Zaouiat Ahansal, Morocco

Morocco is a tapestry of diverse landscapes, languages and people. The thread that unites the sundry fabrics together is the role that Islam plays in familial, social, and political life. From the mosques and call to prayer to greetings and customs, Islam connects Moroccans and underpins the society in fascinating ways. Beneath this harmonious quilt, there are several different groups of people in Morocco to be aware of, though the distinctions have become less pronounced with increased urban migration and mixing of heritages. The Amizigh, or the indigenous populations living mainly in the mountains, countryside and desert, speak Berber languages which were recently recognised as one of the two official languages of the country (each with its own regional dialect).

The other official language is Standard Arabic, though most Moroccans speak darija, a dialect. Arabic of course, is the language of the Arabs, an identity usually qualified by three factors: the ability to speak Arabic, residency in the Middle East, and support of Arabs in their success and failure as a collective people. Most Moroccans are multi-lingual, speaking darija as well as French. Morocco is a constitutional monarchy, one of the three kingdoms still remaining in Africa, the first country in the world to recognise the independence of the US, and is currently ruled by King Mohammed VI.

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