All the dumb things

A cautionary tale in development

Berber women. Sidi Harazem, Morocco

Posted by razzbuffnik on May 7, 2007

A lot of people in the west think that the women of Islam are being forced to cover themselves from head to foot for religious reasons. Actually the stereotypical burkha that is shown so often in the western media as a sign of Islamic oppression of women is not so much a religious requirement but rather a cultural one. Moslem friends have told me that the Koran asks women to dress and behave in a modest way and that doesn’t necessarily mean wearing a burkha.

berbers.jpg

The Berbers make up about 30% of the Moroccan population and are the remnants of various European migrations and invasions of North Africa and their culture isn’t as heavily influenced by Arab culture as some of the more fundamentalist cultures elsewhere.

In my experience the Berbers seemed to be a little more open and friendly. The Moroccans know that many Europeans see the Berbers as “Europeans” and many a “guide” that I’ve met has tried to pass themselves off as Berbers, thinking that westerners would be more likely to trust a Berber.

This photo was taken in 1982 on Kodachrome 64, at Sidi Harazem, near Fez.

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3 Responses to “Berber women. Sidi Harazem, Morocco”

  1. vellakkuttai said

    I love Moraccan music and the same time I enjoyed reading Death in the afternoon long back. Your quoting’Moslem friends have told me that the Koran asks women to dress and behave in a modest way and that doesn’t necessarily mean wearing a burkha.’Indeed the burkha was thrown out in many Muslim countries. Your blog postings made me recall the time of my reading the book ‘DITA’

  2. razzbuffnik said

    I’ll posting a few more things about Moslems. I think they as a group have been getting a raw deal in the western media and I think that the time has come for some of us to try and shift that bias.

  3. due to the diversity in Moroccan population you can never know the percentage of Arab or Berber population.

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