws Moroccan, sub-Saharan and European preachers. Opened in 2015, it now receives over 700 students a year and is part of government efforts that began in 2004 to counter terrorism and fundamentalist Islam.
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