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Morocco: Naming laws, springtime quiet and Sufi music

The Moroccan blogosphere was suspiciously quiet this week as temperatures rose and sandals came out of hiding. Everything Morocco explained the spring phenomenon in Fez, describing its wonderful seasonal foods:

There are a lot of reasons to love Spring in Fez. Fava beans – Moroccan cooks make a special couscous when fava beans are fresh and abundant. The couscous grain is larger and darker than the standard couscous and the dish has a rich, subtle flavor with just a bit of meat added to it. Beqola – this ‘weed’ salad may be an acquired taste, but I think it falls in the category of soul food. It's the kind of food you crave when it's not around anymore.

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Springtime in Morocco also brings tourists. Maryam of My Marrakesh discusses springtime fashion in Morocco, meanwhile giving good advice to tourists on how to dress. She mentions the Moroccan djellaba, describing it as “the long Moroccan hooded robe reminiscent of Star Wars. (Ahem, the film stole its stylistic inspiration from Morocco and not the other way around.)” Her advice to foreigners (“Short shorts and short skirts really are not appropriate daywear”) sparked a bit of debate from Moroccan blogger Amine of Label Ash:

Is the “to the knee” rule not too… excessive? :-)
Whether in Marrakesh, Casablanca, Rabat, you find girls and ladies walking in the street wearing shorts, and they are not necessary on their way to the beach or the swimming pool…
That's the heterogeneity of Morocco: you can find women with scarves (… grrr) but also very pretty girls wearing clothes and you would see them in any Western Country…
Even more as a tip for foreigners, I trust Moroccans tolerate more the “Western style” without any prejudice…
Am I wrong?

Taamarbuuta of The Morocco Report wrote a short commentary on an article entitled “Netherlands: Moroccan babies get only names approved by Morocco” from the Islam in Europe blog which stated that Dutch municipalities give new Moroccan parents a list of names approved by the Moroccan government when they want to register a birth.

Francophone blogger Ibn Kafka responded in the comments of the post that there are loopholes to the naming process:

For the sake of example, you may perfectly give your child Dutch names when registering him with Dutch authorities, and Arab names when registering him/her with the Moroccan consulate. Even better, you might give him/her dual names, i.e. a Moroccan name and a Dutch name – while the Dutch authorities would register both, the Moroccan authorities would be perfectly content to register the child under his Moroccan name.

BO18 countered, stating that “the consulate in Amsterdam won’t register your child until you have registered it at your local Dutch city-council. And they won’t register your child if the Dutch certificate doesn’t state a “Muslim” name. It's therefore almost impossible for Moroccan parents to register their child in both countries with a non-Muslim name.”

The last noteworthy piece this week is a post from The View From Fez chronicling the opening night of the Sufi Festival of Fez in photographs. The View's Samir lauds the festival, saying “All the extraordinary contradictions that one expects in Fez were there – musicians in suits, tinkling fountains, a robed man dispensing orange-flower water on the hands of the guests and everything working like clockwork!”

2 comments

  • melleg

    So, I’m moving to Morocco in August to get married and we’ll see from there where will get established. If we stay in Morocco and I have a kid (Inshallah) are you telling me that if I register the kid with the Moroccan Authorities it HAS TO have a Muslim name ? The kid is already going to have the father’s last name which is Moroccan, why should they have any say over the first name ? If that is the case, I guess my kids will have 2 names !!! …One registered at the US Consulate and one for Morocco. Pas juste cela…ca ne compte meme pas les noms français ???

  • Kamal

    My friend has just returned from Canada and she plans to settle in Morocco for good. She has a two years old kid who has the Canadian nationality. Thanks to the newly amended citizenship code, my friend can now transfer her Moroccan nationality to her son who is born to a non-Moroccan father ( a right that was denied to women for a long time). However, she is facing another kind of problem related to naming her son. While abroad, she gave her son the Arabic name of Amir (prince), but this name is restricted and not approved by the Moroccan government because the country is a kingdom and only the royal family members are entitled to use the name! To satisfy the Moroccan authorities, however, she registered her son under another name that no one uses because every one calls her son Amir including me.

    It took Moroccan NGOs and human rights organizations a long time to convince the government to change the Moroccan citizenship code so as to improve gender equality in the country, and I think in the presence of more pressing issues (corruption, poverty, illiteracy, etc.), issues that are of more importance to the Moroccan public, there will not be a change in the near future regarding naming laws in Morocco.

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