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French authorities refuse entry to Moroccan imams and scholars

March 29, 2023 at 11:58 am

A Moroccan man holds his passport in front of his computer displaying a Schengen visa in the capital Rabat. [FADEL SENNA/AFP via Getty Images]

A number of Moroccan imams and scholars have been refused entry visas by the French consulate in Morocco during the month of Ramadan.

Morocco has sent about 144 imams and university professors to nine foreign countries to participate in Ramadan events led by the Moroccan community and Muslims in those countries, according to a statement by the Hassan II Foundation for Moroccans Residing Abroad.

Morocco’s Al-Hadath newspaper quoted one of the individuals affected saying visas are usually granted as applicants meet all the required conditions and guarantees. Most of them enter as part of official missions sent to preach to the Moroccan community in France during the month of Ramadan.

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Those denied a visa called on both the Moroccan Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to intervene as soon as possible, so imams can continue to carry out their religious duties.

At the end of last year, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna announced the end of the so-called “visa crisis”, which saw Paris reducing the number of permits issued for Moroccan nationals over the past two years.

“We’ve taken measures with our Moroccan partners to re-establish a consular relationship,” Colonna said during a joint press conference with her Moroccan counterpart, Nasser Bourita, following bilateral talks.

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