Vandalism at Rabat’s Cathedral Questions Religious Tolerance in Morocco


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Rabat – Vandals spray painted the St. Peter’s Cathedral of Rabat on Monday with images of names, pictures, and other acronyms.

The cathedral was built in 1921 during the French Protectorate of Morocco by Adrien Laforgue, a french-inspired architect hailing from Uruguay. 

In a statement to Morocco World News, a clergyman of the cathedral stated that this is the first, severe instance of vandalism since the founding of the church 100 years ago. The vandals likely “re-decorated the cathedral” during the rain showers on Monday, as the streets were empty, stated the clergyman. 

The clergyman added that the vandalism did not upset the church, but was viewed by the clergy and members of the Catholic community in Rabat as a great disappointment. 

“The cathedral is not meant to convert people from Islam to Catholicism, but rather serve as a place of peace in the community,” said the clergy member. 

A statement in Arabic posted on the church doors reads: “This place is open to everyone and is a place for Christians to pray.” The notice welcomes “those in need of a quiet place to sit and those who want to ponder their lives.”

Cleaning crews were quick to repaint the vandalized St. Peter’s cathedral walls and the only evidence of vandalism remains in the memories of the Rabat’s Christian community. 

The international community has praised Morocco repeatedly for its commitment to religious tolerance

Between Pope Francis’ visit to Rabat in 2019 and the strengthening of the Morocco-Israel relationship, Morocco has continued in its quest to establish itself as a role model for religious tolerance in the MENA region.

Additionally, the kingdom has implemented a series of renovation projects for its Jewish cemeteries. In 2019, over 200 people visited a newly-renovated Jewish cemetery in the coastal city of El Jadida.