I have always known that the terrorists today associated with Islamic fundamentalism don't represent the Muslim world. However as someone who has known very few Muslims in her life, it would be easy to be swayed by the media barrage of terrorist headlines. Having known some Muslim students and Doctors has helped me have some perspective on the issue. However, I didn't know what to expect coming to Morocco but I had an open mind and I was hopeful! Here I discovered the face of Islam as expressed by Moroccans.
This face includes the man in the wheat field on his little piece of land using a sickle to cut the wheat; or the woman who is shepherding her goats while her husband tends the farm. The stalls in the medinas have hardworking vendors who spend long hours selling their wares to tourists and locals alike. The local tour guides tell their country's stories and customs to visitors while the hotel staff smile and accommodate every request.
Local tour guide
It is also the children running through the Medina when they are let out of school and the babies carried in strips of cloth on the backs of their mothers. The face also includes the family bringing its wares to market, riding on their donkey cart, smiling and waving to the bus full of people as it passes.
Those female faces are sometimes covered with a veil but most are not. Many wear a head scarf and long garment but many of the men wear a long garment as well. These garments are lose fitting and cool in the heat, which can reach up to 50 degrees Celcius in the summer.
, Sales clerks in spice store
The call to prayer heard over the loud speaker from the local mosque brings the people to their common focus, regardless of their station in life. They also spend time socializing with each other, in the public squares, watching people perform or just chatting. They enjoy each other's company and appreciate the work of their King who is changing their nation for the better. His picture is in their homes, hotel lobbies, everywhere you go.
These are people who grow all the food they need while encouraging foreign investment in their country and improving education and health care. They are a friendly, happy people, who value their faith and family.
It has been a pleasure experiencing Morocco, its people and their smiling faces.