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Morocco Week in Review 
March 2, 2019

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web

The State of Amazigh Culture in Algeria and Morocco

Indigenous to North Africa, the Amazigh people, sometimes known as Berbers, have spent decades fighting for cultural recognition in the predominantly-Arab region. For years, Amazigh activists have been engaged in a battle against oppressive policies while also trying to promote measures that would help preserve Amazigh identity. Despite recent successes, however, it may be some time before Amazigh activists are able to overturn the outcomes of centuries-long marginalization.

Defining Amazigh Identity
Central to past and present Amazigh revival movements are the concepts of Awal (language), Akkal (land), and Ddam (blood). Accordingly, one of the significant outcomes of Amazigh activism was the designation of the Amazigh language Tamazight as an official language in both Algerian and Moroccan constitutions. Regarding Akkal, Amazigh take land conservation very seriously, balancing the fine line between communal with private ownership. The third pillar of Amazigh identity: Ddam, represents a sense of belonging through the cohesiveness of family and culture, while also signifying sacrifice. Indeed, the Amazigh believe that an issue is resolved only once sacrificial blood is spilled….
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Prince Harry and his Spouse Visit Education for All Boarding School and Lycée Qualifiant Grand Atlas in the Town of Asni

Prince Harry and Pregnant Duchess Meghan Cuddle Up During Trip to Morocco: Pictures!

By Jessica Vacco-Bolanos
February 24, 2019

Morocco’s 12th-Century Lixus Site to Open to Public in April

The Lixus archeological site has been restored and will open to the public in April.


The Ministry of Culture and Communication announced on February 24 the opening of the 12th-century archaeological site of Lixus. Lixus, located near Larache on Morocco’s Atlantic coast, will open to the public when work has been completed, scheduled for April. The ministry said in a statement received by Morocco World News, that the archaeological site “is of historical importance and exceptional value.” The ministry spent MAD 10 million to build barriers around the site and create a center to introduce its heritage……………

Morocco’s ‘The What’ Magazine Tackles Inheritance Law

The recently released Mouminoun Without Borders’ monthly magazine examines inheritance laws in Morocco.

By Mohammed Amine Benabou Rabat

Following Tunisia’s approval of equality between the sexes with regards to inheritance law, the question of inheritance in Morocco continues to be hotly debated between diametrically opposing sides.
Staunch opponents to inheritance reform claim that such “reformism” violates divine limits, while proponents such as Asma Lamrabet and Mohamed Abdelouahab Rafiki praised Tunisia’s move. ================================================

Islamic Feminist Asma Lamrabet Publishes ‘Women and Men in the Qur’an’ in the US


Moroccan biologist, author, and prominent Islamic feminist Asma Lamrabet has chosen to publish her latest book, “Women and Men in the Qur’an,” in the United States. In her book, Lamrabetdefies preconceived Islamophobic ideas about subjects like the treatment of Muslim women, as she frames Islam as an egalitarian spiritual ethic. The 195-page book has been published by Palgrave Macmillan and is translated from its original French version by Muneera Salem-Murdock, the former resident director of the Millennium Challenge Corporation in Morocco.



One crucial, unequivocal verse in the Qur’an lays the ground for the concept of equality between men and women: “The believers, men and women, are allies (awliya) of one another. They enjoin the ‘common good’ (al ma‘ruf) and forbid the bad (al munkar), they observe prayers (salat) and give charitable alms (zakat) and obey God and his Prophet”; Qur’an, 9:71. Munkar refers to all that is rejected by all members of a given society; a set of morally unacceptable practices. In Qur’anic etymology it is considered as the antonym of ma‘ruf or ‘common good’. It is quite surprising to note that some very explicit verses such as this, which exhort equality between men and women, have been marginalized in Islamic thought; they are rarely cited, and are even at times completely overlooked in favor of other verses that are more difficult to interpret or whose application was contingent on the time of revelation.
The term awliya in this verse means alliance, mutual assistance and mutual reinforcement.

Observations of Coffee Culture in Morocco

Next time you walk into a cafe, perhaps it would interest you to glance around, take in your surroundings, and consider your motivations for walking into that establishment.

By Samantha Tropper -Feb 23, 2019 Durham, North Carolina

When I was studying in Fez last year, my class had a couple days off in the third week, leaving me with a four-day weekend. To anyone who knows me, it will be absolutely no surprise that I did not want to take those four days to “relax” or “unwind” or even just stay in the Fez area. So I decided to take a somewhat spontaneous road trip. I booked a rental car and began scouring travel websites and blogs, trying to figure out where I wanted to go. After contemplating some suggestions I had heard from my classmates and the various interesting-looking attractions highlighted on websites, I pinned the locations on Google Maps and came up with a route that began with Chefchaouen.

Morocco tops new survey on quality of African urban life

21 February 2017

Four Moroccan cities, led by Marrakesh, ranked among the top 10 African cities for quality of life in a new survey published Tuesday.
Marrakesh, nicknamed the Ochre City for the walls surrounding its old medina district, clinched the top ranking, with three other Moroccan cities -- Casablanca, Rabat and Fez -- in the top 10.
"They are cities that are not huge, where real work has been done to improve infrastructure, people's quality of life (and) housing in a stable political context," said Swiss urban sociologist Jerome Chenal, who directed the survey. The study of 100 cities, which included all of the continent's capitals and its largest urban centres, was based on criteria including social and living conditions, infrastructure, governance and environment.

Chamra: In Toursoult, in Tata Province, association welcomes guests to experience a song in Hassaniya Arabic.

A Chicken Pie That’s Well Worth the Wait

A simplified version of pastilla, the savory Moroccan pastry served on festive occasions, this recipe can be broken up so the process is part of the fun.

By David Tanis Feb. 15, 2019

Though I am by no means an expert in Moroccan cuisine, I have long been an ardent admirer. Even before my first visit, I began dabbling, learning from cookbooks.
================================================Facebook’s Inclusive Internet Index Ranks Morocco 3rd in Africa

The score provided by the survey is based on “availability, affordability, relevance and readiness,” according to the report.


Morocco ranked 62nd out of 100 countries in the 2019 Inclusive Internet Index, and came 3rd out of 31 African countries, according to the Facebook-commissioned survey prepared by the Economist’s Intelligence Unit. The survey scores 100 countries on availability, affordability, relevance, and readiness.  Morocco ranked best, 47th globally, in availability. Morocco’s overall ranking, according to the survey was “buttressed by first-place availability in [Africa].”

World Bank Gives Morocco MAD 700 Million Loan to Counter Unemployment

The loan would aim to create more jobs, accelerate digitalization, and improve the quality of education.


The World Bank has agreed to give Morocco a MAD 700 million loan to create private sector jobs. The World Bank approved the loan through a six-year-partnership with Morocco, from 2019 to 2024, to help Morocco reduce unemployment. The unemployment rate in Morocco dropped from 10.2 percent to 9.8 percent between 2017 and 2018, according to Morocco’s High Commission for Planning (HCP).

Culture Ministry to Celebrate 8th-Century Sijilmassa Archeology Site

The 8th-century archeological site was an important trade center in the Maghreb.


The Ministry of Culture and Communication will organize an international congress to celebrate 1,300 years of the historic city of Sijilmassa’s existence. Collaborating with the National Institute of Archeological Sciences and Heritage, the ministry will hold the congress December 2-3 in the city of Rissani, a town in Errachidia Province, eastern Morocco, under the theme: “Sijilmassa: The Memory and the Challenge of Development.” Sijilmassa was founded in 757 by the Zenata Amazigh tribe. It was a medieval Moroccan city that served as an important trade center in the Maghreb during the middle ages. In the year 1000, the city was inhabited by approximately 100,000 people.

Scientists Discover 2 New Bat Species in the Mountains of Morocco

A group of scientists, commissioned by CSIC, used genetic analysis to confirm two new bat species located in Morocco.


 A collaboration of researchers from Spain, Switzerland, and France have determined that a group of bats, which were once thought to be the same as the known species Myotis escalerai, are instead an entirely new bat species, the Myotis crypticus or cryptic myotis. After a genetic analysis published by “Acta Chiropterologica,” scientists were able to conclude that the two kinds of bats have significantly different genes. While the bat species share many of the same physical characteristics, the genetic analysis proved what superficial observation alone could not determine.

Moroccan-French Geologist Discovers the Oldest Evidence of Mobility

Abderrazak El Albani unearthed the oldest evidence of mobility, dating back approximately 2.1 billion years old in a fossil deposit in Gabon.


Previous to this discovery, the oldest documented remnants of multicellular life on Earth was believed to date back approximately 600 million years, during the Ediacaran period. Monday, February the 11th marked the publication of the edition of PNAS for the discovery of the oldest multicellular organisms that was found by Abderrazak El Albani and his colleagues, experts from the Institute of Chemistry of Environments and Materials of Poitiers (CNRS/Université de Poitiers). Located in the Franceville Basin, this cluster of single cells came together and moved through the mud in search of a favorable environment.

Archeologists Discover Centuries-Old Mysterious Stones in Western Sahara

The Western Sahara is filled with mysterious ruins and monuments yet to be discovered.


Archeologists have discovered stone structures dating back thousands of years on the northwest coast of the Western Sahara in southern Morocco. The stone structures come in various shapes and sizes, and some of them are more than 10,000 years old. Although many of the stones’ functions are not clear, the archeologists suggest that some of them were most likely used as gravestones and burial mounds. Joanne Clarke, a researcher at the University of East Anglia, and Nick Books, an independent researcher behind the discovery, co-authored a book on their work.

Moroccan Director Mohammed Lyounsi’s Feature Revisits Spanish-Riffian War

 Mohammed Amine Benabou Rabat

After his “Allo 15,” “Ben X,” and “the Red Scarf,” Moroccan director Mohammed Lyounsi has premiered his fourth historical feature film “Les Coups du Destin” (The Blows of Destiny) this month. The movie was shortlisted along with 14 other features for the 20th Festival des Films’ grand prize in Tangier in March. Set between 1921 and 1926, the movie casts light on the Rif war and the Battle of Annual between Amazigh (Berber) tribes and the Spanish colonial power in the mountainous Rif region of northern Morocco, where the Spanish army used chemicals against unarmed Riffians.

Morocco Dedicates Scientific Guide to Roman-Era Rirha Historic Site

The site has artifacts with markings that date to the Roman era.

-Feb 22, 2019 By Rahma Ouled Cherif Rabat

The Ministry of Culture and Communication has announced the publication of a guide for the Rirha historical site in northern Morocco. The guide was published under the title “Rirha: Ancient and Medieval Site of Morocco” by Laurent Callegarin, Mohamed Kbiri Alaoui, Abdelfattah Ichkhakh, and Jean-Claude Roux. The site of Rirha, which, according to the guide, has been on the list of Moroccan cultural heritage pieces since 2001, sits on the right bank of the Oued Beht river located in the Gharb plain between Rabat and Fez.

Morocco and Denmark to Rehabilitate Essaouira’s Old Danish Consulate.

Restoration of the 18th-century consulate building is underway.

-Feb 22, 2019 Rabat

The embassy of Morocco in Copenhagen announced on Facebook that the former Danish consulate in Essaouira, which dates back to the 18th century, is now being restored. The former Danish consulate represented the diplomatic ties established between Sultan Mohamed Ben Abdallah of Morocco and the King Frederick V of Denmark back in 1763. “In the last twenty years, the renovation project has been put on the table. For a period of time there had been a lot of ideas for the renovation,” said the Moroccan embassy in Denmark in a Facebook post.

Morocco Nominates Gnawa Music for UNESCO’s Cultural Heritage List

UNESCO may add Gnawa music to its list of the world’s intangible cultural heritage.

Feb 21, 2019By Rahma Ouled Cherif Rabat

UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) will consider adding Morocco’s Gnawa music to its ICH list at its 14th session December 9-14, in Bogota. The ICH list seeks to enhance visibility for the traditions of communities without recognizing standards of excellence or exclusivity. Mustapha Nami, a Moroccan senior curator of historical monuments, submitted a file nominating Gnawa music to the ICH Service in September 2018. Others had attempted to nominate Gnawa art previously.

Amnesty : Positive Legislative and Institutional Developments in women's rights in Morocco

The human rights NGO Amnesty International (AI) reported positive legislative and institutional progress and developments in women's rights and the fight against violence inflicted on women in Morocco in its 2018 report. This document, which outlines the human rights situation in 19 States in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region during 2018, highlights the progress made in Morocco in the area of women's rights through the introduction of laws to combat violence against women. Speaking on this occasion, AI director general (Morocco section), Salah Abdellaoui, who presented this report on Tuesday in Rabat, stressed that a law to combat violence against women, which came into force in September, introduces new offences and increases existing penalties in cases of domestic or family violence.

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