Muslim-Jewish Relations in Morocco





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Uploaded on Apr 26, 2011


This documentary covers the topic of Muslim-Jewish Relations in Morocco: from an American's perspective. Basically, I interview an American researcher who holds a Master's degree in Religion and is currently living in Morocco. The questions revolve around how Americans perceive the Jewish version of Morocco and whether they are aware of it at all. Then I discuss his experiences here in Morocco as he visited the Jewish sites in Fes including synagogues and the cemetery. The documentary attempts to target, mainly, a Western audience which might be ignorant about the strong presence of Jews in Morocco and how they lived in harmony with their Muslim neighbors throughout history. As a student of documentary film making I use some techniques that help to relay the message that I am trying to convey including: footages, music, editing and graphics. The documentary is about 3 minutes long.


"I was very surprised when I began corresponding with a Moroccan Muslim to hear him speak so fondly of Jews and to hear him speak with regrets of the Jews having left Morocco. First of all because I was ignorant of the very large population of Jews which were in Morocco; and secondly, because I was ignorant of there being any fond feelings between Muslims and Jews.

This fellow with whom I corresponded seemed to be very remorseful that the Jews had gone away and hopeful that they might return. This to me was quite surprising because in America, generally, I believe, the perspective is that there is strife between Muslims and Jews. Since, of course, I have come to Morocco I have learnt a great deal more about Moroccan Judaism, I visited synagogues, I visited the Jewish cemetery in Fez with the graves of several Grand Rabbis which shows, to me, that Judaism was very strong and important in Morocco for a time. I knew none of this before. I am sure most Americans don't know about it.

Upon entering the Jewish cemetery, I was mistaken for an Israeli and greeted in Hebrew by a Muslim which I find very interesting. At home in America we generally do not expect Muslims and Jews to be on good terms. I was given a tour of Ben Danan synagogue by a Muslim, which also surprised me. One would not expect, at least I would not expect, a Muslim to be interested in preserving Jewish heritage in an Islamic country. We went to a synagogue to observe evening prayer, as one walks to the synagogue past Muslim shops, one can hear Jewish men greeting their Muslim friends as they pass.

This is all very delightfully surprising for me who was ignorant about such cordial relations between Muslims and Jews in Morocco."

Jess L. Norton:
A researcher who obtained a Master's degree in Religion
A professor of English in Morocco
A published author

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