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Morocco News meets the World

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    New York, June 11, 2013 (MAP)

    Morocco’s delegate-minister of Moroccans living abroad, Abdellatif Maâzouz, held a meeting on Monday with New York county attorney (Manhattan), Cyrus Vance Jr.

    The meeting reviewed several issues related to the Moroccan judiciary system and various judiciary support programs for foreign communities living in New York as well as means to promote their integration in the American society.

    Maazouz, who also visited New York criminal court, is on a working visit to the USA that took him to Washington DC, Orlando, Los Angeles and Houston for meetings with Moroccan expats and US officials.

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    Spanish security forces broke up an Al-Qaeda linked network and arrested. phto by Pedro Armestre ( AFP)

    MADRID, June 21, 2013 (AFP)

    Spanish security forces on Friday broke up an Al-Qaeda-linked network in north Africa suspected of sending fighters to Syria, arresting eight people in early morning raids.

    Police launched operations against the ring in Ceuta, a Spanish territory in north Africa, the government said.

    "We have broken up a network responsible for sending combatants to Al-Qaeda linked terrorist groups operating in Syria," the Spanish Interior Ministry said in a statement.

    The network, operating in Ceuta and the neighbouring Moroccan town of Fnideq, sent dozens of Islamist militants -- some minors -- to Syria, the ministry said.

    "Some of them would have carried out suicide attacks while others would have been incorporated into training camps prior to carrying out armed action," the government said.

    "This network, based in Ceuta and Fnideq, carried out fundraising, indoctrination, and organising and financing travel, in contact with other terrorists and following the guidelines of the Al-Qaeda terrorist organisation."

    Security forces confirmed that several "jihadists" were waiting to travel from Spain to Syria, it said.

    Spain's police had investigated the network since 2009 and the military-linked Civil Guard since 2011 before they joined forces early this year.

    The eight suspects faced charges of belonging to a terrorist organisation, the government said.

    A National Court judge supervising the investigation had issued search warrants that were being executed on Friday, it said.

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    RABAT, June 21, 2013 (AFP)

    Human Rights Watch called on Moroccan judges to halt convictions based on confessions obtained through torture, saying in a report released on Friday that failure to probe such claims encouraged further abuses by police.

    "The country's judicial reform agenda needs to include stronger safeguards to ensure that courts discard as evidence any statement made to the police under torture or ill-treatment," the rights group said.

    The 100-page report examined five separate trials which took place between 2009 and 2013 and involved 77 people.

    It said that judges in Morocco had failed to investigate numerous claims by defendants that their confessions had been obtained through illegal means.

    It said that alleged confessions were often the main, if not the sole, basis for conviction.

    "This failure by the courts effectively encourages the police to use torture, ill-treatment and falsification to obtain statements," the New York- based watchdog said.

    In the face of the Arab Spring protests that swept North Africa in 2011, the kingdom adopted a new constitution that purported to strengthen the independence of the judiciary and defendants' rights.

    "But only when judges show the will, skill and courage to do so -- and to discard confessions that are suspect -- can we say that judicial reform is really under way," HRW's regional director Sarah Leah Whitson said.

    Justice ministry officials were not immediately available for comment.

    Last September, the UN special rapporteur on torture Juan Mendez, visiting Morocco at the invitation of the king, said torture or cruel and inhumane treatment of detainees was "very frequent."

    Mendez said a culture of human rights was emerging in Morocco, and praised authorities for some of the steps they had taken, notably the establishment of the National Council of Human Rights in 2010 and the new constitution.

    But he said the country was a long way from eliminating the practice of torture.

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    Foreign Minister Saad Dine El Otmani

    Rabat  - June 26, 2013 (MAP)
    Relations between Morocco and the United States are "on the path of progress" and are "positive", despite the slowness that marks them from time to time, Moroccan foreign minister Saad Dine El Otmani has said.

        "We need to build on the many positive points in relations with the United States in order to reduce the negative ones," said the minister, who addressed a seminar, Tuesday in Rabat, organised by "the Observatoire d’analyse des politiques" in collaboration with the" Center For Cross Cultural Learning".

        El Otmani recalled the free trade agreement (FTA) signed between Morocco and the USA and their bilateral strategic dialogue, noting that Morocco has benefited from FTAs with many countries, which has opened the way for large-scale foreign investments.

        These agreements have also enabled Morocco to upgrade some of its structures, integrate into the global economy and join the economically and politically open countries, he said.

        The minister stressed the important Moroccan presence in the United States, including the Moroccan community in this country, which is characterized by its integration in several U.S. institutions.

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    my morocco

    By Youssef Sourgo

    Morocco World News

    Casablanca, July 1, 2013

    Since 2011, the bulk of countries in the Middle East and North Africa have turned into touch-in-go areas. Although radiations of instability reached the kingdom at a certain point of time, Morocco managed to stay balanced on a thin rope. People from all corners of the world are now wondering whether Morocco is to be considered the safest country in North Africa and the Middle East so far. It was an exception to the upheaval, but could it be an exception to the plague of intolerance and anti-change?

    Today, pictures of the recently murdered 21-year old Andrew Pochter swept social networks. The handsome American young man was at the wrong place, at the wrong time. Killed amidst the escalating upheaval for freedom in Egypt, Andrew joins American ambassador Chris Stevens who handed over his soul in Libya, afar from his homeland, too.

    Both Stevens and Potcher coincidently had spent some time on Moroccan soil. The former taught English as a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco before quitting the kingdom to embark on other ventures back in the States, his homeland. The second studied Arabic in Al-Jadida, Morocco, before leaving Moroccan soil as well. Ultimately, both were murdered on the soil of countries neighboring Morocco, because of a lamentable lack of differentiation between “what happens” and “who is responsible.”

    While Morocco is emphatically a country like any other nation, with its deficiencies, domestic instabilities and occasional terrorism-related occurrences, the kingdom has developed an exceptional sense of diversity and multiculturalism. Moroccans seem to gradually visualize the red lines between the deplorable things happening in the world, the people behind them, and the people who, like any other ordinary folks, know nothing more than what we know. While a foreigner in Morocco used to be once associated with mainstream conspiracy theories, a foreigner today is perceived from a different, more human lens.

    Can we talk about a budding humanism in Morocco? While domestic injustices, corruption, abuse of authority and human rights, alongside other plagues in the kingdom, are crippling Morocco’s developmental aspirations, recurrent celebrations of tolerance and difference have kept the country’s sky blue and its seas silent. Americans, and any other foreigners now walking on the kingdom’s soil, are now seen as the “human other,” who is simultaneously different and similar to the “human us.”

    One year ago, one of my professors, a young and cheerful 24-year old Fulbright scholar to Morocco, took a popular bus on a rainy day after a rich and thought-provoking class with us.

    A sordid thief sneaked his serpentine hand in her handbag, got hold of her purse and headed to the exit door hastily to ask the bus driver to drop him at the closest bus stop. An alarming cry echoed from the other side of the bus sounding, “He’s a thief! He stole the foreign lady’s purse, I saw him! He’s a thief!” Seconds after this alarm blurted out from the 50-year old concerned woman, the thief was under innumerable hands and my professor’s purse was back where it belonged.

    While the real anecdote above might seem as superficial support to the argument I have been sustaining so far, it becomes a bit more revealing with the next couple of lines. I was robbed of my phone(s) and wallet(s) quite a considerable number of times, but I never heard that alarming voice blurting out of a concerned voice on the other side of the bus. The passengers always enjoyed the show and remained silent. Some of them spoke, but only when the snaky hands were out of sight. I barely get discounts on something I buy, too. When it is a foreign friend by my side, a shiny smile draws on the shopkeeper’s mouth, and a discount seems more of a favor than an option—plus a cup of tea and some cakes.

    What does this anecdotal rumbling say about Moroccans? Well, we’re generous, certainly, but people are much more sincere when it is someone who knows little or nothing about our culture. I have seen a plethora of poor families hosting foreigners for the sake of “Ajar” (a blessing from God for a good deed). They ask for nothing in return, and cry like babies when foreigners depart, after only one night of fragmented chatting with someone they barely understood. What does all of this tell about Moroccans?  What does it tell about Morocco?

    Is it the safest country in the world? Axiomatically not! Yet, it’s a safer country today, or at this very instant these lines are being typed. Despite the dreadfulness of some of its dark streets, and despite the inhuman claws of some of its citizens, the country’s hands, as a whole, have always taken care of its guests from other segments of the world. Many foreigners admittedly handed over their souls on our soil, too. Yet, their souls remain eternally enshrined in our memories just like those of our own blood, and their deaths remain scars on our faces, a guilt we carry as we age with the passing of time, reminding us of how irrational we sometimes tend to be.

    This is by no means a condemnation of other nations, nor is it an attempt to raise our flag higher than our sister nations while they’re enduring pain for freedom. It is rather a mere attempt to sort Morocco out of the list of lands occasionally described unworthy of mention, a land where humans are nothing less than a worn out shoe. Morocco is grateful, generous, tolerant, cheerful, and, though perhaps not the safest, is still a land that stretches its hands cheerfully to anyone belonging to our human race.

    The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy

    © Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed

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    King Juan Carlos

    Rabat, July 01,  2013 (MAP)

    King Juan Carlos of Spain will pay this July 15-17 an official visit to Morocco, a statement of the Royal household, protocol and chancellery announced.

    “On this occasion, His Majesty the King, may God assist him will hold official talks with His illusrious host and host, in the royal Palace in Rabat, an official iftar (fast-breaking meal) in honor of the Spanish Sovereign and the delegation accompanying him”, the statement added.

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    The Ukrainian club Dynamo Kiev signed Morocco midfielder Younes Belhanda from French side Montpellier for an undisclosed fee. ( AFP)


    July 01, 2013

    Dynamo Kiev signed Morocco midfielder Younes Belhanda from French side Montpellier for an undisclosed fee on Sunday, the Ukrainian club said.

    “Welcome to Kiev, Younes,” Dynamo wrote in French on their website ( to greet the player who was presented during a pre-season match against Russian side Zenit St Petersburg along with other new signings Jeremain Lens and Dieumerci Mbokani.

    The 23-year-old played a key role when Montpellier clinched their first French league title in 2012, scoring 12 goals and setting up four others in 28 matches. He was named Ligue 1 best young player at the end of that season. Belhanda, who has 21 Morocco caps and can play in all midfield positions, has played 127 league games and found the net 26 times in four seasons with Montpellier.

    source: Al Arabiya

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    Moroccan Press criticize US move regarding the Sahara

    Rabat -  July 8, 2013 (MAP)

    Here follow the highlights of Moroccan editorials published this Monday July 8, 2013.

     Rissalat Al Oumma considers that latest events in the world exact that Moroccan officials to be up to the citizens’ aspirations and be able to confront regional and international changes.

     There is no room for overbidding at the expense of the citizens’ aspirations and interests. No room for the government to plot to prevent the opposition from doing its law-making job and no room for ignoring the economic, social and political situation, the editorialist writes, commenting that effects of the government’s policy will impact heavily the government’s action, the majority-opposition relations and the government’s relations with economic and social operators as well as with international human rights and finance institutions.

     For Bayane Al Yaoum, the month of Ramadan will be marked by effects of the political tension and by the trading of hostile remarks between the majority and the opposition, in addition to events unfolding in the Arab world, mainly in Syria and Egypt.

     But, the editorialist goes, Moroccans wish that their politicians will overcome their divergences and place the country’s interests and addressing social, economic and political reforms above any other consideration, stressing that the situation of several medium-income and poor families is too serious to stand any speculation of intermediaries and merchants during the month of Ramadan, or any food price hikes.

     Moroccan aspire that the holy month of Ramadan will be an opportunity for officials to announce major initiatives and programs that will restore their confidence in the future and carry out the promised reforms in employment, housing, health and education.

     On a more ubpeat tone, Aujourd’hui le Maroc welcomes IBM’s decision to open in Morocco of one of its largest research centers, explaining that Morocco has, over the last years, built a strong reputation as host for high-level investments.

    The editorialist stressed that in addition to advantages and incitements, investors are attracted to the Moroccan business climate, including in its political dimension. “For how low will this credibility last?”, the editorialist wonders.

     L’Economiste which run an editorial titled "Egyptian lessons" says that "the 2nd Egyptian revolution" is filled with lessons for Arab countries, including Morocco.

      "Lessons for Moroco are numerous and important, starting with the PJD” (head of government’s party) that is often likened to the Egyptian Muslim brotherhood, the editorialist argues, noting that while the majority is responsible for defining the frame of general interest, it should, nonetheless take into account the plurality of society without excluding anyone.

     Voting and obtaining numeric majorities are very important but not enough to succeed in the practice of power, the editorialist concludes.

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    Moroccan Press criticize US move regarding the Sahara

    Rabat - July 9, 2013

    The action of Benkirane-led government and the government’s Ikram program for gender parity are making up the highlights of Moroccan editorials published this Tuesday July 09, 2013. Al Ahdath Al Maghribia which describes as "nil" reforms conducted by the government during one year and a half of its mandate, stresses that the executive branch has been unable to start the major reforms to which Moroccans are aspiring and its actions have been limited to an ideological vision. The government has failed to write the regulating laws provided for by the constitution, to fight against corruption and has not succeeded in managing the complex economic sector, regrets the editorialist. The editorialist calls the head of government, who enjoys the legitimacy of polls, to be more swift and bold and refrain from using this legitimacy for purely-political end, insisting that success is intrinsically linked to the government’s achievements, rather than to obstacles hampering obstacles his actions. It’s high time the head of government, Abdelilah Benkirane, showed his competence in leading a government team whose mission is to conduct the reforms he promised when he took office, the editorial concludes. On another topic, L’Economiste says Minister of Solidarity, Women, Family and Social Development, Bassima El Hakkaoui should show great convincing talents to lift suspicions over the new gender equality program that she announced, noting that this program is already tainted by the government’s typical contradictions : making commitments and avoiding to honour them. The editorialist says a more ambitious program was expected from a government often accused to make prevail religious considerations and to bet on conservative segments of the Moroccan society.

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    Morocco’s permanent representative at UN office in Geneva, Omar Hilale

    Geneva - July 11, 2013 (MAP)

    Morocco has called on Wednesday in Geneva for increased mobilization to intensify inter-African trade through the Aid for Trade initiative meant to increase developing countries’ participation in value chains. Amounts allocated to the initiative since it was launched have decreased in 2011 to stand at 39 billion USD compared to 45.2 billions in 2010, said Morocco’s delegate to the UN offices in Geneva, Omar Hilale, who took the floor in his capacity as African group coordinator during the 4th world trade organization meeting reviewing aid for trade. The African continent received 12.3 billion dollars in commitment in 2011 against 13.7 billions in 2010, said the Moroccan diplomat who also expressed the African group attachment to the promotion of all sub-regional and regional chains in order to guarantee quality participation in global chains of value of developing countries, particularly African ones Hilale went on that the WTO upcoming conference, slated for next December in Bali will be an opportunity for member-countries to reiterate the need for additional, effective and lasting resources for the Aid for Trade initiative.

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    Moroccan Press criticize US move regarding the Sahara

    Rabat - July 11, 2013 (MAP)

    Implications of the resignation of Istiqlal party’s ministers from the PJD-led government is the major highlight of Moroccan editorialist published this Thursday July 11, 2013. In an editorial titled “back to square one”, Aujourd'hui le Maroc explains that according to the constitution, the PJD will have to choose between holding early elections, or finding one or several allies to replace the Istiqlal party in the coalition. While praising the calm and the total respect of institutions and texts in which these events are unfolding, the editorialist notes Morocco cannot afford to waste one or two month, given the economic context. For Bayane Al Yaoum , the lesson to learn from the Istiqlal party’s decision to withdraw from the government is the Monarchy’s non interference in a conflict between two political parties, which is a message not only to the Istiqlal party leader, but to the entire political class. This message confirms that time and crisis-management means have changed and that politicians should henceforth get used to practice their political job without expecting any interference. The editorial concludes that it is in the interest of the country that the Istiqlal party, which is a national party with a long history of militancy and a major influence on the political scene, remains strong and active among the other patriotic and democratic political forces. Akhbar Al Yaoum Al Maghribia, wonders whether the Istiqlal party’s pullout is a natural measure entailed by divergences on public policies or whether it was prompted by political considerations and attempts by other parties to destabilize the government, noting that the big problem is the Moroccan political elite’s inability to adapt to polling results and to a new constitution that is relatively advanced compared to the culture and mindset of political actors. The editorialist recalls that Chabat, after becoming mayor of Fes, leader of the UGTM trade union and secretary general of the Istiqlal party, has become increasingly ambitious. For the editorialist of Annahar Al Maghribia, the government has failed after it had made great promises that it could not honor and included Islamic leaders on, the basis of their loyalty instead of competences. The government’s failure also lies in the monopoly exercised by Benkirane over decision-making as well as his hegemonic and authoritarian attitude. Benkirane also failed because he was the only head of government who dared to increase energy prices, and conduct budget cuts, pending the reforms of the subsidy fund which could affect the country’s stability, the editorialist writes.

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    Highlights of Moroccan editorials, July 15, 2013

    Rabat, July 15, 2014 (MAP)

    The expected visit of King Juan Carlos of Spain to Morocco (July 15-17) and the political situation entailed by the Istiqlal party’s ministers withdrawal from the government are the two highlights of Moroccan editorials this July 15, 2013). For L'Economiste, the Spanish king’s travel to Morocco will be an opportunity to re-test the Morocco-Spain engine, underlining that enterprises are two solid actors of economic diplomacy on which the two countries rely. Conceding that there are divergences between Morocco and Spain, particularly over the Sahara issue, illegal migration and some Moroccan exports quotas, the editorialist notes that the two countries have always succeeded in overcoming their disputes. On its part, Annahar Al-Maghribia recalls that relations between Rabat and Madrid are strategic and rely on shared interests, noting these vital ties require mutual support, common defense and permanent coordination. The editorialist also points out that Morocco-Spain ties are stable and have always remained far from electoral considerations, political changes and diplomatic incidents, stressing that the Spanish monarch visit, which has a highly symbolic value, will be devoted to developing a work plan of bilateral ties, encompassing the signing of long-term agreements meant to boost trade and cultural exchanges and diplomatic and political cooperation. The editorialist of Bayane Al-Yaoum argues that the visit will be an opportunity for the two countries to hold a “frank” dialogue and reinforce partnership at the service of development, stability, peace and progress of the two neighbor countries and of the Mediterranean region. For the editorialist, the shared history and common cultural and linguistic legacy are assets to develop dialog and cooperation.Regarding the political situation entailed by the Istiqlal party ministers’ pullout of the government Aujourd'hui le Maroc notes that the option of early elections to get out of the deadlock will be the worst solution and a very costly one, not for political parties, but for the country and for economy. The editorialist argues that early elections might not change anything, recalling that in 2011, Moroccans voted for parties hoping that they will carry out major reforms, create jobs, improve living conditions and promote investments. For the editorialist of Akhbar Al Yaoum Al Maghribia, the head of government, Abdelilah Benkirane still has a chance to resume negotiations for a new contract with parties willing to enter the new coalition.For the paper, Benkirane has turned the page of Chabat (leader of the Istiqlal party) and has opened the page of Mezouar (leader of the RNI opposition party), hoping to form a coherent majority that will be able to carry out the longed for reforms. The editorialist stresses the need for a new contract with the majority parties over a government project and the need to propose appropriate solutions for major issues, mainly those of reforming the subsidy fund and local elections organization. The editorialist of L’Opinion castigates the PJD, saying it is has not changed the political discourse that led to the government crisis, despite the “tremor” caused by the Istiqlal party’s decision to withdraw from the government. The PJD leaders continue to take credit for the achievements of others, the editorialist says arguing that this practice is the result of the lack of any actions by the PJD which rushed to increase fuel prices and is still planning to reform the subsidy fund which the editorialist calls “the worst” decision.

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    UN Security Council adopts Morocco-Sponsored presidential declaration on Sahel

    New York, July 17, 2013 (MAP)

    The UN Security Council adopted on Tuesday a new presidential declaration, sponsored by Morocco, on the Sahel region.

    In the statement, read out by during a formal meeting by Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo of the United States, which holds the 15-member body's presidency for the month, the council stresses the "role played by Morocco and other Maghreb countries in the success" of the UN integrated strategy for the Sahel.

    This declaration, that follows suit to another Moroccan initiative taken during Morocco’s presidency of the Council in December 2012, renews its call "for increased cooperation between countries in the Sahel, West Africa and the Maghreb to combat the growing threat posed by terrorist groups, transnational crime and drug trafficking throughout the Sahel region" and develop "inclusive and effective strategies" to combat these threats in "a comprehensive and integrated manner."

    Expressing concern over the alarming situation in the Sahel, where terrorist organizations, including Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa, the UN Council reiterated its "strong condemnation" of recent terrorist attacks perpetrated in the region and welcomed the deployment of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), following the transfer of authority from the African-led International Support Mission in Mali to MINUSMA on 1 July.

    Council members also welcomed the proposal put forward by the Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the Sahel, Romano Prodi, to partner with relevant international and regional financial institutions to promote innovative approaches for the region and requested the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA) to establish an effective and detailed coordination mechanism to prioritize activities and to ensure coordinated implementation by the UN system of the UN Strategy.

    Inclusive economic and social development is necessary, along with stronger States institutions to ensure long-term security, development and stability in the Sahel, the statement said, underscoring the importance of a comprehensive and coordinated approach encompassing governance, security, humanitarian, human rights and development aspects to address the root causes of challenges to peace and security, and welcomed the development of the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel, which focuses on addressing extremism, poverty and drought in the region.

    It also welcomed the UN Secretary General plans to hold a high-level meeting on the Sahel on the sidelines of the General Assembly and to visit the region, together with the World Bank President, next fall.

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    New airports project envisaged in Morocco: Minister

    Rabat, July 17, 2013 (MAP)

    A new airports project, part of the 2035 air transport strategy is being envisaged, said Minister of Equipment and Transport, Aziz Rebbah

    The minister who was answering a question at the House of Representatives on "the state of national airports," said his department also focuses on the development of two studies on domestic and external demand for air transport.

    Mr. Rebbah recalled the program of the National Office of Airports (ONDA) which aims to increase airports hosting capacity and ensuresafety and quality, referring to a number of ongoing projects at the airports of Casablanca, Marrakech, Fez, Nador, Beni Mellal,Errachidia, and Zagoura.

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    By Larbi Arbaoui

    Morocco World News

    Tinjedad, August 7, 2013

    At the end of Ramadan, Muslims must pay Zakat al Fitr, purifying charity that every Muslim has to pay as Islamic legislation enforce it.

    “Take, [O, Muhammad], from their wealth a charity by which you purify them and cause them increase, and invoke [ Allah 's blessings] upon them.” God confirms in His holy book, Surat At-Tawbah, 109

    This act of great solidarity is not an optional charity but a divine duty that is obligatory for every Muslim, old and young, female and male.

    Ibn 'Umar said that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) made Zakat al-Fitr compulsory on Muslim slave, free, male, female, old and young among the Muslims as follows: a measurement of barley or date “Saa” (approximately 2,035 kilograms), and ordered to give it before people go out to the morning prayer of Eid Al Fitr. Narrated by Al-Bukhari 1503.

    The aim from this Zakat is to help the most deprived stop panhandling during the days of celebration.

    In Morocco, according to the National council of Religious Affairs, the cash value of Zakat Alfitr is arranged between 5 to 6 dirhams in the rural areas and between 10 to 16 dirhams in cities.

    The value of Zakat Al Fitr is a matter of disagreement between Foukahas (Muslim scholars). Some Ulema prohibits Zakat cash, while others allow it.

    The imam Abu Hanifa and his companions, as well as the fifth rightly guided caliph Omar Ibn Abdul Aziz authorized to give of zakat al-Fitr in cash.

    The Supreme Scientific Council of Morocco has previously issued a fatwa on Zakaat al-Fitr, stating that it is permissible to pay Zakaat al-Fitr in cash.

    Traditionally, the father or those in charge of the family are required to pay the Zakat for all family members, including those who are old if they have no income.

    © Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed

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    bank al maghreb

    By Loubna Flah

    Morocco World News

    Casablanca, August 20, 2013

    Morocco’s central bank, Bank Al Maghrib injected MAD 75 billion in the period from the August, 8th and August, 13th according to the Moroccan daily Al Massae.

    Bank Al Maghrib had already injected an advance estimated to MAD 55 billion during seven days at an interest estimated to 3% whereas the remaining MAD 14 billion were injected later and MAD 6 billion were injected through a loan operation Guaranteed for three months.

    The interest rate which remained stable last week has reached 3% while the volume of exchange is estimated at MAD 1, 6 billion.

    Bank Al Maghrib had already offered during the offers session MAD 48 billion with 3% interest rate while the initial amount requested was estimated to MAD 57, 45 billion.

    Bank Al Maghrib revealed also that the treasury allotted MAD 3, 7 billion for the initial amount requested estimated at MAD 9, 4 billion during the auction organized on August, 13.

    Regarding the stock market performance, the MASI index decreased by 0, 1% while the volume of transactions reached MAD 50, 8 billion instead of MAD 123 billion reached last week.

    The MASI index (Moroccan All Shares Index) comprising all listed shares, allows to follow up all listed values and to have a long-term visibility on market transactions.

    It is noteworthy that the Moroccan banking sector has been wrestling with liquidity shortage since the beginning of the year. Morocco’s central bank, Bank Al Maghrib had intervened repeatedly to ease the liquidity strain by injecting money to the financial market.

    The liquidity crisis was engendered by a massive withdrawal of assets in response to the government intention to levy taxes directly and without a prior notice from taxpayers’ bank accounts.

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    princess Mary of denmark

    Taroudant- MWN

    Denmark's Princess Mary is visiting Morocco on a three day trip.

    Officially Crowned Princess of Denmark, the 42-year-old princess paid a special visit Wednesday to a women's center in Rabat, the kingdom’s capital.

    On Tuesday she visited the Témara first instance court, particularly the special unit in charge of women victims of conjugal violence.

    princess-maryPhotos posted on showed young Moroccan girls and women crowded round the elegant Princess as she arrived at the Democratic League for Morocco Women's Rights known as (Ligue Démocratique pour les Droits des Femmes) LDDF Women’s Centre in the capital Rabat.

    The LDDF center aims to support women who are struggling to overcome personal problems, often victims of violence or in difficult situations, and provides them with legal advice to help them make informed decisions.

    The princess visited Tuesday the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, a historical building located at the Yacoub al-Mansour esplanade in Rabat where the late king Mohammed V and his son Hassan II are buried.

    Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark, Countess of Monpezat, is the wife of Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark, and the heir apparent to the throne of Denmark.

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    Morocco's African immigrants

    RABAT- "Is it a crime now, being an immigrant?" asks Eric Williams, a Cameroonian living in Rabat, where the murder of a Senegalese man has stoked fears among Morocco's sub-Saharan community.

    On August 12, Ismaila Faye, 31, was stabbed to death near the capital's central bus station during an argument with a Moroccan over seating, according to the preliminary investigation.

    Local media highlighted the racist nature of the attack, sparking concernsof a rise in hostile behaviour towards black Africans, many of whom pass through Morocco illegally in their quest to reach Europe and a new life.

    A week after the murder, hundreds of mostly Senegalese immigrants gathered outside the morgue in Rabat to pay homage to the victim and protest against racism.

    Moroccans have also been active on social media to denounce violence against the African community.

    Just a stone's throw from Spain, Morocco has increasingly become a permanent home for sub-Saharans seeking a better life in Europe but unable to get there, with local NGOs putting the estimated number of them at more than 20,000. But their coexistence with Moroccans is often fraught with difficulty.

    Earlier in the summer, notices appeared in Casablanca, Morocco's largest city, baldly stating that sub-Saharan immigrants were barred from renting certain properties.

    "Our situation is really bad. Nearly 15 immigrants were attacked in just one week," says Williams, who heads an anti-racism group in Morocco.

    "There needs to be a racist murder for people to take our problems seriously," he adds.

    Williams says some Moroccans are fundamentally opposed to their presence, which they see as a threat to their jobs, in a city where unemployed youths stage regular street protests demanding work.

    In Morocco's main cities, sub-Saharan women are often to be found begging at the side of the road, while young men try to peddle their wares, selling anything from cheap watches to polished wood carvings.

    "I don't understand why some Moroccans treat Africans in a contemptuous way. Coming here I thought I would be in a neighbourly country, a brother country," Williams says.

    Anna Bayns, a Senegalese student at Rabat University, agrees that violence against the sub-Saharan community is on the rise, even if there are no official statistics to prove it.

    "We are often referred to as 'negroes'," she said.

      'Like slaves' In the poor neighbourhood of Takadoum, six immigrants, most of them from Cameroon, share a small room which gets stiflingly hot during the summer, and together they struggle to make ends meet in a sometimes hostile environment.

    "We are treated like slaves," says one.

    In the informal sector, workers get paid a pittance, less than five euros ($6.60) a day, he says, and finding accommodation is difficult.

    Without a rental contract, the migrants are dependent on the goodwill of their often unscrupulous landlords.

    "For this room, which is normally rented for 500 dirhams (47 euros), we pay 1,500 dirhams!" says another resident.

    Several months ago, Medical aid group Doctors Without Borders raised the alarm over increased violence by the authorities against illegal migrants, and announced that it was closing its projects in Morocco in protest.

    Contacted by AFP, the head of migration and border control at the interior ministry, Khalid Zerouali, insists that authorities' main objective is to "protect citizens", adding that their "(border) security strategy is directed against criminal networks" and no one else.

    "Our African brothers are welcome, but within the law."

    The European Union, with whom Rabat enjoys "advanced status" relations and which is the favoured destination of most African migrants in Morocco, is following the situation closely.

    "We are obviously concerned about the reports that we have concerning the poor treatment of illegal migrants, mostly of sub-Saharan origin," Rupert Joy, the EU ambassador to Morocco, told AFP.

    "In my opinion the worst mistake one could make would be to pretend that the problem doesn't exist and that it isn't serious," he said.

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    Morocco and Spain

    MADRID - Spanish police on Monday arrested the suspected leader of a cell linked to Al-Qaeda that sent militants to Syria to carry out suicide bombings, the government said. Police seized Yassin Ahmed Laarbi in the Spanish territory of Ceuta, which borders Morocco, on terrorism charges, the interior ministry said in a statement. Laarbi, a Spanish national also knownas Pistu, is accused of leading a group that sent about 50 jihadists to Syria, some of whom carried out suicide attacks. "He is suspected of having been the top leader of an active network that recruited and radicalised mujahedeen and martyrs and sent them to terrorist groups in Syria," the statement said. Police had detained eight other members of the cell in Ceuta in June but had not got hold of Laarbi, who was not at home when officers came for him during those raids. The network, operating in Ceuta and the neighbouring Moroccan town of Fnideq, was suspected of sending dozens of Islamist militants, including minors, to join "Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist groups operating in Syria", the ministry said at the time. It said that some of those sent by the group carried out suicide attacks. Laarbi himself "was a candidate to join terrorist groups in Syria", Monday's statement added. European Union governments have expressed alarm at what they say are hundreds of young Europeans believed to be fighting alongside rebels in Syria. Police also this month arrested a "suspected jihadist terrorist" wanted by Morocco in Spain's other north African enclave, Melilla.

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    illegal immigration

    MADRID - One migrant died and a dozen more were missing after their boat capsized during the latest desperate seaborne attempt by hundreds in several vessels to reach Spain, officials said Monday.

    The man was found dead clinging to a flimsy vessel adrift at sea off the Spanish-governed enclave of Ceuta, bordering Morocco, a Spanish government spokesman in Ceuta said.

    Lifeguards picked up 157 others from various vessels in the Mediterranean strait between Morocco and Spain, and police arrested a further 19 people who landed on the Canary Islands in the Atlantic, officials said.

    Helicopters and rescue boats were patrolling off Ceuta after one boat carrying dozens of migrants capsized.

    Some 30 people from that boat were rescued while about a dozen others were missing, the Spanish official in Ceuta said. It was not clear whether the dead man was linked to that group.

    Scores of others were found in other makeshift vessels elsewhere in the Mediterranean strait separating mainland Spain from Morocco, including off the coasts of Granada province and Almeria, areas popular with holidaymakers.

    Those rescued were all "apparently in a good state of health", a coast guard spokeswoman said.

    To the west in the Atlantic archipelago of the Canaries, police detained 19 migrants, including six teenagers and a girl of 11, who had landed on the island of La Graciosa.

    They "displayed symptoms of exhaustion", a police spokesman said, adding that the force was continuing to search for other migrants in the area.

    Thousands of undocumented migrants from Africa try to cross the 15-kilometre (nine-mile) strait from Morocco into Spain on makeshift boats and inflatable dinghies each year.

    The Spanish government has warned that fighting in the Sahel region of northern Africa has increased the flow of migrants.

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