Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Prince Moulay Rachid marks the beginning of Holy Month of Ramadan

Rabat, September 25, 2006 - - His Royal Highness Prince Moulay Rachid marked the beginning of Holy Month of Ramadan.

The Fast of Ramadan

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. The Month of Ramadan is also when it is believed the Holy Quran "was sent down from heaven, a guidance unto men, a declaration of direction, and a means of Salvation"

It is during this month that Muslims fast. It is called the Fast of Ramadan and lasts the entire month. Ramadan is a time when Muslims concentrate on their faith and spend less time on the concerns of their everyday lives. It is a time of worship and contemplation
During the Fast of Ramadan strict restraints are placed on the daily lives of Muslims. They are not allowed to eat or drink during the daylight hours. Smoking and sexual relations are also forbidden during fasting. At the end of the day the fast is broken with prayer and a meal called the iftar. In the evening following the iftar it is customary for Muslims to go out visiting family and friends. The fast is resumed the next morning

According to the Holy Quran:
One may eat and drink at any time during the night "until you can plainly distinguish a white thread from a black thread by the daylight: then keep the fast until night"
The good that is acquired through the fast can be destroyed by five things -
- the telling of a lie
- slander
- denouncing someone behind his back
- a false oath
- greed or covetousness

These are considered offensive at all times, but are most offensive during the Fast of Ramadan
During Ramadan, it is common for Muslims to go to the Masjid (Mosque) and spend several hours praying and studying the Quran. In addition to the five daily prayers, during Ramadan Muslims recite a special prayer called the Taraweeh prayer (Night Prayer). The length of this prayer is usually 2-3 times as long as the daily prayers. Some Muslims spend the entire night in prayer

On the evening of the 27th day of the month, Muslims celebrate the Laylat-al-Qadr (the Night of Power). It is believed that on this night Muhammad first received the revelation of the Holy Quran. And according to the Quran, this is when God determines the course of the world for the following year

When the fast ends (the first day of the month of Shawwal) it is celebrated for three days in a holiday called Id-al-Fitr (the Feast of Fast Breaking). Gifts are exchanged. Friends and family gather to pray in congregation and for large meals. In some cities fairs are held to celebrate the end of the Fast of Ramadan.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Prince Moulay Rachid reiterates Moroccan support to “Alliance of Civilisations” project

HRH Prince Moulay Rachid reiterated on Wednesday in Paris Morocco's engagement to support the “Alliance of Civilisations” project, launched by the UN to promote intercultural understanding.

Speaking during the first conference organised on the fringes of the “Euro-Mediterranean-Gulf Cultural Workshop”, the Prince affirmed that “during recent years, the Kingdom of Morocco has resolutely engaged in a continuous process of political, economic, social, and cultural reforms.”These reforms aim at “reinforcing the citizens' freedom and development, while preserving the sacred and traditional specificities of our country,” Prince Moulay Rachid told the attendees of the workshop held on Sep. 13-15.

The Prince stressed that the reform of the Family Code and the education sector, the upgrading of political and administrative institutions, and the National Initiative for Human Development are a few examples of the Kingdom's moves to combat exclusion, poverty and intolerance.

HRH highlighted the great interest Morocco attributes to the themes discussed during the workshop, underlining that an open dialogue on education, the media and shared values is very important to improve the cultural perceptions.

The workshop taking place in Paris is bringing together some 250 participants from 40 European, Mediterranean and Gulf countries. Other similar meetings are scheduled in Feb. 2007 in Seville (Spain) and in June in Alexandria (Egypt).

The Alliance of Civilizations project was launched by the UN in July 2005. “The initiative is intended to respond to the need for a committed effort by the international community -- both at the institutional and civil society levels -- to bridge divides and overcome prejudice, misconceptions, misperceptions and polarisation which potentially threaten world peace,” UN Secretary General Kofi Annan had said on the occasion.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Prince Moulay Rachid and French President team up to promote dialogue among civilizations

Paris, September 13, 2006 -- His Royal Highness Prince Moulay Rachid joined forces with French President Jacques Chirac to inaugurate the opening of the Conference on Euro-Mediterranean-Gulf dialogue in Paris. At least 250 people have been invited from European Union member states, Northern Africa and Gulf countries to join discussions over the next three days.
The six workshops will cover a wide range of themes including techniques of recording history, revision of history books, the role of media in clashes between cultures, the results of attempts to create a common understanding between cultures and religions, education, racism, anti-Semitism, and overcoming Islamophobia.
In an opening address, His Royal Highness Prince Moulay Rachid voiced the firm determination to continue to create a common understanding between cultures and religions. Prince insisted that in order to face the current upsurge of intolerance, it is necessary to muster all potentialities and enhance communication channels with young generations in an effort to shield them from the adverse effects of extremism in all its manifestations.
His Royal Highness pointed: "We must also strive to achieve global progress and shared prosperity. To this end, it is essential that human rights be upheld, and that the necessary protection be provided to the most vulnerable segments of society." Prince Moulay Rachid praised the three-day workshop on "Dialogue of Peoples and Cultures" noting that this "unprecedented initiative, bringing together people from various backgrounds and creeds, shows how determined we are to dispel prejudice and to turn culture into a set of universal values shared by all."
Prince Moulay Rachid - who is actively involved in advocating peace movement - encourages strengthening the discussions aiming at deconstructing cultural stereotypes between the nations in the Arab countries and the West, and to establish a foundation for future dialogue between civilizations.
Prince Moulay Rachid’s work exemplifies the great importance to spread out the existence of cooperation and cultural dialogue and to bridge the cultural gap that exists between the West and the Arab countries.
His Royal Highness has brought a new focus to the diplomacy between countries and his achievements have given rise to hope.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Moroccan darling out in force for the official visit of President Putin

Casablanca, September 7, 2006 - His Royal Highness Prince Moulay Rachid, the heir second in line to the Moroccan throne, was on hand to mark official visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the first visit by a Russian head of state since Nikita Khrushchev 45 years ago.

In 1978, Morocco became Russia's largest African trading partner when HM King Hassan II and Leonid Brezhnev agreed to increase trade and investment, mainly in phosphate and fishing industry.

Charismatic Prince Moulay Rachid made his impressive entrance with confident demeanor in Casablanca’s Palace, to carry on building bridges between Moroccan and Russian nations.

Prince Moulay Rachid oversaw the signature of cooperation agreements covering areas such as justice, fisheries, tourism, culture, agriculture and banking.
The handsome royal has taken a keen interest in Moroccan development as he seeks to expand its global influence.

The people of Morocco took Prince Moulay Rachid into their hearts many years ago, when, as a baby Prince started his royal duties with pushing Moroccan diplomacy beyond the standard circuit.