Western sahara Major events

Euronews: Morocco’s Energy, Health Sectors, Success Stories In Africa

Western Sahara Worldnews - Fri, 01/06/2017 - 12:40

The North Africa Post

Euronews has recently published a report shedding light on some of the projects that turned out to be success stories at the continental level, making the kingdom a model to follow in Africa.

“Morocco has been taking solid steps to apply its development strategy to improve its economic growth and presence in regional markets,” said the European news platform, adding that the success of the projects led by the Moroccan enterprises is largely driven by two sectors: energy and health.

In this regards, the European news outlet zooms on the projects launched as part of Morocco’s export promotion strategy, Maroc Export, in collaboration with the African Development Bank.

In the energy sector, special attention was given to Fabrilec a firm that put up to 800 km of power lines across Burkina Faso in addition to Energy Transfo which has recently won a Great Africa award for its work highlighting “Made in Morocco” across the continent.

As for the health sector, Euronews highlights the breakthrough made by CooperPharma in Rwanda where it will build a new factory.

Posted by North Africa Post

North Africa Post’s news desk is composed of journalists and editors, who are constantly working to provide new and accurate stories to NAP readers.

Panic In Algeria Over Potential Eviction Of Polisario From AU, Jeune Afrique Says

Western Sahara Worldnews - Fri, 01/06/2017 - 12:34

The North Africa Post

As soon as Morocco expressed and submitted its reintegration request to the African Union, panic spread among the kingmakers in the Algerian regime amid prospects of an upcoming eviction of the Polisario from the pan-African organisation, France-based Algerian journalist Farid Alilat wrote on Jeune Afrique magazine.

The journalist, who is well versed on Algerian domestic politics, gave an analysis showing Algeria’s desperate schemes to foil Morocco’s bid to regain its legitimate place within Africa’s institutional family. Citing several editorials of Algerian regime mouthpieces such as EL Moujahid newspaper, Farid Alilat writes that the military junta in Algiers is set on hindering Morocco’s African endeavor.

Alilat notes that Algerian officials have been so far orchestrating a propaganda campaign through the media claiming that Morocco’s return to the African union will create divisions within the organization.

Moreover, Algerian media and diplomacy has indulged in a vicious circle of terminology manipulation by saying that Morocco is rather seeking an “adhesion” or “integration” of the African union instead of a reintegration or return.

In this respect, the journalist quotes Ramtane Lamamra, Algeria’s foreign minister saying that “Morocco is welcome as a 55th member of the African union on an equal footing in rights and obligations with the other current 54 members.”

The journalist notes, however, that the Algerian political class is not unanimous in showing hostility to Morocco. Lakhdar Brahimi, Algerian United Nations diplomat and former foreign minister, recently called for normalizing ties with Morocco and opening the closed land borders.

The Polisario Front has been warned by one of its continental backers that there are odds that its seat as member of the African Union is at risk as several countries aligned with Morocco are set to vote for the eviction of the separatist front and its self-proclaimed pseudo Sahrawi Republic (SADR) from the Union.

A team led by Legal Affairs Adviser of the outgoing chairperson of the African Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, has travelled to Tindouf camp in Algeria to inform members of the separatist movement of the future loss of their seat within the pan-African organization, Moroccan daily Assabah reported recently.

At the latest African Union summit, 28 states expressed full support for Morocco’s reintegration of the African institutional family and called for suspending the membership of the Algerian-backed polisario separatist entity. The number of backers of Morocco’s return to the AU has since then increased to about 40.

Posted by North Africa Post

North Africa Post’s news desk is composed of journalists and editors, who are constantly working to provide new and accurate stories to NAP readers.

CIA Warns Morocco Of Daesh Attacks

Western Sahara Worldnews - Fri, 01/06/2017 - 09:06

Middle East Monitor

The US Central Intelligence Agency, the CIA, has warned Morocco that Daesh could carry out attacks in Morocco and Tunisia using trucks similar to those in Berlin and Nice in the coming days.

Morocco’s Al-Sabbah newspaper revealed yesterday that the CIA has warned Morocco specifically that Daesh may have instructed its members to return to their home countries for the purpose of organising truck attacks and targeting crowds at important, well-populated events.

The CIA report noted that nearly 30 per cent of Daesh foreign fighters have recently escaped from conflict zones in Iraq and Syria and returned to their home countries.

Algeria has recently tightened controls at its border with Tunisia fearing returning members of the Jundullah terrorist group may hit strategic interests in the country.

The Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations (BCIJ) estimated that some 1,500 Moroccan have joined Daesh.

Hilton Continues Moroccan Expansion With First Hotel In Casablanca

Western Sahara Worldnews - Fri, 01/06/2017 - 03:19

EIN NEWS

Hilton (NYSE: HLT) (www.Hilton.com) has signed a management agreement with Group Sadiki (www.GroupSadiki.com) to open its first hotel in Casablanca.

The news follows the conclusion of a landmark year for Hilton in Morocco which saw it re-establish a presence in the country in March 2016, with the opening of Hilton Garden Inn Tanger City Center.

The mid-scale Hilton Garden Inn brand (www.HGI.com) will now be soon represented in Morocco’s largest city, with construction set to begin this year.

Hilton Garden Inn Casablanca Sidi Maarouf will consist of an initial 118 guest rooms with space available on site for further expansion. The hotel forms part of a mixed use development with a 550sqm ballroom and Moroccan-oriental restaurant also to be built in the vicinity. The Hilton Garden Inn will contain three dining options on property, in addition to another 300sqm of event space to the complex. It is forecast that the hotel may welcome its first guests in 2021.

Carlos Khneisser, VP, Development, MENA, Hilton Worldwide said: “Casablanca is a market we’ve been looking at for some time and we’re confident that we’ve now identified the right partner and the right location for our debut property. Sidi Maarouf is rapidly establishing itself as not only the gateway to the city center, with the construction of its new suspension bridge, but as a significant business district in its own right.”

Sidi Maarouf is located in the South West of Casablanca and has emerged as the city’s new business district with several multinationals establishing a presence in recent years. It enjoys an enviable location for hosting meetings and events, at just 25km from Mohamed V Airport and also directly accessible by tramway.

Abderrahim Sadiki of Group Sadiki said: “It is a privilege for us to bringing the Hilton name to Casablanca for the very first time. As more and more businesses seek to locate their operations in Sidi Maarouf we see a demand for an increase in the levels of accommodation. In taking the decision to expand our existing operations at this site to include a hotel, we are pleased to be doing so in partnership with a major international operator such as Hilton, who we believe will help us achieve optimum results.”

John Greenleaf, Global Head, Hilton Garden Inn, said: “Having successfully launched our brand in Morocco earlier this year we are confident that Hilton Garden Inn Casablanca Sidi Maarouf will serve the needs of travellers seeking a trusted yet affordable international hotel brand. Hilton Garden Inn is known across the world for offering amenities and services for travellers to sleep deep, stay fit, eat well and work smart while away from home.”

The construction site of Hilton Garden Inn Sidi Maarouf will be located in close proximity to the interchange between three main highways, the N11, A7 and A5 making it an ideal choice for travellers with interest both in Casablanca and in greater Morocco.

Distributed by APO on behalf of Hilton Worldwide.
Media Contact: Huw Harrow Hilton Worldwide Huw.Harrow@Hilton.com+971 (0) 56 416 1323

About Hilton Garden Inn: The award-winning Hilton Garden Inn hotel brand (www.HGI.com) provides guests with upscale accommodations and the modern amenities needed for a successful and comfortable experience for both business and leisure guests. The satisfaction promise affirms that Hilton Garden Inn will to do whatever it takes to ensure every guest is satisfied, or they don’t pay. You can count on us. Guaranteed™. Approachable Team Members operating at more than 700 hotels around the world are committed to guaranteeing today’s busy travelers are appreciated and have everything they need to be productive during their stay. Hilton HHonors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels receive instant benefits, including an exclusive member discount that can’t be found anywhere else, free standard Wi-Fi and digital amenities like digital check-in with room selection and Digital Key (selected locations) available exclusively through the industry-leading Hilton HHonors app. For more information about Hilton Garden Inn visit www.HGI.com or News.HGI.com or connect on social media at Facebook (www.Facebook.com/HiltonGardenInn), Twitter (https://Twitter.com/hiltongardeninn), YouTube (www.Youtube.com/hiltongardeninn), and Instagram (www.Instagram.com/hiltongardeninn).

About Hilton: Hilton (NYSE: HLT) (www.Hilton.com) is a leading global hospitality company, comprising more than 4,800 managed, franchised, owned and leased hotels and timeshare properties with nearly 789,000 rooms in 104 countries and territories. For 97 years, Hilton has been dedicated to continuing its tradition of providing exceptional guest experiences. The company’s portfolio of 13 world-class global brands includes Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Canopy by Hilton, Curio – A Collection by Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton, Embassy Suites by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton by Hilton, Tru by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton and Hilton Grand Vacations. The company also manages an award-winning customer loyalty program, Hilton HHonors®. Hilton HHonors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to benefits including an exclusive member discount, free standard Wi-Fi, as well as digital amenities that are available exclusively through the industry-leading Hilton HHonors app, where Hilton HHonors members can check-in, choose their room, and access their room using a Digital Key. Visit http://News.HiltonWorldwide.com for more information and connect with Hilton on Facebook (www.Facebook.com/hiltonworldwide), Twitter (www.Twitter.com/hiltonworldwide), YouTube (www.Youtube.com/hiltonworldwide), Flickr (www.Flickr.com/hiltonworldwide), LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/company/hilton-worldwide), and Instagram (www.Instagram.com/hiltonworldwide).

About Group Sadiki: Group Sadiki (www.GroupSadiki.com) is a private corporation which was founded in 1980 and based in Casablanca, Morocco. Group Sadiki is a family owned and operated business, which through its subsidiaries, operates in a wide range of activities, which engages in the following sectors: • Oil and Gas sector; operating auto service stations through multinational brands • Auto Mechanic Services • F&B Outlets • Food Catering and Event Planning Services • Real Estate • Hospitality • Philanthropy Group Sadiki aims to be the driving force in Morocco in redefining industries across key sectors that Group Sadiki currently operates in as well as other underdeveloped fields in Morocco and it’s region.

Contact: Angle 10 Mars et Boulevard Abdelkader Sahraoui, Sidi Othman, Casablanca, Maroc 20700. Email: contact@GroupSadiki.com; Website: www.GroupSadiki.com. Group Sadiki Office: +212 522 37 84 42 or +212 522 37 15 57.

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Morocco Picks Financial And Legal Advisers For LNG Import Plan

Western Sahara Worldnews - Fri, 01/06/2017 - 02:49

Hellenic Shipping News
in Freight News
by Aziz El Yaakoubi

Moroccan state-owned power utility ONEE has picked HSBC Middle East Limited as financial adviser for its plan to boost its imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG), ONEE said in a statement.

It has also chosen the law firm Ashurst LLP as legal adviser for the same plan.

The HSBC contract is worth $7 million while Ashurst will earn around $2 million, the statement said.

The entire project, worth up to $4.6 billion, includes the import of up to 7 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas by 2025, the construction of a jetty, terminal, pipelines and gas-fired power plants.

Source: Reuters (Reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Adrian Croft)

Polisario Chief Transferred To Hospital In Spain

Western Sahara Worldnews - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 17:05

Sahara News
by Ali Haidar

The Polisario leader, Brahim Ghali, who is reportedly critically ill, was flown to Spain and admitted to a specialized hospital in Madrid, according to corroborative sources.

Ghali must undergo surgery for a cancerous tumor in the stomach, according to medical sources in Madrid.

Before Brahim Ghali was flown to Spain, where he is summoned to appear before the National Audience for “torture, forced disappearances, illegal detention, rape and sexual abuse, and serious human rights violations”, the Algerian government had to ask Spanish authorities to suspend the arrest warrant issued against him because of his serious health condition.

Since 2008, the torturer of the Tindouf camps has been summoned to appear before the National Audience, the highest Spanish criminal court, to answer for the crimes he committed as a senior executive of the Polisario in the Tindouf camps and also against some thirty fishermen from the Canary Islands. The fishermen were killed at his orders, while he was leading an armed militia operating off the Western Sahara between 1976 and 1989.

But Brahim Ghali never appeared before Spanish judge Pablo Ruz who summoned him after he heard the testimonies of several of his victims.

The arrival of the torturer of Tindouf in Madrid did not go unnoticed. Several Spanish and Sahrawi associations have demanded that he be arrested after his recovery so that he answers for the crimes he is being charged with.

Another Spanish Judge, José de la Mata, decided last summer to reopen the case of crimes committed in Tindouf between 1974 and 1988, following two complaints. One of the complaints was filed by the Sahrawi Association for the Defense of Human Rights (ASADEH) against Brahim Ghali and 28 other individuals, including Polisario members and senior officers of the Algerian army.

At their hearing before the National Audience, the victims of these torturers gave heartbreaking testimonies about the tortures and the inhuman treatments that they had undergone in the Polisario jails.

These survivors also unveiled before the Court the names of the Sahrawi detainees who died under torture as well as the names of the authors of these crimes.

Now that the main defendant is on Spanish soil, his fate depends on the ability of the justice to convince the Spanish executive to arrest him when he leaves the hospital.

Morocco’s PM To Form Government Of Former Majority

Western Sahara Worldnews - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 14:49

Asharq Al Awsat
by Hatim Betioui

Head of National Rally of Independents Aziz Akhannouch received a proposal concerning the new cabinet from the appointed Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane.

On Wednesday, Benkirane received Akhannouch in his home in Rabat where the two discussed the formation of the new government. With Istiqlal Party (IP) not likely to be included, Akhannouch has achieved a partial victory.

But, the great win goes to Benkirane himself who has the support and of IP with 46 members of the parliament. Istiqlal Party considered it was part of the majority formed by the PM even though the party won’t participate in the government.

Akhannouch said he received an offer from the appointed PM and described the meeting with Benkirane as “important”.

He added that he will discuss the matter with his allies: Secretary General of the Constitutional Union Party Mohamed Sajid and Popular Movement’s Secretary-General Mohand Laenser.

Akhannouch didn’t give any further details concerning the proposal, yet he said he would announce it to the public within two days, the duration Benkirane granted to Akhannouch to deliberate the matter with his partners before giving his final response.

Informed sources at Justice and Development Party’s (PJD) and National Rally of Independents told Asharq al-Awsat that the new government is formed of the same previous majority which included: PJD, National Rally of Independents, Popular Movement, and Party of Progress and Socialism (PPS).

Secretary General of PPS said that both Akhannouch and Laenser informed him of Benkirane’s intentions of forming the new government from the former majority.

It seems that Benkirane still hasn’t forgiven Sec-Gen of Socialist Union of Popular Forces (USFP) Idris Lashkar for not clearly stating his opinion and being vague when the discussions about government’s formation first began.

Earlier, Asharq al-Awsat newspaper reported that Benkirane will suggest to the secretariat two governmental formations. The first one will be as follows: 125 seats for PJD, 37 seats for National Rally of Independents and 12 seats for Party of Progress and Socialism, while the second formation includes 395 seats composed of the above three parties in addition to the Popular Movement.

Asharq al-Awsat also mentioned that Benkirane asked during the meeting whether the seats that were supposed to be given to IP should remain for the Justice and Development Party or should be distributed to some technocrat candidates, close to Istiqlal Party.

The Dazzling Art Of Morocco

Western Sahara Worldnews - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 14:34

Travel pulse
Destination & Tourism
by Carson Poplin

Morocco has a long, rich history that today lives on in traditional arts and crafts. The native Berber culture has been influenced by so many cultures that have left their mark on the area: Arab, Jewish, Andalusian and French. If you travel to Morocco, Fez and Marrakech are must-see cities and home to many artisans who make typical Moroccan arts and crafts.

Tours like Intrepid Group’s North Moroccan Adventure Tour make sure you get a good taste of their historic medinas, which are the older, walled and maze-like parts of town. Within these walls, merchants sell all kinds of goods and craftsmen sell their products. Seeing them being made is as uniquely Moroccan as you can get.

Technique generally adheres to guild traditions where masters pass their trade down to apprentices, even father to son through many generations. Today the survival of crafts depends on tourists and foreign support; and oftentimes tour groups may have deals with certain shops they take their customers to. In the end, you can rest assured knowing that you get authentic Moroccan souvenirs.

Ceramics

There’s no escaping the beautiful tile work that exists all throughout Morocco. Much of the architecture is Moorish design, which consists of three elements: stucco, painted and carved cedar wood and mosaic tiles, called zellij. One of the most impressive examples of mosaic tilework exists in Casablanca, in the Hassan II Mosque. Other ceramics famously made in Fez utilize the local fine red clay. They are still hand painted and assembled by skilled craftsmen. Workshops are open to visitors who wish to watch and see the ceramic making process.

Leather

The largest and oldest leather tannery is in the medina of Fez, called Fez el-Bali, and is pushing a thousand years old. The tradition of Moroccan leather-making is well established, and was even featured in an episode of the Amazing Race during season 25. Vessels are filled with mixtures that make the hair and other excess parts of the hide easy to remove. Then they are soaked in another mixture containing pigeon poop that prepares the hide for dyeing. All the work is done by men who knead the hides with their feet to soften the leather. The hides can be dyed a variety of colors, and still resist synthetic materials by sticking to natural dyes.

Metal work

Metal work is prominent in Moroccan architecture on doors and windows as elaborate decorations on hinges, knockers, knobs and grills. Other workshops make items for the home out of brass, silver and pewter. A big purchase for any Moroccan family is a teapot, which should be of such good quality one is enough for a lifetime. They can be as elaborately decorated as one wishes, and used daily to serve the Moroccan favorite, mint tea.

Rugs

The Berber tradition of rugs is over 2,000 years old. Each one produced is unique, and traditionally hand-made by women. Traditionally, rugs represent a story that is never finished. This is expressed through the tendency to have fringe only on one edge.

The opposite side won’t have fringe because it represents the continuation of time. Just like with leather, the dyeing materials are usually natural and remain so to this day. Rugs are very popular as collector’s items for tourists.

READ MORE: 4 Reasons Morocco is Best Experienced By Group

The Moroccans are known for a number of other goods as well, including textiles and jewelry. Additionally, each city may specialize in its own craft or version of a craft that makes it unique.

There’s no way to leave Morocco without some genuinely special souvenirs.

For more information on MOROCCO
For more DESTINATION & TOURISM NEWS
MORE BY CARSON POPLIN

Morocco To Close Schools Allegedly Linked To Turkish Preacher

Western Sahara Worldnews - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 13:49

Yahoo News
AFPJanuary 5, 2017

Morocco has ordered the closure of schools it says are linked to a US-based Islamic preacher that Turkey blames for a failed coup last year, the interior ministry said.

“Investigations on the establishments of the Mohamed Al-Fatih group, linked to Turkish national Fethullah Gulen, showed they use education to spread the group’s ideology and ideas contrary to the principles of the Moroccan educational and religious system,” a ministry statement said.

After a series of warnings from the education ministry, “it was decided all the group’s educational establishments would be closed within a delay of one month”, it said.

The statement did not say how many schools or pupils would be affected but said the government would strive to ensure the students continued their education in other schools.

Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999, has denied any involvement in the July 15 failed coup aimed at toppling Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The preacher heads the Hizmet group which includes schools, associations and companies.

Turkey, which calls it the Fethullah Terror Organisation (FETO), has embarked on a massive crackdown of the group.

Since the coup, Turkey has piled pressure on the United States to extradite Gulen, a one-time Erdogan ally.

In August, an official Turkish delegation visited Morocco to convince the authorities of the danger of Gulen’s group.

A school director from the Mohamed Al-Fatih group at the time rejected any link with Gulen for seven schools teaching 2,500 students including 2,470 Moroccans.

He said 90 percent of their teachers were also Moroccan nationals.

After Africa, Polisario Losing Ground in Latin America

Polisario-confidential - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 12:08
The Separatist Polisario front and its Algerian diplomatic relays are losing ground in South America, where pro-Polisario propaganda has long prevailed, says the Spanish e-journal Siglo XXI. With the exception of a few island countries in the subcontinent, Latin American heavyweights such as Brazil, Argentina and Chile “have never been fooled” by the Polisario over […]

Polisario Chief Transferred to Hospital in Spain

Sahara News - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 12:05
The Polisario leader, Brahim Ghali, who is reportedly critically ill, was flown to Spain and admitted to a specialized hospital in Madrid, according to corroborative sources. Ghali must undergo surgery for a cancerous tumor in the stomach, according to medical sources in Madrid. Before Brahim Ghali was flown to Spain, where he is summoned to […]

United Nations Peacekeepers Killed In Attack By Armed Group In Central African Republic

Western Sahara Worldnews - Wed, 01/04/2017 - 22:31

Express.co.uk

TWO United Nations (UN) peacekeepers have been killed and two others have been wounded in an attack by an unknown armed group.

The UN peacekeepers (not pictured) were killed by an unknown group in the Central African Republic.

The peacekeepers, from Morocco, were killed in the southeast of the Central African Republic (CAR), the UN mission said.

The group was escorting fuel trucks on Tuesday afternoon about 60 kilometres (37 miles) west of the town of Obo when they were attacked, before the assailants fled.

No claim can justify individuals directing their grievances against peacekeepers

Parfait Onanga-Anyanga

Head of the mission Parfait Onanga-Anyanga said in a statement: “No claim can justify individuals directing their grievances against peacekeepers whose presence on CAR soil is only aimed at helping the country emerge from the cycle of violence.”

Central African Republic descended into chaos in 2013 when mainly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power in the majority Christian nation, ousting then-President Francois Bozize and sparking a backlash from Christian militias.

The UN mission has 13,000 peacekeepers on the ground, but some civilians complain that it does not do enough to protect them against dozens of armed groups.

The UN last month said violence was spreading throughout the country

The UN has 13,000 peacekeepers on the ground in CAR.

Last month, UN sanctions monitors said that violence was spreading despite successful polls that elected a new government last February.

Human Rights Watch said a new armed group had killed at least 50 civilians in a growing campaign to control parts of the northwest.

Seeing Demand, Morocco Approves First Islamic Banks

Western Sahara Worldnews - Wed, 01/04/2017 - 10:04

US News & World Reports

Morocco has become the latest Muslim-majority country to authorize Islamic banks, amid growing market demand for Sharia-compliant banking.

RABAT, Morocco (AP) — Morocco has become the latest Muslim-majority country to authorize Islamic banks, amid growing market demand for Sharia-compliant banking.

The Moroccan central bank announced this week it has approved five such banks, fulfilling a long-standing promise of the Islamist party leading a coalition government since 2011.

Among them are leading national banks Attijariwafa, linked to the royal family, state-owned Banque Centrale Populaire and private BMCE Bank of Africa. All three hold increasing assets around French-speaking Africa. The others are CIH Bank and Credit Agricole du Maroc.

Four of the five will be partnerships between Moroccan banks and Islamic financial institutions in the Gulf, according to a statement from the central bank.

The approval of Islamic banks was long awaited by the market and the political scene.

Morocco had been reticent about Islamic finance, seeing it as politically sensitive, but now sees it as a growth prospect. The Islamist PJD party had made the opening of Islamic banks one of its campaign promises in 2011, when it won parliamentary elections.

The regulatory framework was updated in 2015 with a law authorizing independent Islamic institutions labeled “participative banks.” A board was created within Morocco’s Supreme Council of Islamic Scholars to rule on the conformity of financial products to Sharia, or Islamic law. Sharia forbids interest, which is key to most banks’ operations.

The central bank also allowed the subsidiaries of three leading French banks to sell Islamic products in Morocco: Societe Generale, BNP Paribas and Credit Agricole.

Original Jewish Names Restored To Marrakech Neighborhood At Request Of King

Western Sahara Worldnews - Tue, 01/03/2017 - 15:41

Al Bawaba
via SyndiGate.info

The historic Jewish quarter in Marrakech (Flickr)

A historically Jewish neighborhood of Marrakech will have its original names restored under the instructions of Moroccan King Mohammed VI.

The Interior Ministry announced that, following the King’s recent visit to what is currently known as the Essalam district, it will be rechristened as El Mellah, according to Maghreb Arabe Press.

The authentic names of the area’s streets and squares will also be returned.

According to the Ministry’s statement, the “royal instructions emanate from the concern of the Sovereign […] to safeguard the civilizational heritage of the Kingdom as well as the cultural heritage of all the components of Moroccan society.”

The royal intervention was made at the request of the president of the city’s Jewish community, which is thought to number no more than a few hundred.

“Mellah” means salt in both Arabic and Hebrew, and was used to refer to the Jewish neighborhoods kept separate from their Muslim neighbors by high surrounding walls.

While the majority of the district’s residents are now Muslim, the Huffington Post reported in its Arabic edition that the majority were pleased with the decision, which they said would reawaken the history of their quarter.

Abdel Aziz Saylan, the president of a local association, said that the move was “very, very important, because it will refocus concern on the neighborhood and its residents”. He also highlighted its potential advantages for drawing tourism.

Many have also responded positively on social media, with one user writing “Mashallah…formidable (terrific)…brilliant news!” and another commenting “Good for you, Morocco.”

This is not the first time the Moroccan Kinghas shown support for the country’s Jewish minority. In 2013, he funded the refurbishment of Slat Alfassiyine, a 17th century synagogue in Fez.

Judaism has a long history in Morocco, with Jews thought to have settled there as early as 70 CE. Many Spanish Jews fled their native land to Morocco during the Inquisition. Before the foundation of modern Israel, there were around 350,000 Moroccan Jews, however the country’s historic Jewish presence has hugely declined following years of emigration to Israel.

RA

Morocco Gives Nod For Five Islamic Banks

Western Sahara Worldnews - Tue, 01/03/2017 - 12:00

CPI FINANCIAL
by Isla MacFarlane

Islamic banking is set to take off in Morocco after five applications to open Islamic banks were approved, a further three banks gained permission to sell Islamic products and a central Shari’ah committee was announced.

Five Islamic banks are set to open in Morocco after Bank Al-Maghrib, the country’s Central Bank, approved five applications. A further three banks have been given permission to sell Islamic products.

A Shari’ah committee which will govern all Islamic finance activities will also be established, according to a statement from the Central Bank.

The five banks are: CIH Bank in partnership with Qatar International Islamic Bank; BMCE Bank of Africa jointly with the Saudi/Bahraini group Dalla Al Baraka; Banque Centrale Populaire with the Saudi group Guidance; and Crédit Agricole du Maroc in partnership with the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD).

Attijariwafa Bank is currently in talks about a future partnership. Banque Marocaine du Commerce et de l’Industrie, Crédit du Maroc and Société Générale have all been given the green light to sell Islamic products.

A Shari’ah committee will be established from the country’s Supreme Council of Ulema (religious scholars), which will have the sole authority to issue fatwas on the Shari’ah compliance of financial products.

“The launching of participative (Islamic) finance products in Morocco complements and expands the range of products offered by the domestic banking sector and opens it to new financing capacities,” a statement from the Central Bank said. “It will strengthen the attractiveness of Casablanca as a leading financial hub in Africa, in accordance with the will and guidance of His Majesty the King, may God assist Him.”

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