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Morocco Week in Review 
March 16, 2019

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web

Washington D.C. to Host First Morocco Day

The declaration from the mayor of Washington D.C. is “only the first step in a long and ambitious journey to strengthen Morocco’s position in the United States of America.”

By Safaa Kasraoui is a journalist at Morocco World News. Mar 9, 2019 Rabat

Moroccans and U.S. citizens in Washington D.C. will celebrate Morocco’s culture and history in an event dedicated to Morocco. The event will take place every March for the next 12 yeas.

The Amazigh People of Morocco and Islam

The advent of Islam and its spread into Amazigh societies remains a phenomenon that was critical to the increasing homogenization of Amazigh identity throughout Morocco.

By Mohamed Chtatou - Dr. Mar 10, 2019 Rabat

Though the exact date of the arrival of Islam to the Maghreb region remains in question, by the year 788 CE, the religion had spread to large areas of Morocco at the hands of the Shi’ite Idrisid dynasty, which had come to power and had begun to form “the nucleus of a petty state” with the aid of Amazigh tribes (Peyron, 82). Islam spread and manifested itself in Amazigh societies following several waves of Arab invasions and power shifts through several Arab and Amazigh dynasties, meaning  that Islam as it was practiced among the Amazigh people became unique to Morocco.

Where to Go, What to Eat: A Foodie’s Guide to Rabat

For every price range there are great places in Rabat to go for drinks, a snack, or a large meal.

Carolina McCabe is an American studying Arabic in Rabat with the US State Department program NSLIY. Mar 3, 2019 Rabat

While Rabat may not be known for its food scene, with many new restaurants opening up around the city, there is now a larger variety of cuisines and atmospheres to choose from. After living in Rabat for six months, I compiled a list of some of my favorite places to grab a bite in the city.

Five Moroccan Women to Inspire You on International Women’s Day

These five Moroccan women left their mark not only on Morocco but internationally.

By Juliette Owen-Jones is a journalist and editor at Morocco World News. Mar 8, 2019 Rabat

This International Women’s Day, pause to take a look at five of Morocco’s many influential women who shaped history and showed great innovation in their fields.

Fez Center Publishes ‘Child Brides in the Maghreb’ Collective Book

One of the chapters emphasizes the need to modify the Moroccan Family Code, which allows parents to request waivers for child marriage.

By -Juliette Owen-Jones is a journalist and editor at Morocco World News. Mar 8, 2019

Moroccan author Moha Ennaji has published a new book, “Child Brides in the Maghreb,” which compiles 10 chapters written by various experts on the subject. Ennaji told Morocco World News the book seeks to assess the causes and consequences of child marriage in the Maghreb region, as well as how to combat the problem. The writers advocate that meeting sustainable development initiatives, particularly in terms of education, health, the fight against poverty, and gender equality, will help quell the social phenomenon.

Women’s Day: What has Changed and What Has to Change in Morocco?

Every March 8, International Women’s Day reminds the world to celebrate the political, economic, and social accomplishments of women, but it is also a day to review Morocco’s progress in ensuring women’s rights. What has changed since last year

By Ahlam Ben Saga is a Cultural Studies graduate from university Mohammed V of Literature and Humanities in Rabat. Mar 8, 2019 Rabat

A Moroccan feminist association, the Union of Women’s Action (UAF), released a statement on Women’s Day drawing attention to Moroccan women’s struggle with sexism, gender-based violence, marginalization,  feminization of poverty, and lack of enforcement of their legal rights. UAF sounded the alarm on the “worrying” situation of women in Morocco which ranked among those with a large gender gap—137th of 149 world countries. Meanwhile, the World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law 2019 report published on February 27 ranked Morocco third of Middle Eastern and North African countries in terms of gender equality in law and business. ======================================

International Women’s Day: 95% of Married Moroccan Minors Are Girls

A total of 45,786 Moroccan girls 18 and under are married.

BY Safaa Kasraoui is a journalist at Morocco World News. Mar 8, 2019 Rabat

In a note dedicated to International Women’s Day, Morocco’s High Commission for Planning (HCP) discussed a number of issues facing Moroccan women in urban and rural areas, including child marriage. HCP estimated that 48,291 minors got married before the age of 18 in 2014, a slight decrease of 13 percent from 2004. HCP acknowledged that girls remain the majority of the victims of child marriage, representing 94.8 percent (45,786 girls) of married minors.

International Women’s Day: Why I Didn’t Celebrate Yesterday

How can we celebrate Women’s Day when many women across the world are still suffering?

By Charifa Zemouri is a PhD-candidate at the faculty of Dentistry in Amsterdam. Mar 9, 2019 Amsterdam

Yesterday was International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate womanhood and women’s achievements throughout history. But although the day has been celebrated in different forms for well over a century, the worldwide suffering of women persists. How can we celebrate Women’s Day when many women across the world have limited access to healthcare and education? Many unmarried women who seekreproductive healthcare for family planning or treatment for possible sexually transmitted infections are being stigmatized or sent away. In Morocco, unmarried women trying to access sexual health services are often refused help.

Opinion: What Future Does the Moroccan School System Have?

More children are enrolled in school, there are more schools in rural areas, and some schools have internet. Yet, all of this does not matter if education quality is still low

By Morocco World News Mar 2, 2019By Badr Hmim

'I am Morocco's first female mountain guide' (Video)

In Morocco, a small group of women are challenging traditional gender roles by becoming trekking tour leaders. Hafida Hdoubane is one of only 10 women guides in the country. She takes women-only groups to visit nomadic Moroccan women in the High Atlas mountains.
Video journalist: Elaine Jung Reporter: Catharina Moh
Video here: ================================================

Women Ambassadors to Morocco Celebrate Women’s Day in Moroccan Caftans

The Diplomatic Foundation in Rabat highlighted the accomplishments of women, locally and internationally.

By Rahma Ouled Cherif Rabat

The Diplomatic Foundation in Rabat hosted an event on March 6 to honor the women ambassadors to Morocco, 12 of whom attended the event. By noon, the first of the 150 attendees began arriving slowly at Rabat’s Sofitel Hotel. Each of the twelve women ambassadors arrived dressed in casual clothes to emerge later in traditional Moroccan caftans, an homage to Moroccan women’s fashion just two days before International Women’s Day. More than 30 ambassadors responded to the foundation’s invitation to take part in the event. In a hall with brightly-lit chandeliers creating a lighthearted and welcoming atmosphere, attendees interacted with each other in whatever common language they shared, from Japanese and English to French and Bulgarian. The two-hour event began with a 30-minute ceremony in which the Diplomatic Foundation’s executive chairman, Abdelati Habek, presented Moroccan caftans to ambassadors, who traded in their usual clothes to be attired in caftans in tribute to all Moroccan women.

Sampling Two-Day Tagines and Hummus at Little Morocco Café 

By Molly Zapp @MollyZappWrites

Pasty, basic hummus is easy enough for anyone with a food processor to serve as a starter — or, worse, roll into a burrito — but distinguished hummus remains a rare find. And diners will find it at Little Morocco Café, which opened in December in Burlington's Old North End, just down the street from Butch + Babe's.
The secrets of Little Morocco's perfect hummus reveal themselves bite by bite — when they reveal themselves at all. Most notably, there's the silken creaminess, which requires removing the fibrous hulls of the chickpeas before blending. (The extra step can be a hassle, but once you've tried hummus made this way, chunkier versions just taste inferior.) Then there are the fresh garlic and lemon juice, flavors that penetrate but don't dominate. =======================================

Inspiration: Morocco

By Rima Suqi March 7, 2019

Not long ago, interiors were expected to be chill. But as more decorators lay on color and pattern with the giddiness of paintball enthusiasts, they are borrowing from places where lush, layered and crazy combinations are standard operating aesthetics. Places like Morocco. What is Moroccan style, exactly? According to Stephanie Rudloe, the owner of Marrakech Designs in Boston, it is a mix of nomadic Berber, Arab-Islamic and European influences that slightly changes character as you venture across the region.

Why You Should Go To Morocco For Your Next Holiday

 6th March 2019 Hayden Langemeier

When I got off the plane at Marrakesh Menara Airport, it was a sensory overload. People yelling from all directions, every car communicating with honks of aggravation, and pops of bright colour around every corner. I got in the airport transfer feeling sceptical at best about spending the next week here. However, after a week of rich culture, gorgeous nature, and kind people, I left as the biggest proponent of why everyone should make Morocco their next holiday destination. Morocco has it all. From mountains to deserts to beaches, whatever you prefer is just an hour away. Marrakesh, the capital of Morocco, is a must-see and usually the cheapest place to fly into (you can sometimes get flight deals for as little as a £50 return). Marrakesh is a bustling African city, but not in the cookie-cutter kind of way. It is full of personality and unique spots to explore. The Medina, the old city, is enclosed by a circular wall with a myriad of walls inside creating a maze you will undoubtedly get lost in without trying.

Morocco Travel Guide

March 11, 2019 Travel & Tourism

One of Africa’s most popular destinations, Morocco is a country rich in diverse cities, fantastic cuisine, and spectacular sites. The two main cities, Casablanca and Fès, have different feels and scenes, but they’re both perfect places for strolling aimlessly and getting lost in sights, sounds, and smells. Want to spoil yourself? Have a massage. Feeling adventurous? Go trekking in the mountains. Many of Hollywood’s biggest movies have been filmed in the desert regions of Morocco, so make sure to check them out, too. Travel around the country is fast and comfortable, thanks to well-maintained train lines. As Morocco is the premier tourist enclave in North Africa, it’s worth spending as much time there as possible; if you can manage one to two weeks, do so, and pack in as much as you can. =======================================

Women Farmworkers Achieve Justice on the Job in Morocco

Women made key gains in reducing gender discrimination and improving wages and working conditions in Morocco's first-ever agricultural collective bargaining contract.

RESEARCH & COMMENTARY MARCH 08, 2019 by Tula Connell

Wrapped in a warm pink headscarf and thick layers of sweaters and shirts, Nezha Chafik, a farm worker in Morocco, bends as she walks between the rows of peach trees, cutting clusters of weeds with her machete in the late April chill. Since the Democratic Labor Confederation (CDT) negotiated an agreement in 2015 with Chafik’s employer, the agro-industrial company Les Domaines Brahim Zniber, workers receive better wages and have access to healthcare, a nurse-staffed clinic, improved job safety and ensured access to toilets and regular meal breaks. The agreement has now expanded from 1,000 agricultural workers to more than 1,200 workers on six large farms

Calls for Greater Representation of Women in Morocco

Saturday, 9 March, 2019 Rabat - Latifa Al-Arosni

The Women of Justice and Development Organization on Friday urged Morocco’s political parties to increase their female membership and encourage women to take part in elections.
Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper received a copy of the statement issued by the organization, which is affiliated with the Justice and Development party, on International Women's Day.
It called for granting women more partisan responsibilities and consolidating gender equality in political parties. 
The statement also backed the empowerment of rural women and activating the National Action Plan for Democracy and Human Rights which among others calls for gender equality and equal opportunities.

Off the Beaten Path in Morocco

The bustling souks of Marrakech, the leather tanneries of Fez, and the unending sandy dunes of the Sahara: these are the images that come to mind when thinking of Morocco.
However, this adventurous country is full of destinations that are lesser known, but equally worthwhile to visit. While the typical sights of Morocco are a must for your travel itinerary, why not add a little more flavour to your trip by visiting some of Morocco’s hidden gems?

Hidden-Gem spots in Morocco

El Jadida

Location: 90 kilometres south of Casablanca, or about a 1-hour bus ride.
What to see and do: Explore the Portuguese fortress of Mazagan.

The coastal city of El Jadida was one of the first settlements of Portuguese explorers on their way to India. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a rich blend of European and Moroccan cultures, as demonstrated in the architecture. You can still see the clear footprint that Portuguese settlers left behind in the beautiful fortress of Mazagan. Its towering walls stop right at the sea, and provide pristine views of the Atlantic. If you’re brave enough, walk down to the ancient cistern below the fortress, built with beautiful gothic-style arches.

What It’s Like to Be a Chabad Woman in Muslim-Majority Morocco

By Menachem PosnerMarch 14, 2019

When Rabbi Levi and Chana Banon decided to move to Casablanca, Morocco, in 2008, they were hardly the first shluchim (emissaries) to do so. Chabad has had an active presence in the North African kingdom since 1950, when the local Jewish population numbered 350,000 strong. Yet by the time they arrived nearly 60 years later, the Jewish communities in dozens of cities and towns had gone; Moroccan Jewry was a shadow of its former self. Today, the majority of the country’s Jews, estimated to about 3,000, are concentrated in Casablanca, a bustling metropolis of 3.4 million. Despite its reduced size, the Moroccan Jewish community remains fully functional, active and vibrant.

Autism: Morocco Takes One Step at a Time

Initiatives to raise awareness about autism spectrum are springing up in Morocco, From mobilizing the media to holding autism campaigns and improving autism healthcare.  

By Ahlam Ben Saga  - Ahlam Ben Saga is a Cultural Studies graduate from university Mohammed V of Literature and Humanities in Rabat. Mar 13, 2019 Rabat

Al Akhawayn Space for Children with Autism, a Moroccan association based in Rabat, is holding a campaign starting March 31 to spread awareness about autism in the country. The campaign will last for multiple days and include several awareness programs and sports activities, such as small marathons, for children with autism and their families. Al Akhawayn hopes it will help parents connect with their children and learn more about what they can do to help them overcome their challenges.

Morocco Produced More Cars, Clothes, Food in 2018

Morocco saw an increase in industrial manufacturing production in 2018.


Moroccan industrial manufacturing production, with the exception of oil refining, increased by 3.6 percent in 2018, according to the latest production index by the Moroccan High Commission for Planning Commission (HCP). Compared to 2017 in the same period, industrial manufacturing output was booming in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Morocco Adopts Law Requiring Artisans to Get Diplomas

Mohamed Sajid succeeded in passing a bill that will impose structure on the handicraft sector in Morocco.

By Sydney McCourt -Sydney McCourt is Politics of Media and Representation major at the University of William and Mary, currently studying media, political science, and Arabic in Rabat. Mar 14, 2019 Rabat

The minister of tourism, air transport, handicrafts, and social economy, Mohamed Sajid, has finally convinced Morocco’s governing council to pass a bill to regulate handicrafts in Morocco. The handicraft industry employs almost 2.3 million people in Morocco, making up 20 percent of the labor force. The trade contributes 7 percent of Morocco’s GDP. The craft sector has long existed without a modern legal framework. Sajid and other politicians attribute the sector’s disorganization and perceived loss in quality to the lack of such a framework.

Protests or Promotions? Women’s Rights Activists on March 8

For us, Women’s Day is about roll-up-the-sleeves, slow but steady efforts 365 days a year, not a one-off occasion for a concocted activity.

By Stephanie Willman Bordat and Saida Kouzzi, Rabat

Happy Pancake Day! It is time to check out a couple of online videos for some recipes. Oh wait, no, that was this past Tuesday, March 5. Today is International Women’s Day. It never fails. Every year around mid to late February, the calls and the e-mails start. “What are you doing for Women’s Day?” Sigh, bang head on table, repeat. As an NGO working for over 19 years to promote women’s rights in Morocco, Women’s Day is about roll-up-the-sleeves, slow but steady efforts 365 days a year, not a one-off occasion for a concocted activity. The first Women’s Day was organized—not celebrated—in 1909, and emerged from the labor rights movement, with women mobilizing for a host of political and economic rights related to voting and the right to be elected to public office, as well as worker’s rights and employment discrimination issues.

Rebbah Launches Mobile Application of National Geoscience Maps

Rabbah launched a geospatial application and opened the museum after its facilities were renovated.

By Morocco World News  -Mar 12, 2019 Rabat

Minister of Energy, Minerals, and Sustainable Development Aziz Rabbah inaugurated the re-opening of the ministry’s Museum of Geology, Minerals, and Energy on Tuesday after renovations were completed. Rabbah also launched a mobile application of national geoscience maps the ministry prepared. In his opening speech, Rabbah said that the preservation of national heritage is of great importance to the ministry. He added that several institutional, legal, educational, and media measures have taken place to preserve, value, and promote Morocco’s heritage nationally and internationally

Casablanca Patrimoine Launches Think Tank for Cultural Heritage

Together with Radius, Casablanca Patrimoine is launching “Blanche & Plurielle,” think tank to safeguard and promote Casablanca’s rich cultural heritage.

By Mohammed Amine Benabou is a B. Mar 13, 2019 Rabat

An organization dedicated to Casablanca’s heritage, Casablanca Patrimoine, has launched its first think tank, “Blanche & Plurielle,” to enhance and promote local Casablanca cultural heritage. Created in 2018 in partnership with Radius, the think tank’s ambition is to safeguard and boost cultural heritage in the region of Casablanca-Settat. The initiative is “part of the spirit and the dynamics” initiated by King Mohammed VI for promoting the cultural capital of Morocco.

Muslims and Jews Share Friendship Tea in Casablanca

Promoting coexistence between Muslim and Jewish people, many Moroccan associations gathered for a “Friendship Tea” in Casablanca.

By Amal El Attaq Rabat

At the initiative of the Moroccan Pluralist Association (AMP), Moroccan Jews and Muslims met on Monday, February 25, to celebrate Jewish-Muslim friendship. The meeting in Casablanca brought together many intellectuals, Moroccan associations, Muslim and Jewish artists around “Friendship Tea,” which according to them, is a sign of “unity and communion.”

TasteAtlas Ranks Moroccan Tagine in World’s 100 Best Dishes

Tagine earned a place in TasteAtlas’ 100 Best Dishes list.

By Juliette Owen-Jones is a journalist and editor at Morocco World News. Mar 11, 2019 Rabat

TasteAtlas, a website that categorizes the best dishes from around the world, has ranked the tagine 34th in the world’s most popular dishes. TasteAtlas, launched late last year, has compiled 10,000 traditional dishes, beverages, and ingredients from the around the world in its database. The website has over 30 Moroccan dishes in its database, with classics such as couscous, pastilla (savory pies), and harira soup included, as well as dishes that may not be as well-known internationally such as seffa (a sweet and savory vermicelli noodle dish) and loubia (a zesty white bean stew).

Morocco Orders Closure of Desert Camps in Merzouga, Local Protests Erupt

Local authorities in Merzouga ordered the closure of desert camps, causing protests in the region.

By Juliette Owen-Jones is a journalist and editor at Morocco World News. Mar 13, 2019 Rabat

The government is dismantling desert camps in the Erg Chebbi dunes of the Sahara, 40 kilometers from the city of Merzouga in eastern Morocco. The local government hired workers to help dismantle tourist camps in the Merzouga region, according to a Morocco World News source. The government allegedly tore down approximately 12 camps last weekend, and the told the rest to vacate the area or be forcibly removed. One luxury desert camp received notice that it must close but with no details of when or why, the owner told MWN. The camp has bookings until late 2020, which raises the question of what will happen to the guests who have booked or the camp owners with finances at stake

US Report Lists Violence on Women, Corruption As Concerns in Morocco

Corruption by officials is punishable, but the “government generally did not implement the law effectively.”

Safaa Kasraoui is a journalist at Morocco World News. Mar 14, 2019 Rabat

The US State Department has issued its annual report on Morocco’s Human Rights Practices for 2018, summarizing both positive and negative performances in human rights in Morocco. The report includes seven sections: Integrity of the person, civil liberties, freedom to participate in politics, corruption, investigation of human rights abuses, societal abuses, and worker rights. Morocco faces challenges with regard to freedom of speech and the press, corruption, migration, sexual assault, and child labor, according to the report. While corruption is punishable, the government “did not implement the law effectively.”

Moroccan University Presidents: Science is ‘Produced’ in French, English

Safaa Kasraoui is a journalist at Morocco World News. Mar 11, 2019 Rabat

 The Conference of University Presidents (CPU) has said Moroccan schools should not teach science in Arabic, weighing into the intensifying political debate on which language should be used to teach science in Morocco. While some scholars, teachers, and politicians prefer Arabic as a language of instruction, others believe that French and English should be given preference in teaching science. On March 8, the CPU issued a statement on the question.

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