Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tariqa Charqawiyya ~ a Hit at the Fez Sufi Festival

In the 2013 Fes Festival of Sufi Culture the Charqawiyya gave one of the most popular performances and once again a good crowd were on hand to greet them at the Batha Museum. The group is renowned for its infectious high energy ceremonies

The Tariqa did not disappoint. After a quite opening chant of “la illaha il Allah”, the two box drummers of the thirteen man troup upped the tempo which captured the slightly smaller crowd at the Batha Museum.

The Charqawiyya are a branch of the Shadhiliyya, a North African Sufi order out of which many of the present day Moroccan Sufi brotherhoods have sprung. The Charqawiyya are in actuality an offshoot of a prior order annexed from the Shadhiliyya, namely the Jazuliyya, and take their name from Muhammad al-Sharqi (d.1601), a descendent of the 2nd caliph, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab. Sometimes the Charqawiyya are known by the full name: Charqawiyya Jazuliyya-Shadhiliyya.

Based historically in Boujad, a Moroccan town bordering the Atlas mountains, they are known for their political activism, beginning in the 17th Century with their support for Sultan Moulay al-Rashid (d.1672), the founder of the ‘Alaouite dynasty of Moroccan kings, which still rules to this day.

Tomorrow 9pm (Wednesday): The Tariqa Qadiriyya from Bosnia Herzegovena

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Moroccan News Briefs #113

Moroccan TV pushes for better representation of women

The Moroccan channel 2M recently unveiled a  charter which it has established, for the enhancement of the image of women in the media. Recognizing that in the media in general does not adequately reflect the role of women in society, and diversity of responsibilities they assume, 2M has established an ad hoc committee that has worked for nearly a year with the various stakeholders, in a participatory and innovative approach .

This helped develop a a pilot project aimed at creating a positive ripple effect on to other media.

According to Salim Sheikh , CEO of 2M, "the persistence of negative female stereotypes in the media is an obstacle to self-esteem and promoting the rightful place of women in Moroccan society".

"2M , by its historical role as citizen chain and its status as a major public media leader, a pioneer role in the field of promoting gender role . It is a long process that requires the involvement of everyone, " he said.

Moroccan women occupy leadership responsibilities in the media. In fact, over 40 % of journalistic body 2M is composed of women. They also benefit from encouraging visibility with more than 40 % of transmissions broadcast being dedicated to women.

Fighting for gender equality in Morocco

Morocco World News reports that over the weekend Moroccan women organized a March in Rabat to denounce the government’s lack of will to implement the provisions of the constitution on gender equality.

Moroccan women organized the march in Rabat

Between 1,000 and 1,200 people marched on Sunday morning in Rabat in response to the call launched by Civil Coalition for the Implementation of Article 19 in the Moroccan Constitution. Demonstrators, who came from all corners of the country, including from distant cities such as Laayoune and Guelmim, denounced Benkirane government’s policy that “blocks the establishment of legal mechanisms guaranteeing the rights of women,” particularly those contained in Article 19 of the Constitution. Demonstrators demanded the elimination of all forms of violence and discrimination against women and girls.

Article 19 of Moroccan Constitution, adopted by referendum in July 2011, clearly calls for gender equality and yet its implementation is taking very slow steps.

Article 19 states that: “Men and women have equal civil, political, economic, social, cultural and environmental rights and freedoms as listed in this article and in the rest of the constitution as well as the conventions and international treaties duly ratified by Morocco in conformity with the constitution’s provisions and the kingdom’s constants and its laws. The state shall work towards the establishment of parity between men and women. Therefore, it has assigned a specialized authority to ensure parity between men and women and fight against all forms of discrimination.”

Tourism represent 9.7% of GDP in 2024

According to a new 2014 report: "The economic impact of tourism and travel" by the WTTC (World Travel and Tourism Council ), tourism and trips to Morocco will grow significantly in 2014.

Tourism's direct contribution to GDP accounted for 76 1 billion dirhams, or $ 9.5 billion ( 8.6% of total GDP) in 2013 and is expected to increase 8.1% this year. This share would experience an average annual growth rate ( CAGR ) of 5.6% between 2014 and 2024 to represent term 141 500 000 000 dirhams ( DH), or 9.7 % of GDP.

The tourism sector had a direct workforce of 814,000 people in 2013, or 7.6 % of total employment. This contribution is expected to increase 6.1% in 2014 and 2.7% annually to 2024, to reach 1.13 million direct jobs (8.8% of total employment).

For indirect jobs, the WTTC expects an increase of 6.4 % in 2014, 1.91 million jobs. In the coming 10 years, 1.31 million indirect jobs will be created thanks to tourism and travel .

District Police in Casablanca nab a gang of scammers

National Brigade of the PJ in this Casa have caught a gang, reported to be the authors of many scams. These alleged suspects were arrested in possession of numerous falsified documents and hardware ( a scanner), says a police source. This band of seven alleged crooks has been raging across the country and scammed finance companies.

The seven under police guard

Their technique: after falsifying documents, including identity cards, the crooks have created "fictitious" companies with business registers also falsified. With these documents they managed to deceive banks into giving credit for the acquisition of luxury cars.

Though captured in Casablanca, the leader of the "mafia network" is from the south. He is said to be an expert in document forgery.

 "The members of this criminal gang admitted falsifying a dozen cards to date. With these false documents, the suspects were able to create 14 companies and build business registers to obtain bank loans. This allows them to feed an underground pathway for acquisition of luxury cars (twenty) they flowed thereafter at ridiculously low prices,  says the local Police Chief

Subjected to intensive interrogations, the suspects have admitted the facts alleged against them.

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Small Earthquake Felt From Fez To Ifrane

An earthquake in the Fez region was felt over a wide area this morning. The earthquake, which was described as moderate, shook windows and furniture and woke many people in the area. No aftershocks were recorded and no casualties or material damages have been reported.

Magnitude : 4.5
Local Time : 2014-04-15 08:56:47
GMT/UTC Time : 2014-04-15 07:56:47
Depth (Hypocenter) : 2 km

A smaller earthquake measuring 3.8 on the Richter scale was recorded the same day last year (Tuesday April 16, 2013) in Ifrane province (60 km from Fez).

The worst recent earthquake recorded in Morocco was that of the coastal city of Al Houceima, on the northern edge of the Rif Mountains. The tragic earthquake was of magnitude 6,4 MI, and caused about 628 deaths, 926 injuries, the destruction 2,539 homes, and more than 15,000 people were left homeless.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Nacer Khemir's "Looking for Muhyiddin" Screened at Fes Sufi Festival

The Fes Festival of Sufi Culture took a break from the chanting last night to watch a screening of a film by Tunisian filmmaker Nacer Khemir

Looking for Muhyiddin is a film about the great mystic Sheikh Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi. The film begins as a man returns home to bury his mother. In order to keep a promise he made to his father to hand over the “amana” to a certain Sheikh Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi, he begins a journey that takes him to ten different countries. Along the way viewers learn the most important aspects of Islam.

With the expected showers arriving, the organisers of the Sufi Festival made the right call in switching the venue from the Batha Museum to Dar Batha belonging to the French Institute.

Dar Batha - a delightful venue but too small for the number of people wishing to attend

However, the lack of advance notice caused some people to arrive late and the very small venue could not hold all of those wanting to see the film. Rumour has it that there may be an extra screening on Wednesday - we will keep you posted.

The large screen at the French Institute gave everyone inside a good view

Those lucky enough to get a seat were treated to a remarkable journey through cultures and languages as the search for the spirit of Ibn Arabi unfolds. It is an delightful, thoughtful and at times moving piece of cinema.

It was the filmmaker Nacer Khemir's intention that anyone who sees this film gets a very clear idea of what Islam is and when Khemir was asked what is the Islam of Ibn 'Arabi? he responded with a poem from Ibn Arabi.

"My heart is now capable of taking on all forms.
It is a pasture for gazelles and a monastery for monks,
a temple for idols, and the Kaaba for pilgrims.
It is the tables of the Torah, the book of the Koran,
it practices the religion of love wherever its caravans take it.
Love is my faith, my religion."

Khemir says this is "a pretty accurate explanation of Islam: it is about a little-known vision of Islam. Given all the confusion surrounding Islam, it was important to me to spread the thoughts of this sheikh. He brings clarity to this confusion".

Nacer Khemir (Arabic: ناصر خمير‎) was born in 1948 in Korba in Tunisia, and has had a long career as a writer, artist, storyteller, and filmmaker. Khemir has a dozen publications and his work has been displayed in places such as the Centre Georges Pompidou, the City of Paris’ Museum of Modern Art and other European cities.

Among his films are works such as The Story of the Land of God or The Dove’s Lost Necklace, which won the Special Jury Award at the Locarno International Film Festival, in Italy, the First Award at the Belfort International Film Festival, in France, and the Special Jury Award at the Francophone Film Festival of Saint-Martin.

In 1984, he won the First Award at the Festival of Three Continents in Nantes, France, for his film The Searchers of the Desert. He also won the Opera Prima Award at the Festival of Carthage (Tunisia), the Palme D’or at the International Film Festival of Valencia and the Critics Award of the Mostra di Venezia.

Nacer Khemir


Looking For Muhyiddin ( Tunisia 2012 )
Direction: Nacer Khemir
Screenplay: Nacer Khemir
Director of Photography: Alexendre Leglis, Hazem Berrabah , Moez Chaabane ,Nacer Khemir, Pascal Poucet ,Soufiane Ben Haddada
Sound: Dana Farzanehpour, Khaled Ben Younes, Mouhamed Ali Chiboub , Vincent Villa, Yoland Decarsin
Music: Shiraz Jerbi
Editing: Nacer Khemir , Abir Messaoud
Cast: Gabriele Manndelkhan, Denis Gril, Nacer Khemir

Tomorrow evening (Tuesday) at the Batha Museum at 9pm: Samaâ with the Tariqa Charqawiyya

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Yoga Weekend in Fez

Jardin des Biehn is holding a yoga weekend on the 19th and 20th of April with Rima Toutain

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