RELIGION LIBRARY

Morocco

COUNTRY PROFILE

Map of Morocco

The country has an area of 172,414 square miles and a population of 34.8 million, of which 98.7 percent is Muslim, 1.1 percent Christian, and 0.2 percent Jewish.
According to Jewish community leaders, there are an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 Jews, approximately 2,500 of whom reside in Casablanca and are the remnants of a much larger community that has mostly emigrated. The estimated size of the Rabat Jewish community is 200, and 250 live in Marrakech. The remainder of the Jewish population is dispersed throughout the country. The population is mostly elderly, with a diminishing number of young persons.
The predominately Roman Catholic and Protestant expatriate Christian community consists of approximately 5,000 practicing members, although some estimates are as high as 25,000. Most expatriate Christians reside in the Casablanca and Rabat urban areas. Local Christian leaders estimate there are 4,000 Christian citizens (mostly Berber) who regularly attend "house" churches and live predominately in the south. Local Christian leaders estimate there may be as many as 8,000 Christians throughout the country who have made professions of Christian faith but do not regularly meet because they fear government surveillance and social persecution.
There are an estimated 3,000 to 8,000 Shi'a Muslims, most of them expatriates from Lebanon or Iraq, but also a few citizen converts. Several thousand citizens who currently reside in Europe have reportedly adopted Shi'a beliefs. The Baha'i community, located in urban areas, numbers 350 to 400 persons.
Followers of several Sufi Muslim orders undertake joint annual pilgrimages to the country. One of the most prominent of these orders is the Zaouia Tijania of which as many as 30 followers each week, mostly from West Africa, make spiritual pilgrimages to Fez to worship at the tomb of Sheikh Ahmed Tijani, who is said to have brought Islam to the subregion. The Tariqa Al-Qadiriya Al-Boutchichia, highly influential in the country, celebrates the Prophet Muhammad's birthday every year, praying with its living master, Sheikh Sidi Hamza Al-Qadiri Al-Boutchichi, in the city of Berkane.

Population Population (2009 est.) 34,859,364
Religious Demographics Muslim 98.7%, Christian 1.1%, Jewish 0.2%
Ethnic Groups Ethnic Groups Arab-Berber 99.1%, other 0.7%, Jewish 0.2%
Languages Languages Arabic (official), Berber dialects, French often the language of business, government, and diplomacy
Country Flag Flag of Morocco