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Moroccan Jews Granted Religious Freedom, 1880

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

On This Day in Jewish History: September 18th, 1880

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#onthisday, 1880, religious freedom was granted to the Jews of Morocco following the division of the region between Spain and France.

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Previously, the local government played an active role in monitoring religions and made sure there was no malpractice, particularly within Islam as it was the majority religion of the area.

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On the eve of the independence of Morocco in 1956, there were hundreds of Jewish communities throughout the country, representing a total population of about 280,000 people, the largest Jewish community in the Muslim world.

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A number made their way into Morocco from Spain and Portugal following the 1492 expulsion, but many were present beforehand.

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From the Muslim conquest of Maghreb in 698 through the reign Almoravid dynasty in the 11th and 12th centuries, the region experienced a period of significant religious tolerance; Jews were required to pay special taxes, but otherwise were allowed to practice in peace, allowing for the flourishing of a Jewish golden age. Rambam spent some time in Fez during this time.

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These and later dynasties were sometimes marked by the persecution of religious minorities, Jews included, either by the government or by violent mobs.

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During WWII, Morocco fell under the Nazi-backed Vichy Regime, which attempted to deport the Jewish population to concentration camps.

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This attempt was blocked by King Mohammed V, although other anti-Jewish laws were successfully passed.

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Following independence in 1956, Moroccan constitution re-established Islam as a state religion, and nominally provided for the freedom of religion.

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Regardless, outright discrimination against Jews following the creation of Israel led to an exodus of Morrocan Jewry around the world.

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While most moved to Israel, other major Morrocan-Jewish communities cropped up in France, Venezuela, Canada, and Spain and Brazil.

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Text Source: http://www.jewishwikipedia.info/morocco.html

Image Source: Public Domain

✍: @_tikvah

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