Essaouira: Idyll of Jewish-Muslim Coexistence
The city of Essaouira "sets an example" in terms of tolerance and Jewish-Muslim coexistence, wrote British weekly "The Economist".
This city, Morocco's "little idyll of Jewish-Muslim coexistence", sets an example for other Middle-Eastern countries in terms of tolerance and understanding, the weekly wrote.
The Economist recalled that Essaouira stages, each autumn, a festival of Andalusian music, "bringing hundreds of Jews and Muslims together for a weekend of concerts and dialogue".
This event dubbed "Atlantic Andalusia Festival" attracts people from around the world to celebrate this cultural melting pot.
“Essaouira is what the Middle East once was and might yet be again,” said HM the King's advisor André Azoulay, quoted by the British paper that gave a historical overview of the Jewish presence in Morocco.
"When Jews were expelled from Spain and Portugal in the 15th century, many fled to Morocco", and even if only around 2,500 Jews currently remain in Morocco, it is "still more than anywhere else in the Arab world", the weekly noted.
The Economist recalled that Morocco restored 110 synagogues such as Slat Lkahal, which was opened in Essaouira during the last festival of Andalusian music. The weekly also mentioned the setting up of a centre for Judeo-Islamic studies to open in the old kasbah later this year, acknowledging that "no Arab country has gone to the lengths of Morocco to revive its Jewish heritage".
The Kingdom boasts the Arab world’s only Jewish museum in Casablanca, concluded the British magazine.