A Meeting of Judaism and Islam





The 14th Andalusian Music Festival, an annual celebration of Andalusian music and culture, began this past Thursday, October 26th amidst Hebrew and Arabic melodies alike. The festival, which took place in the small coastal town of Essaouira, was highly attended by both Muslims and Jews, all of whom came together under the common banner of Maghrebi identity.

Though the coming together of these two faiths is not unheard of in Morocco, it still remains uncommon. Despite the long and tense history between Moroccan Jews and Muslims, representatives from the two faiths attempted to overcome past differences by celebrating the beauty of faith and life.

In recent years, the Kingdom of Morocco, under the leadership of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, has made important strides in preserving Moroccan Jewish culture. Now the people have taken it upon themselves to continue this work by ensuring that the institutionalization of a new age defined by coexistence replaces the previous one.

“The festival in Essaouira” remembers AUI student Yassine Aourid, the new president of Mimouna Club, “was reminiscent of a time in Morocco's history when Jews and Muslims coexisted peacefully in this beautiful country of ours. Through music and dialogue, we were able to create a nice atmosphere full of peace and joy, promising for a better future.”

Central to establishing this better future lies honest and difficult discussion—and the festival was no exception to this rule. Despite the joie de vivre that permeated much of the celebration, Jews and Muslims came together to discuss such matters as the treatment of Jews in the Maghreb and the ongoing Palestine-Israel predicament. At the end of the day, members of both faiths sat down together to eat and celebrate, putting aside religious differences in favor of the basic human love of good company and even better food.