The mineret that takes you home

About Membership Volunteer Newsletters Souk Links

Morocco Week in Review 
October 5, 2019

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web

Mixed Marriages in Morocco: Everything You Need to Know

A comprehensive guide to mixed marriages between Americans and Moroccans.

By Morgan Hekking - Sep 29, 2019 Rabat

Marriages between Moroccans and foreigners are becoming increasingly common in today’s globalized world. Unfortunately, the process can be quite complicated, frustrating, and stressful. Each country has their own specific procedures for their citizens who wish to marry Moroccans, but Western countries generally follow the same guidelines. The following steps specifically pertain to Americans looking to get married in Morocco to a Moroccan citizen.     
Keep in mind that your future Moroccan spouse needs his or her own set of documents as required by Moroccan law. Some of these can only be obtained in the town of his or her birth.

If you do not live in Morocco, you must be sure that you have everything you need before you arrive. You should also give yourself ample time to complete the process in Morocco. Some sources say that two weeks is enough to pull off a marriage in Morocco, but I think this is pushing it. For me, the process took three weeks, not including the marriage ceremony or honeymoon. If your spouse does not have connections at the police station or family court or is not able to pay to expedite the process, it may take longer. 

Places to go

  1. The US Consulate General in Casablanca: You only need to go once, if all goes well. You will spend a few hours there. Your future spouse cannot come inside with you.   
  1. The Ministry of Justice in Rabat: You’ll have to go two or three times depending on your specific situation. The staff seems to only speak French or Arabic, so this may be intimidating for only-English speakers like myself. However, everyone working there was very kind. Your spouse cannot go inside with you but he or she can explain what you need to the guards. 
  1. The police station in the city where you intend to marry: You should only need to go once, but be prepared for multiple visits. Your spouse will do most of the talking here. 
  1. The family court in the city where you intend to marry: You’ll need to go at least three times. You will spend a lot of time here and your spouse will be responsible for almost all communication.  ……………………… 
    Read more here:

American in Morocco: How My ‘Moroccan Face’ Helped Me Fit In.

Living in the southern part of the US, I’m frequently made aware that my looks are unique. I am different, and people want to know why. But in Morocco, ironically, my experience was the opposite. I was the same.

By Morocco World News  - Oct 27, 2018 By Samantha Tropper Rabat

I have the same hair color and texture, the same skin tone, the same eye color and shape, even a fairly similar facial form as many Moroccan women I saw. People did not inquire about my family background. That is, until I started talking. I was in Morocco learning Arabic, but I was studying Modern Standard Arabic, not Darija (the Moroccan dialect). Not knowing Darija, I struggled to understand native Moroccans when they spoke to each other. But people still spoke to me in Darija. ………….

10 Tips for Visiting Morocco

If you’re considering a visit to Morocco, here are ten travel tips you may not have heard before. 

By Morgan Hekking - Sep 28, 2019 Rabat

Morocco welcomed one million tourists every month in 2018, and that number has only grown in 2019. For prospective tourists, there are plenty of detailed travel guides out there and experts who are eager to share their knowledge of Morocco. But one list can’t include everything, so here are ten more tips for visiting Morocco.

It’s colder than you think

Weather forecasts for Morocco usually don’t give you an accurate idea of how hot or cold you will actually feel. It will usually be hotter or colder than you expect.  Winter inland travelers should be well aware of the frigid temperatures. But if you’re traveling to Morocco’s Atlantic or Mediterranean coasts between November and April, you may want to reconsider your packing list.  Daytime temperatures in Morocco’s coastal cities seldom drop below 50 F (10 C). If you’re living in a cold part of the world, you might think these are pretty nice winter conditions. Don’t let the numbers fool you. You will be cold.  Not every building has functioning heating systems, the air along the coast is very wet, and winds are strong. Each of these factors can make you feel colder than expected. Winter is also Morocco’s rainy season, so be prepared.  I suggest bringing a winter coat, rain boots, and warm pants, especially if you plan on going out and about at night.

Observatory in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains Pilots Groundbreaking Interstellar Discovery

Morocco’s famed Oukaimeden Observatory, which lies 50km south of Marrakech, operates the telescope that made the discovery possible. 

By Morgan Hekking  Oct 1, 2019 Rabat

Thanks to the TRAPPIST-Nord telescope at the Oukaimeden Observatory near Marrakech, astronomers have been able to detect gas molecules in an interstellar comet.  The discovery is seen as historic and groundbreaking as astronomers have never been able to detect this type of material in an interstellar object. 
The discovery is being lauded as an important advancement for science as it will now allow scientists to determine what interstellar objects are made of. With this information, scientists will be able to compare our solar system to other systems in the Milky Way galaxy. The Oukaimeden Observatory was founded in 2007 and was Morocco’s first university astronomical observatory. At present, it is jointly operated by Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakech and the University of Liege in Belgium.……………….

Empowerment: A Solution for Inequality in Rural Morocco

By Our Reporter Tuesday, 01 Oct 2019 Written by Victoria Burns and Lailah Said 

How the practice of empowerment has the potential to be the key for reducing the negative impacts of alienation and inequality among women in rural regions of Morocco.
“We do not speak in front of others because we are ignorant and uneducated.”
“I do not love myself.”
“I do not feel confident in myself.”
Imagine feeling this way about yourself. Now imagine hearing this from your mother, sister, or daughter, and knowing that the negative self-conception that they hold within themselves is due to social and cultural constraints beyond their control.

In Morocco as well as additional Middle East North African (MENA) countries, this mentality is one that both damages and at times defines the self-image of women and girls. Empowerment is defined by the Oxford American College Dictionary as the power given to someone to do something, and the process of becoming stronger and more confident; gaining agency. In action, it is the solution to alienation, and the source self-realization among these women.
A poor self-image can influence one’s outlook on life, and potentially prevent one from realizing and achieving one’s interests. However, as a result of circumstance, the perception that these women and girls in the Agerzrane village hold within themselves is not unreasonable nor unfathomable.
This village located in the High Atlas Mountains is difficult to travel to and from even by car, which is not a common possession. There are no social safety nets in proximity, including law enforcement and healthcare services. Most women have not completed school past the primary level due to the absence of a high school in the area and the great distance of about 40 kilometers of travel that would be required to reach the middle school. Even those that do attend school do not experience an immediate return on their investment in themselves, deterring them from returning to school.

Rabat’s Chellah: A History of Conquests and Cohabitation

The ancient archaeological site of Chellah is one of Rabat’s most popular tourist attractions.

By  Morgan Hekking  - Sep 28, 2019 Rabat

Morocco is home to nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites, one of them being the entire capital city of Rabat. With its unique blend of modernity and antiquity, Rabat is a must-visit for history-loving tourists. Overlooking the Oued Bouregreg, the red sandstone walls of Chellah are a formidable sight. Just past Bab Zaer, the ruins are easily accessible to those visiting Rabat. Upon entering, you’ll be immersed in a beautiful and well-preserved realm of ancient Moroccan history.   
There is compelling evidence that the site, which was a natural port on the banks of the Bouregreg, was first occupied by the Phoenicians as early as the third century BC. The Phoenician settlement was known as Shalat. The site was later controlled by Carthage, modern-day Tunisia….

How to Make Amazigh Tagoula.

Tagoula is an Amazigh (Berber) dish from the Souss region in south-west Morocco. It is a warming, comforting meal, ideal for an Autumn evening.

By Layla Dahamou - Sep 28, 2019 Rabat

Tagoula is a dish prepared with the grits of cereals such as corn, barley, or wheat. Traditionally it was prepared in the southwestern region of Souss for yenayer (Amazigh new year). When prepared for a celebration such as yenayer, it is served with Argan oil and honey as a garnish and to add a rich, luxurious flavor.
Tagoula is also traditional post-natal food. The filling dish is often prepared for new mothers as it is a great source of energy and also helps with lactation for those women who choose to breastfeed.  Today I will show you how to prepare tagoula with barley grits, it is an easy and delicious recipe…..

Imilchil Wedding Festival: An Ancient Commemoration of Love and Tragedy.

The festival is born from a tragic legend passed down through generations, the Amazigh equivalent of Romeo and Juliet.

By  Juliette Owen-Jones is a journalist and editor at Morocco World News. Aug 29, 2019 Rabat

Every year in Imilchil, a small town in the Atlas Mountains, up to 40 couples convene to tie the knot as part of a long-running tradition known as the Imchil Marriage Festival. The festival is currently in full swing, running from August 23 to September 8. The festival is born from a Berber legend, the Amazigh equivalent of Romeo and Juliet. As with all folklore passed down verbally, the story is varied depending on who tells it – but the general legend is that two star crossed lovers from the Ait Hadiddou tribe in the region wanted to marry, but their family, sworn enemies, forbade them.  Torn between their families’ wishes and their love for each other, the grief was so much that the couple cried themselves to death, and filled the two rivers in the region, now known as Isli (his) and Tislit (hers), with their tears. The tragedy does not end there – the tribes also believe that the couple was unable to be united in the afterlife because the mountain between the two rivers separates them in death as well as life. As a result, they are doomed to yearn for each other eternally………..

Morocco Is Largest Recipient of African Development Bank Funds in 2019

The AfDB has been heavily investing in Morocco since 1975, with a total investment of $10 billion by the end of 2017.

By Safaa Kasraoui is a journalist at Morocco World News. Sep 27, 2019 Rabat

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has 35 projects in Morocco for a total investment of about $3 billion so far in 2019, making the country AfDB’s top recipient, according to Maghreb Arab Press (MAP). AfDB’s funding in Morocco focused on the sectors of energy (31.5%), transportation (19.8%), water and sanitation (15.5%), and multi-sectoral and social development operations (12.7%). Some investment (11.2%) also went to the private sector and to agriculture (9.4%), according to the latest synthetic review of the bank’s results, unveiled Thursday, September 26, in Rabat. On a scale of 1 to 4, the performance of the bank’s portfolio in Morocco is “very satisfactory,” progressing from 2.6 in 2009 to 3.7 in 2018. The score improved because there are no high-risk projects, said Rudolphe Petras, senior results specialist at AfDB, who presented the review.

Maryam Touzani’s ‘Adam’ Wins Bronze Star at El Gouna Festival

The movie highlights the controversial topic of unwed mothers in Morocco.

Juliette Owen-Jones is a journalist and editor at Morocco World News. Sep 29, 2019 Rabat

Moroccan director Maryam Touzani’s film “Adam” has received yet another accolade, this time with the film winning a Bronze Star at the El Gouna Festival.
The El Gouna Festival, established in 2017, is an annual film festival held in Egypt. This year, the festival was held from September 19 to 27, and saw Sudanese director Amjad Abou win a Gold Star for his film “You’ll Die At the Age of 20.” The gold star comes with a $50,000 prize. In second place, winning the Silver Star and a cash prize of $25,000, was French director Jan Komasa’s feature film “Aid Al Korbane.” With “Adam,” her critically-acclaimed debut, Touzani won a cash prize of $15,000 for third place.

Morocco Needs an Alternative to ‘Halal Sex Education’ That Works

Morocco needs a comprehensive sexuality program to get ahead of sex-related social problems.

Youness Bermime is a contributing writer with a master's degree from University Hassan II, Faculty of Letters & Humanities. Sep 29, 2019 Casablanca

Recently there has been some talk regarding the inclusion of sex education in the Moroccan education system. Morocco must carefully consider what kind of sex education it promotes and should follow a comprehensive sexuality education. The talk comes as part of the “Covenant on the Rights of the Child in Islam” (CRII) which Morocco has signed. The convention, established in 2005, is pretty vague in language. However, it clearly stipulates that young Muslims must “receive proper sex education distinguishing between the lawful and unlawful.” So they must learn what is halal, permissible, and what is not. In other words, Morocco is about to embark on a quest to educate about religious morality and sex in the classroom……………..
Read more here:

Is a Visit to Morocco ‘a Visit to the Patriarchy’?

Travel blogs, online forums, and journalists often talk about sexual harassment in Morocco, advising Western women not to travel alone. But does Morocco really deserve this reputation?

By Madeleine Handaji - Sep 23, 2019 Rabat

When I was 16, a middle-aged man stopped me on a street corner, ostensibly asking for directions. It soon became clear that he had no interest in finding the nearest metro station. Calling me “beautiful,” he asked for my phone number, and when I refused, he literally chased me to the restaurant where I was meeting friends. At 18, I was groped by a stranger outside a nightclub, and at 23 verbally and physically harassed by a colleague in the school I worked at. At 26, a riot policeman grabbed my breasts and called me a w***e during a stop and search. And at 27 I was chased through a market by a stranger wanting to “talk.”

We Must Reverse Global Warming by Educating People in Green Schools

I believe education is our only hope for survival: Educating people in schools, in streets, in factories, in political parties, in civil society associations, etc., to be global citizens.

By Mohamed Chtatou - Dr Mohamed Chtatou is a professor at the University of Mohammed V in Rabat. Sep 18, 2019 Rabat

The planet Earth does not belong to us, and education that promotes global citizenship through green schools may be the only thing that can save it. Earth is an exceptional habitat, handed down to us from our parents and grandparents to live on and to pass on to future generations intact. Unfortunately, for decades we have almost criminally over-exploited this legacy to satisfy our destructive instincts of wealth and power. We unscrupulously burn forests, our own vital lungs. We pollute our rivers and oceans with plastics. We poison the air with toxic gases. In short, we methodically murder our mother Earth, without flinching….

300 Decision-Makers to Meet in Marrakech to Discuss Water Security.

All over the world, water resources are encountering increasing pressure related to economic activity, population growth, and urbanization.

By Yahia Hatim  - Sep 30, 2019 Rabat

 Marrakech will host the International Summit for Water Security on October 1-3. The Moroccan Ministry of Equipment, Transport, Logistics and Water is hosting the event in collaboration with the International Network of Basin Organizations (INBO) and the Global Institute for Water, Environment and Health (GIWEH).
More than 300 international decision-makers from 65 different countries, including 10 ministers of water, will take part in the summit. The participant list also includes heads of water management agencies and representatives from UN agencies, such as UN-Water, UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), and UNESCO. The summit, held under the theme “For Participative and Innovative Basin Management,” has multiple activities in its agenda. While the first two days have workshops and discussion panels planned, the last day will be dedicated for technical and cultural study visits to the Menara gardens and to the Water Museum “Aman.”

The organizing committee of the international meeting picked Marrakech to host the event for different reasons. The “Ochre City” has one of the oldest water distribution and management plans in Morocco’s history. The city also hosted the 22nd Conference of Parties (COP 22), which dedicated a whole day for water, under the Global Climate Action Agenda (GCAA)

Ministry of Culture Launches Renovation Projects of Monuments in Rabat.

Around MAD 11 million was allocated to the projects. 

By  Yahia Hatim  - Sep 19, 2019 Rabat

The Ministry of Culture announced yesterday, Wednesday 18, the launch of renovation works on the Marinid medersa (Marinid school) and Chellah necropolis in Rabat. The Minister of Culture, Mohamed Laaraj, gave the renovation projects the green light in the presence of the Wali (governor) of Rabat-Sale-Kenitra region, Mohamed Yaacoubi. The project of restoring the Marinid medersa is under supervision by the Ministry of Culture and the Italian Agency of Cooperation and Development (AICS). The budget allocated for this first project is MAD 4 million. It aims to preserve the decorations inside the medersa, along with restoring its minaret, walls, and entrance. The second project, costing MAD 7 million, concerns Chellah necropolis and its facilities. This includes its mosque, mihrab, minaret, and the mausoleum of Abi Al Hassan. The project aims to renovate all of these facilities and to preserve the area’s white stork population.

‘Why Are You Reading?’: A Response to a Difficult Question.

Moroccan children on average read for only 1 minute per day. This may not seem important in the age of mobile phones and computer games, but a world without books could be a world without a future.

By Madeleine Handaji  - Sep 30, 2019 Rabat

The questions and pronouncements of small children often have an innocent logic behind them and the power to provoke deep thought. My husband’s 6-year-old niece regularly asks me one such question. “What are you doing?” She asks. “Reading,” I reply. Then comes the supplementary question, a question to which I have never before had to consider and answer, as reading is second nature to me. The supplementary question is, “Why?”

‘There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world’
One possible answer is simply that reading is fun. It opens up new worlds and possibilities. “There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all,” according to Jaqueline Kennedy Onnasis. But, in a world where phones, computers, and screens are taking over every aspect of our lives how can we convince our children to willingly walk towards those worlds and possibilities?

Having taught 16 year old boys in central London and pre-school and primary aged children in Casablanca, I can assure you that it isn’t an easy task. In London, constrained by timetabling and, of course, the national curriculum, I tried to enforce silent reading for my form group. I read to them, recommended books, offered texts in their native languages, but to no avail. They would stare blankly at the pages. “It’s boring.” “It’s difficult.” “I don’t like reading.” Despite an inspirational and committed English department, these boys were just too far gone. Helping in my husband’s school in Casablanca’s Derb Sultan, I had the opportunity to work with younger children. These little people happily sat at my feet and listened to a story, were thrilled to re-enact fairy tales, and immerse themselves in new ideas and places. Unfortunately, this excitement didn’t extend to when they were reading themselves.

Banking Committee at US Senate Wants to Diversify Moroccan-American Partnership

A delegation from the Banking Committee at the US Senate has arrived in Morocco to discuss means to boost the US-Moroccan partnership.

Safaa Kasraoui is a journalist at Morocco World News. Oct 1, 2019 Rabat

Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani received a delegation from the Banking Committee at the US Senate in a meeting on Monday, September 30.
Senator Richard Shelby, chairman of the Banking Committee at the US senate, led the delegation composed of members of his Banking Committee at the US Senate. During the meeting, Shelby expressed his committee’s determination to boost partnership with Morocco, a statement from the head of the government office announced.  The committee also expressed satisfaction with Morocco’s initiatives for “economic and social development in Africa.”
El Othmani  recalled the “longstanding friendly relations between Morocco and the United States.” He said Morocco and the US share  a “strategic partnership.”
The visit is part of the two countries’ “strategic dialogue” initiative the development of their 2006 free trade agreement, El Othmani said. He added that discussions also touched on furthering US-Morocco cooperation on several other sectoral agreements that reflect the depth of bilateral relations. ,
Morocco and the US inked the free trade agreement (FTA) on  June 15, 2004. The agreement has been effective since January 1, 2006.

First skeletal remains of Phoebodus found in Morocco

by Bob Yirka , October 2, 2019

An international team of researchers has found the first skeletal remains of Phoebodus—an ancient shark—in the Anti-Atlas Mountains in Morocco. In their paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the group describes the fossil and compares it to a modern shark and fish. Ancient sharks that are long extinct left behind a lot of teeth—but very little other evidence of their existence. This is because their skeletons were made of soft cartilage instead of hard bone. Because of that, rare fossilized skeletons generate much excitement in the archeology community. In this new effort, the researchers report that they found a complete fossilized skeleton of Phoebodus, a shark that lived over 350 million years ago……………….

Going to Morocco on a motorbike: a bumpy ride for Chinese manufacturers

Morocco is a North African country located along the Mediterranean Sea. With approximately 36 million people, it is an influential country in Africa. As a hybrid regime, Morocco originally endorsed a parliamentary constitutional monarchy with Prime Minister Saadeddine Othmani as the head of government, but since 2015, King Mohammed VI started a series of reforms that directed Morocco to transform into a unitary constitutional monarchy. Meanwhile, Morocco also looks to expand its foreign network by establishing new relationships with other countries, making it a new sanctuary for investors scavenging business opportunities.
Morocco has several major trading partners including China, France, Spain, and the United States. In 2000, Morocco’s free trade agreement (FTA) with Europe was put into effect. Morocco has long been a firm trading partner with the European countries. Together, 75% of Morocco’s exports go to Europe with France being the largest trading partner and Spain being the second. Morocco’s main exports are phosphates and textiles, while it imports crude oil, telecommunication equipment, transistors, and plastics. Morocco buys most of its motorcycles from France, but there are more brands from other countries, too. A variety of brands exist in the local market, but the customers obviously prefer the low-cost motorbikes. ########################################

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