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Wednesday, 28 March 2018 12:00 AM

Islam in Morocco – thoughts for visitors

Morocco is a very welcoming country with the overwhelming majority of Moroccans being Muslims (in the main being either Sunni or non-denominational). Whilst the very large majority of Moroccans have a moderate view of Islam influence, Islam permeates every corner of Morocco and every aspect of Moroccan life and visitors to Morocco should be sympathetic to that and understand that Islam is protected in law.

Mosques ...

... are found nationwide, in every city, town and village and the call to prayer by the muezzin can be heard in every such place five times a day, reminding you that you are in a fascinating and different country. Very few mosques allow non-Muslims to enter, the most notable exception being the Hassan II mosque in Casablanca.

Attitude to Men and Women

Men and male children have far greater status, freedom and opportunity, although education for girls, which was significantly lacking in rural areas is now being addressed.  Worship in many mosques is generally reserved for men and all Muslim leaders are male, with women being able to pray at restricted times. Female visitors travelling alone may feel awkward and receive unwanted attention so are advised to stay with travelling companions, especially in quieter districts of cities and towns, should not be alone in public after dark (the sad case in many countries) and should dress appropriately for the location to not encourage unwarranted attention.

The Hijab ...

... the Islamic style of dress and head covering for women, is often seen in use in Morocco and is common in some places but does not predominate. Due to the moderate nature of Islam in Morocco there have been reports of some discrimination against women wearing the hijab, and it is not encouraged by the government. The niqab, the veil or face mask section of a burqa, is rarely seen in use in Morocco. Visitors are advised to wear clothing that does not reveal too much, except on the beach and in your accommodation.

Alcohol ...

... is deemed to be an intoxicant and is therefore forbidden under Islamic law. In Morocco alcohol is served is some restaurants (although very rarely if near a mosque), hotels, a few riads and in the very few bars – there are even bars that serve the Moroccan population and are interesting to visit although very hard to find. Morocco even produces its own beers (e.g. Casablanca brand) and wines, although many vineyards are foreign owned and not open to the public to visit. Visitors are advised only to drink where alcohol is served or in your own accommodation, not in public.

Ramadan

Finally, during the holy month of Ramadan most Moroccans, including those working in tourist facilities, will not be eating during daylight, hence will have a distinct lack of energy - do not expect or demand "normal" service during this period.

Caveat to this summary

Naturally Morocco is a specialist in bespoke travel to Morocco, not an expert in religion or history – the notes above are meant as an overview for interested parties, we apologise if there are any errors and we welcome any corrections sent to our main e-mail address.