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Morocco Week in Review 
September 22, 2018

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web

Ashura in Morocco: a Cultural Experience of Food, Fire, and Water

By Safaa Kasraoui - September 18, 2018 Rabat

The tenth day of Muharram, the first month in the Islamic calendar, is no ordinary day for Moroccans and Muslims worldwide. Besides its religious significance, it carries many cultural stories.
Sunni Muslims celebrate the day to commemorate the day when God created a path in the Red Sea to liberate Moses and his followers from Pharaoh.
Some people honor the day by fasting on the 9th and 10th of Muharram.

US and Morocco to Hold 2019 Strategic Dialogue in Washington

By Tarek Bazza September 18, 2018 Rabat

Secretary Pompeo and Minister Nasser Bourita have agreed to hold the next session of the US-Morocco Strategic Dialogue in Washington next year. US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Nasser Bourita met Monday, September 17, at the State Department in Washington, D.C. The two officials “discussed opportunities to expand our strong economic and security cooperation, including shared efforts to end Iran’s support for terrorism and counter its malign influence in the region,” the US Department of State wrote in a statement.

Morocco Ranks 123rd in World Human Development Index

By Tarek Bazza - September 17, 2018 Rabat

UNDP has ranked Morocco 123rd in its 2018 Human Development Index (HDI) among 189 countries, down from 122 in 2016. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) published its 2018 update on September 14, presenting HDI values for 189 countries around the world, including 20 Arab countries, classified in four human development tiers. The UNDP’s statistics, which are based on 2017 data, showed that 59 countries ranked “very high” in human development, 53 “high,” 39 in “medium,” and 38 in “low.” =============================================================

7 Strategies to Boost Moroccan Students’ Performance

By Morocco World News - September 14, 2018 By Youssef Agdal Rabat

A Moroccan teacher and Fulbright Teaching Assistant at an American university offers his perspective on how elements of the American educational style can be applied in Morocco to encourage the pursuit of academic excellence. What makes uniquely human is their insatiable mission for improvement. Humans have a desire for problem-solving, collaborating to craft new solutions, and communicating their results. Innate within every human being is the ambition for greater efficiency, flexibility, awareness, artistry, independence, and spirituality……
Read it here:

Amzazi Proposes a Full Menu of Programs to Support Education

By Safaa Kasraoui -  September 20, 2018 Rabat

The Ministry of Education is shifting its focus from the controversy over Darija (Moroccan Arabic) to combating drop-out rates.Said Amzazi, the minister of national education, vocational training, higher education and scientific research presented his strategy to King Mohammed VI on Monday, September 17.
The focus of his address was based on the recent speeches of the King, which were delivered for Throne Day and the Day of the Revolution of the King and the People in the last two months…..

Emigration: Morocco Only Has a Few Thousand Jews Left

By Safaa Kasraoui -  September 14, 2018 Rabat 

Of the 14.7 million Jews in the world, 2,000 Jews live in Morocco and 8,500 in Iran. The Jewish Agency unveiled statistics of the world’s Jewish population on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, literally the “head of the new year,” celebrated on September 9. A total of 6.6 million Jews live in Israel, while 8.1 million live outside Israel………………

EBRD Loans Banks €35 Million for Moroccan Women Entrepreneurs

By Tarek Bazza -  September 19, 2018 Rabat

EBRD has launched a business program for women in Morocco to empower women entrepreneurs and strengthen the North African country’s economy. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) launched a “Women in Business Program” which “aims in its initial phase to reach at least 200 women entrepreneurs, through both financing and advisory services,” wrote EBRD in a statement Tuesday, September 18. The EU will give important support to the program to fund advisory services and provide guarantees to EBRD’s partner banks.

Rabat’s Cathedral: From a French Past to a Sub-Saharan Future

By Morocco World News -  September 16, 2018  By Carlo Zanetti Rabat

In the past 100 years, the Catholic Church in Morocco has undergone a considerable transformation which had a significant impact on the role of St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rabat and the identity of its community. The 10 minute walk between Rabat’s medina (old city) and Place al Joulane feels like a gradual, however remarkable, cultural transition—from the traditional Moroccan heart of the city to a considerably more Western atmosphere. The architectural style of the area, which almost evokes a 1970s’ European residential suburb, brings to light another crucial layer of Rabat’s history and identity: the French protectorate. ……..

From victim to accused: Why rape victims in Morocco suffer double trauma

Stories of sexual violence have sent shockwaves through the kingdom, but women and girls all too often find the ire turned back on themselves

Margaux Mazellier  Monday 17 September 2018 CASABLANCA, Morocco

Her body is scarred for life, mutilated and covered with crude tattoos. Pictures attesting to Khadija Okkarou’s harrowing ordeal have gone viral on social media. Sequestered, raped, tortured, drugged and tattooed by a gang of 13 youths and men from the town of Oulad Ayad in the Atlas Mountains of central Morocco, the plight of 17-year-old Okkarou is sadly representative of a culture that turns a blind eye to sexual assault. First a victim and now perceived a liar with a depraved lifestyle, the teen is at the heart of a polemic that, in Morocco, is unfortunately nothing new. Her story was made public on 21 August in an online interview with Chouf TV, in which Okkarou described her ordeal, with her face blurred out. The horrifying footage, shared widely online, sparked shock and anger across Morocco, with people taking to social media to demand justice with the hashtag #JusticePourKhadija. Accompanied by a picture of a tattoo-covered naked woman with an SOS sign over her face, the hashtag quickly went viral in Morocco and abroad.   ……………….

Morocco gender equality law goes into effect

#InsideMorocco MEE and agencies
Wednesday 12 September 2018

New law prohibits harassment and sexual exploitation but fails to adopt international standards on treatment of women, critics say. A law to combat violence against women in Morocco entered into force on Wednesday, following years of heated debate and after thousands called for action in a recent gang-rape case. For the first time, women in Morocco have legal protection from "acts considered forms of harassment, aggression, sexual exploitation or ill treatment". The new law also paves the way for victims of violence to be offered support. Families minister Bassima Hakkaoui hailed the legislation as "one of the most important texts strengthening the national legal arsenal in the area of equality of the sexes," in an interview with the official MAP agency. The text was first drafted five years ago and was adopted by parliament in February, but advocates say it fails to give police, prosecutors and judges guidance on how to handle sexual violence cases…

Law 103-13 on the Elimination of Violence Against Women in Morocco: A Missed Rendezvous with Democracy?

By Morocco World News September 14, 2018 By Stephanie Willman Bordat and Saida Kouzzi Rabat

The long-awaited Law 103-13 on the elimination of violence against women in Morocco went into effect this week.   Despite more than twelve years of diverse governmental and civil society efforts, the analyses from legal experts, international human rights mechanisms, and Moroccan NGOs have detailed the numerous shortcomings and deficiencies in the content of Law 103-13. Now that the law has been enacted, it is crucial to reflect on the reasons why the law falls short of basic human rights standards, and why it failed to incorporate the substantial input and propositions made by Moroccan civil society for improvements.  While some may point the finger at the Ministry of Family, Solidarity, Equality and Social Development, responsible for preparing the original Draft Law 103-13, it is important to not forget the other key actor in the legislative process – the Moroccan Parliament.

EU Gives Morocco’s Social and Business Programs MAD 2.34 Billion

By Tarek Bazza -  September 15, 2018 Rabat

Morocco and the EU have signed two agreements to support the North African country’s social security reform and green growth programs. Morocco’s Minister of Economy and Finance Mohammed Benchaaboun and Johannes Hahn, the European commissioner for European neighborhood policy signed two agreements Friday, September 14, to support Morocco’s programs: “Competitiveness and Green Growth” and “Support for Social Protection Reform in Morocco.”………….

Morocco Implements Law to Combat Violence Against Women

By Staff Writers | teleSUR Saturday, Sep 15, 2018

A law, namely Law 103-13, to combat violence against women in Morocco entered into force Wednesday, and will provide women with legal protection from "acts considered forms of harassment, aggression, sexual exploitation or ill-treatment"……………..

Morocco criminalises sexual harassment, but advocates say it falls drastically short

More than half of wives say they experience conjugal violence in Morocco, where marital rape is not criminalised

Ruqaya Izzidien September 16, 2018

Morocco has enacted a new law criminalising abuse against women but critics have labelled it a box ticking exercise that will not be effective in addressing sexual harassment and gender-based violence. The bill, which was approved by Moroccan parliament in February and came into force last week, criminalises sexual harassment, forced marriage and some forms of domestic violence. It also levies heavier penalties for crimes committed within the family, though it fails to criminalise marital rape. A person found guilty of sexual harassment through the unsolicited use of words, acts or signals of a sexual nature – carried out in person, via telephone or online – may be sentenced to between one and six months in prison, and fined between $200 and $1,000. The law – which is known locally at the Hakkaoui law after Bassima Hakkoui, Minister for Family Affairs and Women’s Issues – defines violence against women as “any act based on gender discrimination that entails physical, psychological, sexual, or economic harm to a woman.” It obligates authorities to raise awareness about gender-based violence and instructs the establishment of national committees to serve the needs of women and children.

Moulay Idriss Zerhoun: A Piece of Largely Untouched Moroccan History

By Morocco World News -  September 16, 2018  By Vera Sordini Rabat

The centuries-long seclusion of the sacred Moroccan town of Moulay Idriss from the Western world allows the increasing number of visitors to see a picture of Moroccan life largely untouched by foreign influence. Just around 60 kilometers west of Fez and 5 kilometers away from the Amazigh (Berber) and Roman remains of Volubilis, embedded in green hills and surrounded by olive groves and cacti, lies the town of Moulay Idriss Zerhoun, Morocco’s spiritual capital. ……………….

This Is the Ultimate Vacation Spot for Hyper Blue Lovers

And you're all obsessed with hyper blue at this point, right? Hyper blue isn't some fancy-pants color that only found in priceless jewelry or on the runways. It's the hue of the recycling bins at the end of your driveway, of the super-saturated water at the local aquarium, of the clicked hyperlinks on your phone. You literally don't have to take a single step to see hyper blue in the wild if you don't want to. But you should want to. Because there is a very real place you can visit that is completely, totally covered in hyper blue and dozens of others shades of the color. This magical place is the medina of Chefchaouen, a town in northern Morocco tucked into the Rif Mountains.

Morocco in the middle

By Julian Hattem September 17, 2018

As more migrants head to Europe via Morocco, Rabat is taking advantage of its newfound position to extract concessions.  From Morocco’s northern tip, it is a mere 14 km across the sea to Spain. Yet despite the proximity of Africa and Europe across the Strait of Gibraltar, most migrants heading north have tended to avoid Morocco, aiming instead for Italy or Greece. That is at least until recently. Over the past couple of years, the number of people crossing the Mediterranean through the central and eastern sea lanes has diminished, while the popularity of the route from Morocco to Spain has risen significantly. This August, more than six times as many people from Africa arrived in Spain than in Italy. Nearly 300 migrants a day are now crossing via the western Mediterranean, making the sea route from Morocco the most heavily travelled…..

Designer’s Adobe House Is as Colorful as Her Ceramics

The Belgian transplant Laurence Leenaert makes her home just like she makes her crafts: by instinct.

By Tom Delavan Sept. 17, 2018

Most days, the 28-year-old Belgian designer Laurence Leenaert can be found in her sunny studio in Sidi Ghanem, an industrial area of northwest Marrakesh where many of the city’s artisans produce their painted ceramics or leather goods. It is here that Leenaert, with the help of several assistants, creates her own versions of these products for her line, Lrnce, which also includes textiles, mirrors and clothing — all in her distinctive patterns and colors that reference Picasso’s ceramics, Miró’s line drawings and Moroccan tribal patterns. Her pitchers and vessels — creamy white except for the vibrant shapes, wobbly lines and asymmetrical faces painted onto them — were featured at the Conran Shop during London Craft Week in May and are also found at Le Bon Marché in Paris, Mociun in Brooklyn and at her studio showroom.

Tangier’s Le Gran Cafe de Paris Among ‘50 Greatest on Earth’

By Safaa Kasraoui- September 17, 2018 Rabat

The 91-year-old cafe in Tangier, Le Gran Cafe de Paris, has secured a place among Telegraph’s  list of “the 50 greatest cafes on earth.” The list delightfully described the place in a solo paragraph as a place to relax when you are not in a hurry to leave.“The Gran Cafe, gracing the corner across from Morocco’s French consulate since 1927, has plenty of seats outside, where locals chatter, watch the traffic and smoke (they smoke inside, too) over cafes au lait,” wrote the Telegraph.

Forbes: Moroccan Hotels and Spas, Second Most Highly Rated in MENA Region

By Morocco World News -  February 26, 2018 Rabat

In its 2018 Travel Guide, Forbes magazine listed Morocco as the country with the second largest number of most highly rated vacation properties in the MENA.
Morocco has six hotels and two spas, coming in second to the United Arab Emirates, which has 33 hotels and spas combined.
Formerly known as Mobil Travel Guide, Forbes Travel Guide uses a rating system  to assess over 1,600 different hotels, restaurants, and spas in 50 different countries.

Morocco’s New National Service Can Build Generations of Employable Patriots

19 Sep 2018 Jean AbiNader
To many, the proposed law on national conscription is less about enabling youth and more about protecting the power structure in Morocco. Morocco has an army; it is well trained; it is large and expensive to maintain; and having thousands of young people rotating in and out on an annual basis may not be the most efficient use of its capabilities. In addition, some warn that giving weapons training to those not committed to a military career may be a security risk over time, especially if there are no changes in the economic prospects of those youth when they complete their year of service.

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