The mineret that takes you home

About Membership Volunteer Newsletters Souk Links

Morocco Week in Review 
May 9, 2020

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web

US Offers Morocco Additional $5.7 Million to Mitigate COVID-19 Impact

The new aid follows a March USAID grant of MAD 6.6 million ($670,000) to help the country mitigate the pandemic’s consequences.

By Safaa Kasraoui - May 1, 2020 Rabat

Trump’s Administration announced on May 1 a new grant of $5.7 million to Morocco as part of its international support campaign to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. The aid package includes $4 million from the Economic Support Fund (ESF) to help vulnerable populations recover from the pandemic’s socioeconomic effects, Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) reported. Quoting a statement from the US State Department, the outlet said that the aid includes “$1.7 million for health assistance to help prepare laboratory systems,” and to improve case detection and epidemiological surveillance…………………..
More here: ttps://

Morocco Confident State of Emergency to End May 20

The end of confinement does not mean the disappearance of COVID-19. While the lockdown may soon be lifted, many preventive measures against the spread of the virus will remain in place.

By Morgan Hekking – April 30, 2020 Rabat

The Moroccan government is reportedly confident the nationwide lockdown under the state of health emergency will not extend beyond the set date of May 20.  Morocco declared a state of emergency on March 19, entering lockdown the following day and suspending all non-essential economic activities.  Initially set to end on April 20, the state of emergency is effective until May 20 due to the government council’s adoption of a one-month extension on April 18. Moroccan outlet Le360 cites government sources as expressing confidence that deconfinement will commence in the country after the current emergency state extension expires. The outlet attributes the sources’ confidence to Morocco’s low COVID-19 mortality rate. Since the outbreak of the virus in the country on March 2, health authorities have recorded 170 total deaths due to COVID-19.  The daily death rate peaked in late March, with the Ministry of Health recording a high of 13 new deaths on March 27. Since the second week of April, new fatalities have tapered off, reaching a level significantly lower than those observed in countries with better-regarded health systems. Morocco’s mortality rate is five deaths per 1 million inhabitants, compared to 525 deaths per 1 million inhabitants in Spain and 373 deaths per 1 million inhabitants in France. More here:

Five Tips for Staying Productive During the Coronavirus Lockdown

Applying these five tips will help you emerge from this time healthier, stronger, smarter, and proud of all you accomplished and enjoyed with the gift of extra time.

Ryan Kirk lives in Casablanca and offers personal development advice on the Maroc Treasure YouTube channel. May 2, 2020

Do you have some extra time on your hands? Have you had classes, meetings, events, or travel canceled? Are you working from home, with no traffic, no commute, and no waiting for a taxi or tram? All of a sudden, most of us have some extra time on our hands, a rare gift. We may be earning less money, but we are rich in time. So how are you planning to spend your extra time? No one knows if this season will last weeks or months, but either way, how can you make sure you come out of the lockdown with no regrets? You could waste the opportunity: Lying around the house; binge-watching television series; endlessly scrolling social media feeds; getting nothing done; and feeling anxious, lonely, and depressed.
Or you could apply five simple tips to come out of this season stronger, healthier, smarter, happier, and a better version of yourself.

Choose priorities

Sit down with a cup of coffee and dream about your possibilities for this season. What could you accomplish? Who could you connect with? What could you learn? Who could you become? Think about how you can develop every dimension of your life: Your mind, your body, your spirit, and your heart. Have you ever thought to yourself, “I would love to do that, but I don’t have time”? The coronavirus has provided a huge gap in your schedule, and now you do have time…………
Check it here:

Ten Ways to Relieve Lockdown Stress

Stress can keep you from feeling and performing your best — mentally, physically, and emotionally-- so it is important to know how to manage the stress in your life.

By Jihad Dardar - May 6, 2020 Rabat

The novel coronavirus outbreak has people turning to social distancing as a way to help “flatten the curve,” or contain the spread of the illness to a level that the healthcare system can manage. In addition to the uncertainty and stress of the pandemic, social distancing can take a serious mental toll. Disruption to your normal routine, fear, and anxiety can be overwhelming and cause emotional drain for both adults and children. Stress is part of life, but overwhelming or chronic stress can have many negative consequences. While you cannot always control your circumstances, you can control how you react to and deal with them………….
More here:

Dozens of Gay Men Are Outed in Morocco as Photos Are Spread Online

The idea was to show the hypocrisy of Moroccan society by showing how many gay men are living quietly in straight society. It backfired badly.

By Aida Alami April 26, 2020 PARIS

At least 50 to 100 gay men were outed in Morocco over the last two weeks, rights activists say, after the men were identified on location-based meeting apps while sheltering at home amid a coronavirus lockdown. In at least three cases, men were kicked out of their houses, L.G.B.T.Q. activists said. In interviews, many others in the country said they had been blackmailed and threatened, and thousands fear that their photos will be spread on social media.“Here I am just waiting for my death sentence,” said a young man whose photos were leaked online and who spoke anonymously for fear of being attacked. “I’m frustrated and scared.” In Morocco, a North African kingdom where homosexuality and sex outside marriage are crimes, gay people are painfully accustomed to the feelings of peril and rejection, and many keep their sexual identities under wraps……..
Check it here:

Morocco Provides Largest-Scale Homeless Support in Country’s History.

As of April 28, the Ministry of Solidarity helped accommodate 6,324 homeless people and assisted 2,060 others in reuniting with their families.

By Taha Mebtoul - May 6, 2020 Rabat

The Moroccan Minister of Solidarity, Social Development and Family, Jamila El Moussali, announced yesterday that Morocco conducted the largest shelter operation for homeless people in its history as part of the fight against COVID-19. The minister’s statement fell on the 63rd anniversary of the establishment of the National Mutual Aid Foundation (EN). During the meeting, El Moussali called the operation an honorable achievement for Morocco. She said that as of April 28, the ministry had helped accomodate 6,324 homeless people and assisted 2,060 others in reuniting with their families since the pandemic’s onset. The anniversary was also an opportunity to assess EN delegations’ work throughout Morocco to fight the spread of COVID-19 among vulnerable communities, including among homeless people. The meeting highlighted the delegations’ support for children who live in social welfare centers and children in difficult situations. The delegations have instituted continuous monitoring and follow-up mechanisms to identify, assess, and respond to child safeguarding cases……………
More here:

Tourism Minister: COVID-19 Crisis Shuttered 87% of Moroccan Hotels

Out of 3,989 certified tourist accommodation establishments in Morocco, only 520 remain open.

By Taha Mebtoul - May 7, 2020 Rabat

The Moroccan Minister of Tourism Nadia Fettah Alaoui declared earlier this week that 87% of hotels in Morocco have closed due to the COVID-19 crisis. The minister announced on May 5 the impacts of the pandemic on Morocco’s tourism sector during a meeting of the Productive Sectors Committee at the House of Representatives. Alaoui revealed that the state of emergency has caused a 63% decline in hotel stays since Morocco came under lockdown on March 20. The decline includes classified accommodation establishments in popular tourist hubs such as Marrakech, Agadir, Casablanca, Tangier, Rabat, Meknes, and Essaouira. Out of 3,989 tourist accommodation establishments, 3,465, or 87%, are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Only 520 establishments remain open.“Everyone acknowledges that the two sectors of tourism and air transport will need a bigger support than other sectors, because the crisis is global, and we cannot advance the sector independently,” Alaoui said.“Unfortunately, the sector of tourism in Morocco will not recover as fast as other sectors that are expected to re-adapt within a few weeks,” she continued.

In Photos: Comparing Morocco’s Traditional and Colonial Architecture

An expatriate explores the melange of ancient, colonial, and modern architecture in Morocco’s capital city.

By Harrison Daley - May 2, 2020 Colorado

The unique Moroccan architecture immediately struck me when I first explored the Medina of Rabat. I walked through narrow passageways, overcome with a sense of awe and wonder. I had never seen anything quite like it.  Stone archways covered cobblestone streets as cats lounged next to tile fountains. A minaret rose in the distance, piercing the blue sky and casting long, dark shadows.  I continued my walk through the winding streets, emerging near the Kasbah of the Udayas. Intrigued, I entered the blue labyrinth as thick wooden doors towered above me. ...

How to Make Moroccan Yogurt-Like ‘Rayeb’ From Scratch

You might have the ingredients already in your kitchen, so do not let laziness stop you from sharing this delight with your family!

By Safaa Kasraoui - May 6, 2020 Rabat

Believe it or not, the weather controls our appetite signals. With high temperatures outside, Ramadan upon us, and a lockdown in place, Moroccans now tend to spend more time in the kitchen than usual. Let us be honest: Food is one of our primary concerns during Ramadan–in addition to, of course,  religious rituals for the holy month. Fifteen or sixteen hours of fasting is long enough to allow families quite a bit of time to think of different meals to balance their menus throughout the month, and to plan on responding to those heated appetite signals. While the summer awaits around the corner, the month of May is already marking some very high temperatures. Cooked food is of course necessary, but desserts should definitely be part of your respite after an exhausting, hot day. I will share the recipe for one of the beyond-perfect desserts that my mother used to buy for me along with a piece of “harcha” (semolina pan-fried flatbread) from the “mahlaba,” or dairy shop, after a traditional hammam day. As a kid, offering treats was the only way to convince me to join in for a trip to the bathhouse.

Today’s recipe is for Moroccan “rayeb,” or traditional home-made yogurt.
If interested in Moroccan harcha, you will need to hold your breath for a forthcoming recipe. In the meantime, you can try out this simple recipe for a healthy and delicious treat…………….
Check it here:

When and How to See the Full Flower Moon, the Last Supermoon of 2020

The Full Flower Moon got its name from the Native American Algonquin tribes of what is now the northeastern United States.

By Morgan Hekking - May 6, 2020 Rabat

The last supermoon of 2020, dubbed the “Full Flower Moon” or the “Super Flower Moon,” is set to rise tomorrow morning, appearing opposite the sun. The supermoon peaks in Morocco at 10:45 a.m. (6:45 a.m. EDT) on May 7. However, the moon will not be visible to the naked eye past sunrise, as it will be below the horizon at the time of its full illumination. Skywatchers should go out tonight to get the best view of the Flower Moon when it will be approximately 98% full.  According to a 1930s publication in the Maine Farmer’s Almanac, the Full Flower Moon got its name from the Native American Algonquin tribes of what is now the northeastern United States. The tribes chose the name based on the abundance of flowers at the time of its rising, such as anemone, wild garlic, indigo, bluebells, lupine, sundrops, and violets…………. 
Check it here:

Le Monde: Morocco Major Global Exporter of Face Mask

Morocco’s Ministry of Industry has urged several textile factories to exclusively produce face masks and protective gear to help curb the COVID-19 pandemic.

By Yahia Hatim - May 1, 2020 Rabat

Morocco’s face mask production allows the country to be an important exporter in the global market of protective medical gear amid the COVID-19 pandemic, reported French newspaper Le Monde on Friday, May 1. Morocco currently produces 7 million masks per day. The production exceeds national demand and allows the country to export masks to the hardest-hit European countries, such as Spain and France. In March, the Moroccan Ministry of Industry announced several textile companies would start exclusively producing face masks and protective gear to protect the public from the COVID-19 pandemic…………….
Check it here:

Fez Artists Participate in COVID-19 Fight With Murals

The artists expressed their gratitude to workers on the frontlines of the fight against the pandemic through several artworks scattered around the city.
By Yahia Hatim - May 4, 2020 Rabat

Authorities in the Saiss neighborhood in southern Fez have collaborated with local artists to create a series of mural paintings paying tribute to the people on the frontlines of Morocco’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.“We want to thank and show solidarity with those on the frontlines, including security officers, local authorities, royal gendarmerie, the army, auxiliary forces, civil protection, doctors, nurses, and cleaning workers, who are putting their lives at risk to help the country overcome this crisis,” said Khadija Fassih, vice-president in charge of green spaces in Saiss.
Several artists participated in painting the artworks on several locations across the district. Amine El Mathen, a graduate of Fez’s Beaux-Arts Institute, created three murals urging the city’s residents to stay home. Two of the artworks depict doctors surrounded by the novel coronavirus, in recognition of the dangers they face at work. The third shows a caricatured coronavirus molecule walking around the streets…………

Moroccan Economist Calls COVID-19 ‘Historic Opportunity’ for Change

Nezha Lahrichi, who served as an economic advisor to transformative prime ministers, promises Morocco has the capacity for an economic transition towards more autonomy.

By Zuza Nazaruk - Zuza Nazaruk is a Rotterdam-based journalist who focuses on social inclusion and climate emergency. May 4, 2020 Rabat

Prominent Moroccan economist Nezha Lahrichi has outlined a new vision for the Moroccan economy—one that accommodates the changing global trends. In an interview on May 3, she encouraged agility as the appropriate response to the current health crisis. Currently an academic professor, Lahrichi worked as an advisor to Abderrahmane Youssoufi and Driss Jettou, two heads of government who at the dawn of the new millennium shaped the Moroccan economy and whose impact is still felt. She also chaired the National Council for Foreign Trade (CNCE) as well as the Moroccan Export Insurance Company (SMAE), positions that gave her influence in Moroccan trade policy. 

‘We have to learn to live with the virus’ 

Lahrichi refuses to give simple solutions to the economic stagnation COVID-19 caused. She lists uncertain factors, such as the unknown length of the lockdowns, global actors imposing protectionist policies, or the yet unknown impact on the airline industry.  Many elements are beyond any government’s power to manage, so Lahrichi believes it is pointless to provide generic answers to the reality that is not yet fully understood. Her advice for the global pandemic is “asking the right questions to avoid the wrong answers.”

Morocco’s Renewable Energies Boost Its Resilience Amid Oil Shocks.

Morocco has benefited to the maximum from its geographical position and climate to gain an edge in the field of renewables, particularly solar energy.

By Hafssa Fakher el Abiari - Hafssa Fakher el Abiari conducts research in security, international relations, and conflict resolution. Apr 29, 2020 Ifrane

In usual times, the prices of crude oil fluctuate. In extraordinary times, like those the international community is encountering due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the oil industry undergoes a severe shock. Supply is far exceeding demand because economic activity worldwide has slowed down.
Experts argue the pandemic can disrupt the progress of many countries in the renewable energy sector, depending on the length of confinement and lockdowns. However, policy-makers can still turn this challenge into an opportunity by providing enough stimulus. In the Maghreb, Morocco’s renewable energy sector is resilient and will positively shape the post-pandemic region, especially because other Maghrebi countries like Algeria and Tunisia have also set strategies to uphold a smooth transition towards renewables.

Cooking for the Lazy: No-Bake Lemon Pie

This lemony delight will be the highlight of your confinement. Sure, that is sad, but at least you will be able to eat your feelings.

By Asmae Habchaoui is a PR & Media professional with a Masters in Management & Finance. May 3, 2020 Rabat

The delight of this no-bake lemon pie is no joke. I once made it for a Thanksgiving dinner at a coworker’s home. Some of my team members were helping me decorate the finished pie with kiwi slices when it slipped and the glass container shattered. They ate it right off the floor, picking around the glass. It was dangerous and disgusting, but also immensely flattering.  If you’ve read the recipe for my mom’s homemade flan, you are already familiar with my first “lazy cook” rule: The number of ingredients must not exceed the number of a lazy cook’s fingers, and no, toes are not included.

How Fasting During Ramadan Benefits the Body and Spirit

Ramadan is not only a time for Muslims to build character and become closer to God. Fasting during the holy month also presents several scientifically-proven health benefits.

ByJihad Dardar-May 3, 2020

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, observed by Muslims across the world as a month of fasting from sunrise to sunset, which is one of the five pillars of Islam. Children generally do not participate until they reach puberty, and there are exemptions for those who are ill, traveling, pregnant, or menstruating.  People who are not able to maintain their fasting are required to make charitable contributions to feed one person for each day they missed fasting. The purpose of Islamic fasting is to adopt self-control over worldly desires; to surrender to God and develop self-discipline and spiritual awareness; to purify the body, heart, soul, and mind; and to improve patience and empathize with those who are living in hunger and poverty.  Fasting during Ramadan also allows Muslims to truly count their blessings and give thanks from within, as well as with their actions. This includes restraining from anger, speaking the truth, doing good deeds, and exercising personal discipline. Muslims describe Ramadan as a healing month that helps worshippers mentally and physically recover from mild to severe health conditions. Science has proven that Ramadan fasting does produce several health benefits.

Escaping Technology’s Binds: How to Find True Meaning in a Digital Age

A college student shares the importance of breaking free from technology and embracing life at the moment. 

By - Harrison, an intern at Morocco World News, studied culture and current affairs in Morocco through SIT Study Abroad. May 4, 2020 Rabat

We live in a hyperconnected world, bound by the chains of technology. Our lives now center around smartphones, computers, and how many followers we have on Instagram. Much of mankind is lost in a world of superficiality, social media, and disconnection. Digital social appearance has taken precedence over a true personal connection. Online status and followers have splintered reality, shifting people away from what matters most.
As developers release new applications and unveil new devices, we sink deeper into the vortex of the internet. Our values are changing, moving away from what is truly wholesome and meaningful. Smartphones, the internet, and social media control us.

Studying Abroad During COVID-19: An Unanticipated Early  Departure

The unprecedented scale of the COVID-19 outbreak meant thousands of students had to cut their semesters abroad short, and few will be able to make up for the lost time.

By Mursal Habibzai - May 3, 2020

I have been told countless times that studying abroad was a once in a lifetime experience and I should take advantage of it while I was in college. I was fortunate enough to be able to study abroad twice, once in college and once in high school.  Studying abroad in Berlin was my first time living outside of the United States and one of the best decisions my 16-year-old self made. The experience taught me a lot about myself and even helped me decide that I wanted to go to college and study international relations.  When I got to college, I already knew I would study abroad again. This time, I wanted to go somewhere different, unlike anything the US or Germany had to offer.  I quickly became interested in Morocco after having a conversation with a friend who was going. I knew I didn’t want to go somewhere where many students frequently went to, such as a country in Europe. Instead, I wanted to study the Middle East and immerse myself in the culture.  After doing more research, I knew I wanted to study abroad in Morocco. The pictures on the internet and the information sessions I attended prior to arriving in the North African country did not fully encompass its beauty.

Morocco’s Cadi Ayyad University, NASA Explore Extrasolar Planets.

Scientific teams from a university in Marrakech and an observatory in the Atlas Mountains collaborated with NASA and Harvard University to examine planets outside the solar system.

By Zuza Nazaruk - Zuza Nazaruk is a Rotterdam-based journalist who focuses on social inclusion and climate emergency. May 3, 2020

Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakech, in collaboration with NASA and Harvard University, has recently furthered scientific research by exploring extrasolar planets. The Moroccan-American scientific team consisted of Cadi Ayyad’s Laboratory of High-Energy Physics and Astrophysics and Oukaimeden Observatory, the NASA Virtual Planetary Laboratory, and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. The international team studied the climate of extrasolar planets.  The results of the research will appear in a prestigious scientific journal, “The Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.” The Oxford University Press-owned journal has been a leading astronomy journal for more than 190 years.  The scientific team concluded that planets positioned outside the solar system may have a water climate, which would put them in contrast to dwarf-type planets. Dwarf planets are astronomical objects that have a mass similar to that of a planet but, contrary to regular planets, they do not dominate any region in space. 
NASA will further research the possibility of discovering water on the planets …………
More here

Morocco Allocates Millions to Help Farmers in Drought-Affected Regions

The Ministry of Agriculture announced plans in March to assist farmers and lands affected by drought.

By Safaa Kasraoui - May 5, 2020 Rabat

The Mutual Moroccan Agricultural Insurance Company (MAMDA) has allocated MAD 200 million ($20.2 million) in favor of farmers affected by drought in Marrakech-Safi’s Rehamna region. The regional directorate of the Ministry of Agriculture in the Rehamna region said the process of extracting subsidies for more than 10,000 farmers linked by multi-risk insurance contracts with mutual support has commenced in several regions affected by drought during the 2019-2020 agricultural season. The regional director of the Ministry of Agriculture in the region, Abdel Aziz Ait Ambirik, confirmed that “the area secured in the region is estimated at 247,000 and 480 hectares, for the benefit of thousands of beneficiaries with a financial aid of approximately MAD  200 million.”

Remembering King Mohammed V, Morocco’s Revolutionary Monarch.

The anniversary of the King’s death will not see public celebrations this year due to COVID-19 curbs, but his iconic legacy that forged a unified Morocco lives on and should serve to unite the country in the face of the health crisis.

By Morgan Hekking - May 4, 2020

May 4, 2020 marks the 61st anniversary of the death of King Mohammed V of Morocco, according to the Islamic or Hijri calendar. The late monarch died of heart failure on the 10th day of Ramadan in the year 1380 AH (February 26, 1961).   King Mohammed V is widely remembered for his role in securing Morocco’s independence from France and Spain, successfully negotiating with the two European countries for his kingdom’s freedom from the clutches of colonialism. 

King Mohammed V’s role in Moroccan independence
The French established a protectorate over Morocco with the 1912 Treaty of Fes and named Yusuf ben Hassan as the Sultan. He ruled until his death in 1927 and was succeeded by his son, Sidi Mohammed ben Yusef—better known as Mohammed V.   Morocco recognized King Mohammed V as Sultan from 1927 to 1953 until French colonial authorities forced the ruler and his family into exile on the eve of Eid al-Adha, seeing him as a threat to the status quo. They sent him to Corsica in 1953 and to Madagascar in 1954.  Mohammed V was such an important national symbol in the growing Moroccan independence movement that the movement itself is widely known in the country as the Revolution of the King and the People. 
Moroccan nationalists produced on January 11, 1944 the Manifesto of Independence of Morocco, calling for a free kingdom united under the royal leadership of Mohammed V.

Moroccan Shows Dinosaur ‘Like No Other’ Could Swim Using Tail

The fossil tail suggests the Spinosaurus aegyptiacus could swim, a departure from the commonly-held belief non-avian dinosaurs could not swim.

By Susanna Spurgeon - Susanna is an editor at Morocco World News. May 2, 2020 Rabat

German-Moroccan paleontologist Nizar Ibrahim has published new evidence that spinosaurid dinosaurs could swim, a controversial theory, by using their tails to propel them through water. Studying the fossil of a “Spinosaurus aegyptiacus” tail researchers found in eastern Morocco, Ibrahim concluded the tail was “unambiguous evidence” of the ability to swim. Along with his co-authors, Ibrahim argued in a Nature paper on April 29 “the tail shape of Spinosaurus produces greater thrust and efficiency in water than the tail shapes of terrestrial dinosaurs.”……………..

These postings are provided without permission of the copyright owner for purposes of criticism, comment, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and may not be distributed further without permission of the identified copyright owner.  The poster does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the message, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

Return to Friends of Morocco Home Page

About Membership Volunteer Newsletters Souk Links