On March 30, at the opportunity of the Pope’s visit to Morocco, King Mohammed VI and Pope Francis issued a joint statement, reportedly unscheduled, about the need to protect and preserve freedom of worship for the three monotheistic religions:
“We consider it important to preserve the Holy City of Jerusalem/Al-Quds Acharif as the common patrimony of humanity, and especially the followers of the three monotheistic religions, as a place of encounter and as a symbol of peaceful coexistence where mutual respect and dialogue can be cultivated.”
In recent years, faith has become increasingly weaponized, in the world at large and in Jerusalem most particularly. Both Israeli and Palestinian leadership empower and legitimize religious extremism elements who stake out absolutist claims to the city and denigrate the claims of others. In the face of this trend, messages of pluralism that reassert the multi-faith character of the city are important and rare and ought to be amplified.