History of religions in Morocco
The Pagan religion
During the Ancient times, the Berber people of Morocco had developed a mythology and Berber beliefs that were strongly influenced by the Egyptian and the Carthaginian mythology.
Morocco has also had a Roman presence in the North, as demonstrated the archaeological site of Volubilis and Lixus.
Historically, there are two types of Jewish communities in Morocco:
- The Berber Jews, also called "natives", of the Atlas, who have been there for thousands of years, living in cities like Taroudant, Tinghir or Demnate.
- The Jews who came from Andalusia, also called "Sefaradim", who have found refuge in the Maghreb countries after the Catholic persecution that followed the Reconquista at the 16th Century. These Jews were mainly living in imperial cities like Fez or Meknes, but also in Debdou, for example. Either way, the Jews always had a dedicated neighbourhood, called "Mellah", in the cities they lived in.
Other cities have also had an important role in the development of the Jewish community in Morocco, such as Ouezzane as a place of pilgrimage, or Essaouira that was the only city in the entire Muslim world in which the vast majority of the population was Jewish, until the 19th Century (about 60% of the population).
In Morocco, Islam has been adopted very quickly at the 8th Century, under the reign of the Umayyad. However, we will have to wait another century for Sunni Malekite rites Islam to be practiced by the majority. Morocco is first built in opposition to Sunni Islam through Kharijite movements and syncretism development of local beliefs, such as the Barghawata in the Tamesna. Morocco has also been the land of the Shiite Kingdom of the Bajjalis in Taroudant at the 11th Century.
Since then, Moroccan Islam (mainly Malekite Sunni) hasn't changed crucially, except for an anchorage and an adjustment in regards to social Moroccan particularities.
Morocco has gone through a Christian period between the beginning of the Christian era – around 740 – and the advent of Islam.
After that, Christianity has remained sporadic. Ibn Khaldoun, one of the most famous North African historian during the 14th Century, confirms the presence of Christians amongst the Berbers (Garawa and Nefusa, who are Zenetes).
Statistics for the different religions in Morocco
According to a study conducted in 2012, the different religions in Morocco in 2010 were divided like this
- Islam: 99.9%
- Christianity: <0.1%
- Judaism: <0.1%
Related articles : Information
- Where is Morocco?
- Useful and Emergency Phone Numbers for traveler
- Retiring in Morocco
- Public Holidays