Thursday, September 19, 2019

Fez Focus on Food

For the past 2 months, more than 25 experts have visited Fez and its region, to better understand the sustainability issues in terms of agriculture and food, as well as the existing solutions to be encouraged.

The organisers have produced a 30-min movie illustrating their findings. The movie will be screened on the 21st of September at 4pm at the Médina Social Club.

Some of the experts met will be there to exchange and debate after the movie. It will be shown several times between 4 and 7pm.  Everyone is welcome.

Further info:


Tuesday, September 17, 2019

New Yoga Classes in the Fez Medina

Yoga teacher Edna Vidal Ros 

Great news for local and visiting yoga enthusiasts - daily classes are now available in the Fez Medina from Monday to Saturday at 8 am  

Held at the boutique hotel Palais Amani, near the tanneries, the classes last for an hour and a quarter, and there is the possibility to stay for a 'de-tox' breakfast afterwards.

The teacher is Edna Vidal Ros, 27, who trained in yoga in Barcelona and India. "I was a ballet dancer from the sweet age of three, to the challenging age of 18," she says. "I had to give up due to an injury and, after years of searching for a new thing to fill the gap, I found yoga."

Edna took degrees in Event Management and International Finance, before switching to yoga. "I take the hatha/vinyasa approach, as I love adapting every practice to the people who are joining me that day. After all, our bodies are never the same and neither are our moods", she says. "I have worked with people of all ages, from relentless children to the dedicated elderly and absolutely adore the intimate, pure connections established with every soul that steps on a mat."

Edna invites you to join her at a class at Palais Amani.

Open Day on 23rd September at 8am:

Free introductory Amani Shala Yoga class on the rooftop, followed by a free detox breakfast afterwards in the gardens. Bookings essential:

Essential Info: 

  • The regular drop in rate is 250 dh per class. (Add 150 dh for detox breakfast).
  • Locals rates and a September Special - any local can sign up at 150 dh per class. If they join a class during September, they can bring a friend for free. 
  • Loyalty cards will soon be available online - 5 lessons for 1,000 dh, and 10 lessons for 1,500 dh. 
  • Private classes available for 1 - 2 people at 500 dh per person  or for 3 - 4 people at 300 dh. (Add 150 dh per person for a detox breakfast.) 
  • Yoga sessions on Mt Zalagh can be arranged on request. Contact Palais Amani for details. 
Further info and bookings: Palais Amani is at 12 Derb El Miter, Oued Zhoune, Blida, Fes Medina. or + 212 53 56 33 209. 


Monday, September 16, 2019

Free Lecture in Fez - Zora O'Neill

Lecture by Zora O'Neill, Author of "All Strangers Are Kin" Thursday, Sept. 19 at 5:30 PM in Room 30 at the ALC

Zora O'Neill will speak about her experiences traveling and studying Arabic in Egypt, the UAE, Lebanon and Morocco, and talk more generally on the benefits of learning new languages, whether to fluency or just a few words.

Ms. O'Neill is an American travel writer based in New York City. She is the author of the award-winning travel memoir "All Strangers Are Kin: Adventures in Arabic and the Arab World," and has written dozens of guidebooks, as well as articles for The New York Times, Travel & Leisure and other major publications.


Morocco's Boarding Cards to be Scrapped

Good news for people coming in and out of Morocco. As of today (Monday, September 16, 2019), the boarding cards that travellers manually completed at departure and on arrival in Morocco will be dropped. The use of this document will be abandoned confirms a source at the General Directorate of National Security (DGSN)

The abandonment of this document aims to streamline the traffic at various transit points (ports and airports), and improve performance and the service.

The use of new technology will speed up the travel procedures at border control counters at Moroccan airports and ports, in addition to the border posts of the occupied territories of Sebta and Melilia.

As of 16 September, border police are no longer required to review the boarding pass and will access information about arrivals with passport control.


Saturday, September 14, 2019

Moroccan Mint Tea - "A Hint of the Forbidden"

Morocco is one of the biggest importers in the world of Chinese green tea leaves and was in 2014 the second most country for tea drinking with an average of 4.34 kg per person. Yet tea has not always had a warm welcome in Morocco

On the health side, of all the teas, green tea is the most famous. He is one of the few to preserve its virtues in hot water because it is the least transformed. according to the National Agency for Food Safety (ANSES) tea contains three main families of antioxidants: catechins, theaflavins and thearubigins.  In a cup of green tea there are up to 400 mg of polyphenols, a family of organic molecules widely present in the plant kingdom, . Thanks to these compounds, tea is considered the drink with the strongest antioxidant activity. The antioxidant power of green tea extracts is four times higher than that of vitamin C. According to several studies, green tea also has beneficial properties in the prevention of cancer.

Yet, over the years, there have been many attempts to ban it and tea has never been well received by some Moroccan scholars. Even in the twentieth century, some of them continued to fight Atay and to try to persuade Moroccans not to consume it.

Morocco's flagship drink, intrinsically linked to the hospitality of Moroccans, tea did not, however, benefit from the blessing of some Moroccan ulemas at its first appearance. Discovered in 2737 BC by the Chinese Emperor Shen Nung, tea did not arrive in the Arab world and Morocco until the 18th century.

Under the reign of Sultan Ismail, tea remains a mainly makhzanian commodity. It is thus served to the king, princes, ambassadors, and prominent personalities of the Sultan's court. In her book " The Art of Tea in Morocco ", previously quoted by Yabiladi, Noufissa Kessar Raji reports that Queen Anne of England (1665-1714) estimated that "two large copper tea fountains and a little tea of good quality would be what could soften the heart of the Emperor of Morocco who held sixty-nine English prisoners of war ".

Years later, the English surgeon William Lempriere, called in 1789, at the court of Sultan Mohammed Mohammed Abdallah (Mohammed III), "surprised that the tea is served in beautiful cups of porcelain from India, a remarkable smallness, the small amount that is used both of this drink shows the whole case that the Moors do, "says Noufissa Kessar Raji.

In an article, the centre  Mominoun Without Borders for Studies and Research (MWB) tells how tea or "Ataty" became famous in the 18th century, after "European emissaries had offered gifts to the Alawite Sultan for the release of their captives, including tea and sugar bags. "

More specifically, the work of Abdelahad Sebti and Abderrahmane Lakhssassi, entitled " From Tea to Atay: history and habits " (Editions Faculty of letters and rights of Rabat, 1999) states that this commodity is widespread in cities between 1830 and 1860.

But while this hot drink is the favourite of Moroccans for several years and is still claimed by almost all tourists visiting the kingdom, tea was the subject of several criticisms, including that of the ulema, when it arrived in Morocco.

For example, Abdelahad Sebti and Abderrahmane Lakhssassi cite several scholars who have expressed their opposition to this new drink for various reasons. They quote in particular the Fqih Ahmed Ibn Abdelmalek Alaoui, a cadi in Fes and Meknes, who died in 1826. Exercising as a judge, he "refused the testimonies [in front of his court] of those who had consumed tea", one writes. The cadi justified his opinion by the fact that "the man must avoid anything of which he does not know the verdict of Allah" and relied on the opinions of El Ghazali and Imam Shâfi'î.

Even at the beginning of the twentieth century, several imams had continued to oppose the consumption of tea. The two authors of "From Tea to Atay: history and habits" report indeed a story relayed by Mohamed Mokhtar Soussi (1900-1963) of Hajj Abed El Baichouri, one of the imams who supported Ahmed El Hiba. Hajj Abed El Baichouri asserted that "tea contains a hint of forbidden". He explained, still according to Mohamed Mokhtar Soussi, to have heard about a "factory in Paris of tea and sugar where they used carrion bones and blood".

Among the fatwas on the consumption of tea having marked the minds of Moroccans, MWB Center quotes Ahmed Hamed Ben M'hamed Ben Mukhtar Allah, Mauritanian Sheikh, famous in Morocco. "Because I was one of his consumers, and I drank it, in many ways and with many fools and miscreants," he explained, assuring "that those who experiment are better than those who hear only." Ahmed Hamed Ben M'hamed Ben Mukhtar Allah said that tea is part of the follow-up of instinct, desire and the devil's way. "I hope that anyone who reads my work will be guided by Allah," he concluded.

The sheikh had also warned against the consumption of tea, saying that the drink "diverts from prayer" and that it "harms health if it is eaten on an empty stomach". He also said that tea leads to "mixing with slaves and young people, hearing obscene speeches and talking about people".

Abdelahad Sebti and Abderrahmane Lakhssassi, for their part, describe how Mohamed ibn Abdelkabir al-Kettani, who had opposed, with other ulemas, Moulay Abdelaziz, had also expressed his opposition to this drink . "He forbade the consumption of tea especially to his disciples and fought him in meetings and occasions," said his son El Baker Al Kettani.

However, more moderate opinions have been expressed by other Moroccan scholars. In "Al It'haf", quoted by Abdelahad Sebti and Abderrahmane Lakhssassi, Abd Rāhmān Ibn Zaydān related the story of the Fqih Idriss (19th century), son of Sultan Moulay Slimane, who "prepared the tea containers at the time of his Classes". "When he saw that his students were getting bored or distracted, he ordered his servants to serve them tea to awaken their senses," said Ibn Zaydān.

MBW quotes another Moroccan imam, Sheikh Mohammed Ben Al Mouayyad Ben Sidi who, in a fatwa issued in 1925, said that "we must not forbid what has not been forbidden in the Koran, "

But over time, all the opinions of the scholarsdid not prevent Moroccans and foreigners visiting Morocco from enjoying tea and discovering its various variations, such as jasmine or mint tea. And even the recent information on traces of pesticides that would contain some brands sold in Morocco do not seem to affect the love of Moroccans for Atay.


Tuesday, September 10, 2019

12th Fez Festival of Sufi Culture - Provisional Programme

12ème édition du Festival de Fès de la Culture Soufie. Du 19 au 26 Octobre 2019, sous le thème : La Culture Soufie, un humanisme spirituel pour notre temps 

The Fes Festival of Sufi culture. Organised in partnership with the group Eco-Media, the new edition will be held from October 19 to 26 under the theme "Sufi culture, a spiritual humanism for our time". This association between notions of humanism and spirituality aims, according to the president of this event, Faouzi Skali, to go back in time.

"This choice may seem all the more surprising since the first term refers, in Western history since the fourteenth century (but especially since the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries), to a movement of thought whose purpose was to emancipate itself from transcendent orders of religion and the sacred, "he says. This movement was part of its own way in an already old debate, in West as in East, between faith and reason, religion and politics, freedom and transcendence. "But the philosophical responses that emerge at one time or another from such a debate are never innocent, they carry a promise of civilization, a choice of society," adds the festival's president. The latter promises a high quality edition. It invites international experts to the debates of Bouinania and renowned artists for creative frescoes and Sufi shows. Among them are Françoise Atlan, Marouane Hajji and various spiritual groups (Tariqas) from Morocco and elsewhere.

Faouzi Skali

Le Festival de Fès de la Culture Soufie a choisi cette année d'associer les notions d'humanisme et de spiritualité. Ce choix peut paraître d'autant plus étonnant que le premier terme renvoie, dans l'histoire occidentale depuis le XIVème siècle (mais surtout depuis le XVIII et XIXème siècle) à un mouvement de pensée dont le but était de s'émanciper des ordres transcendants de la religion et du sacré .

Jour 1 : Samedi 19 Octobre 2019
16h00 : Conférence et Cérémonie d’Ouverture Officielle du Festival – La Salle de la Préfecture, Fès - Médina
21h00 : Création artistique Al shushtari Prince des troubadours - Première Mondiale - Françoise Atlan (chant, France - Maroc), Curro Piñana (chant flamenco, Espagne), Marouane Hajji (Chant, Maroc), Ensemble Al Shushtari dirigé par Mostafa Amri (musique soufie, Maroc) - Sous la direction artistique de Carole Latifa Ameer – Bab al Makina

Jour 2 : Dimanche 20 Octobre 2019

Jour 3 : Lundi 21 Octobre 2019
9h30 – 12h30 : Table ronde « Faire revivre l'Esprit de Fès par la culture soufie » - Medersa Bouananiya
17h30- 19h30 : Table ronde « Enjeux sociétaux et spirituels face au transhumanisme » - Medersa Bouananiya
21h00 : Tariqa Sharqawiya – Parc Jnan Sbil

Jour 4 : Mardi 22 Octobre 2019
9h30 – 12h30 : Table ronde: « Pratique de la non-violence au quotidien » - Medersa Bouananiya
17h30- 19h30 : Visite spirituelle de Fès: « Le Soufisme, un art de vivre » dans des lieux historiques et spirituels de Fès (Palais, Riads et Jardins privés).
(Parallèlement du festival et sur inscription )
Conférence, FFCS 2017
21h00: Tariqa Rissouniya – Parc Jnan Sbil
Tariqa Sharqawiya, FFCS 2017

Jour 5 : Mercredi 23 Octobre 2019
9h30 – 12h30: Table ronde: "Religions et Droits humains" - Medersa Bouananiya
19h-22h : Vernissage, exposition : Sami-Ali, rencontre-signature avec l’artiste puis
Récital de poésie soufie et de musique – Lieu à déterminer
Conférence, FFCS 2017

Jour 6 : Jeudi 24 Octobre 2019
9h30 – 12h30: Table ronde : « ‘Al bahr al madîd ’, l'interprétation spirituelle du Coran selon Ibn ' Ajiba » - Medersa Bouananiya
17h30- 19h30 : Récital poétique et musical, Leili Anvar et Farzaneh Joorabchi, Les contes des sages perses (première mondiale) en lien avec la sortie du livre aux éditions du SEUIL - Dar Batha, Annexe Institut Français - Fès
21h00 : Tariqa Sqalliya et tariqa Halvetiya ussakiya : la khalwatiya du Maroc à la Turquie – Parc Jnan Sbil

Jour 7 : Vendredi 25 Octobre 2018
9h30 – 12h30 : Table ronde : Prier au quotidien selon les trois traditions Abrahamiques : « Prier pour quoi faire ? » - La Salle de la Préfecture, Fès -Médina
17h-17h45 : Le musc des secrets : le parfum et le désir dans la poésie persane, conférence de Leili Anvar – Lieu à déterminer
17h45-19h30 : Parfums sacrés, master classe et atelier avec le maître-parfumeur Abderezzak Benchaâbane – Lieu à déterminer
(Parallèlement du festival et sur inscription )
21h00 : Tariqa Wazzaniya – Parc Jnan Sbil

Jour 8 : Samedi 26 Octobre 2019 Création artistique pour la clôture
9h30 – 12h30 : Table ronde : Projet de création d'une plateforme de la Culture Soufie, état des lieux - Medersa Bouananiya
20h30 : Cérémonie de Clôture – création artistique : Le langage secret des fleurs et des parfums, avec Fatima-Zohra Qortobi (chant, Maroc), Farzaneh Joorabchi (chant, Iran), Ferhat Oguz Korc (chant, Turquie) et derviches tourneurs, Amal Ayouch, Leili Anvar, Théophile de Wallensbourg (comédiens). Sous la direction artistique de Carole Latifa Ameer
– Bab al Makina

Parmi les intervenants pressentis (par ordre alphabétique) :
« Mohamed Adiouane (Maroc), Mohammed Alaoui Belrhiti (Maroc), Moulay Driss Alaoui Mdaghri (Maroc), Carole Latifa Ameer (France-Inde), Leili Anvar (France), Françoise Atlan (France), Mohcine Ayouche (Maroc), Adbelilah Benarafa (Maroc), Abderezzak Benchaâbane (Maroc), Saïda Bennani (Maroc), Ikram Bennani (Maroc), Ghaleb Bencheikh (France), Théophile De Wallensbourg (France), Mounir El Kadiri Boutchich (Maroc), Al Aziz Eddebbarh (USA-Maroc), Courtney Erwyn (USA), Driss Fassi Fihri (Maroc), Jean-Pierre Flachaire (France), Éric Geoffroy (France), Mohammed Ghani (Maroc), Roderick Grierson (Canada), Abdou Hafidi (France-Maroc), Suad Hakim (Liban), Thami Harak (Maroc), Touria Iqbal (Maroc), Mohamed Kabbaj (Maroc), Jaafar Kansoussi (Maroc), Bariza Khiari (France), Nizar Liemlahi (Maroc-Espagne), Cristóbal López Romero (Espagne), Souada Maoulainine (Maroc), Naila Hayat Noon (Pakistan), Cheikha Nûr (Turquie), Abdellah Ouazzani (Maroc), Khaled Roumo (France-Syrie), Ibrahim Salama (Suisse-Egypte), Meryem Sebti (France-Maroc), Salamatou Sow (Niger), Ahmed Taoufiq (Maroc), Cherif Sidi Brahim Tidjani (Maroc), François-Xavier Tilliette (France)»
Ce programme peut être sujet à modifications