Morocco

Background on Morocco:

Demography of Morocco:

The two main ethno-linguistic groups of the Moroccan state are Arabic and Berber. The Berbers as an ethnic group are indigenous to Northern Africa and constitute the largest indigenous ancestry present today in the Maghreb, having the greatest population in Morocco with between 13 and 20 million people, though Algeria, France, and Niger each have more than 1 million Berbers. The linguistic and social issues between some Berber groups in Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco, have led to political tension with their respective governments limiting Berber freedoms numerous times under the modern state. As found by Belge and Karakoç in Minorities in the Middle East: Ethnicity, Religion, and Support for Authoritarianism, linguistic minorities tend to be less supportive of authoritarian regimes. That bein
g said, in Morocco the Berbers are an ethnic majority, just one that is not in power. I would argue that through the government’s constitutional reforms, it is clear that the Berber population are viewed as an actor large enough to demand appeasement, but powerless enough to maintain control over.

Early History of Morocco:

The first independent state of Morroco (the northern geographic regions surrounding the Rif Mountains and Mediterranean Coast later colonized by the Spanish and French) emerged in 110 BC under King Boccus I of the Berber Kingdom of Mauretania. The Berbers then were subject under the Roman Empire, followed by the Umayyad Caliphate before a portion of the northern region transitioned again towards independence as the Muslim Kingdom of Nekor, an emirate in the Rif Mountains as a part of the Rashidun Caliphate.

The slow pseudo-colonial dominance and integration over the region through relations with the various Islamic Caliphates left the region heavily populated with Arabs, making up roughly 20% of the population today in comparison to the 40-60% the Berber population commands. However, there is the prevalence of Arab-Berbers who claim Arabian heritage, partially explaining the large spread in population percentages. Morocco’s location along the Mediterranean also made it an attractive choice for colonization by both the Spanish, in the north, and the French, in most of the rest of the modern state. As a French Protectorate Morocco saw an influx of French colonists, and today French is an obligatory second language taught in schools, it is also used in larger businesses as well as some bureaucratic and government affairs.

Religion in Morocco:

Religion plays a large role in the country, with the King ruling as Commander of the Faithful as well as his political roles. However, with a population almost entirely made up Muslims, roughly 99%, religious differences could mainly come up between Suunis and non-denominational Muslims.