His Majesty the King: Late His Majesty King Mohammed V, Revered Hero for All Peoples Yearning for Freedom

HM the King: Late HM King Mohammed V, Revered Hero for All Peoples Yearning for FreedomLate His Majesty King Mohammed V is a revered hero not only to all Moroccans, but also to all peoples yearning for freedom and dignity, His Majesty King Mohammed VI said in a message on the occasion of the award ceremony, held here Sunday, of the “Martin Luther King Jr. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel” Freedom Award, granted posthumously to the late sovereign.

“It is in memory of these two icons of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States that you have decided to name the Freedom Award you have just created. As its first recipient, you have chosen to honor – tonight and for eternity – His Late Majesty King Mohammed V, the revered hero not only to all Moroccans, but also to all peoples yearning for freedom and dignity – all of which are deeply rooted in our time-honored identity, which is open to the whole world, an identity the Kingdom of Morocco has constantly nurtured by building on the rich, diverse components of its society”, the Sovereign underlined in this message, read by HM the King’s Advisor, André Azoulay.

During the ceremony, Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Hasna received on behalf of His Majesty the King the “Martin Luther King Jr. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel” Freedom Award, given posthumously to the late sovereign.

His Majesty the King also noted that “it is precisely to that country, Morocco, which epitomizes bravery as well as the highest ethical standards, that you have decided to pay tribute tonight. By reminding the world, from this city of New York, that although the power of His Majesty King Mohammed V was drastically constrained by the implacable realities of the French protectorate – at a time when France itself was under Nazi occupation, he refused to allow the racist laws of the Vichy government to be applied to Moroccan citizens of Jewish faith”.

“It was an exemplary Royal Resistance – a National, Popular Resistance characteristic of enlightened Islam which, from the Rabat Royal Palace, kept alive the lesson and teachings of the great philosopher Ibn Rushd who, already in his day, said that society was at its best when its most eminent figures – first and foremost the nation’s leader – subscribed to the loftiest, most enlightened elements of human nature”, the Sovereign added.

In this respect, His Majesty the King noted that “we are living at a time and in a world in which the collective imagination of our societies is too often impaired, not to say poisoned, by regression and archaism. By capitalizing on the depth and resilience of the legacy left by my revered grandfather His Majesty Mohammed V, we can, together, set out to recover the lost expanses of reason and mutual respect which have vanished from many parts of the world”.

“May I point out that this duty of remembrance has, at times, been lacking in a Community of Nations that has often turned its back on the very complex nature of our respective histories”, the Sovereign regretted.

“Reminding that Community – as we are doing this evening – that it was countries like mine, in the heart of the Arab and Islamic world, that rejected Nazi barbarism, would certainly contribute to greater discernment in the face of growing Islamophobia and gross generalizations that feed on a culture of rejection, exclusion and refusal to learn how to live together”, His Majesty the King concluded.