Jewish and Muslim Space–Melissa

For years on end there has been conflict between the Jews and Arabs. As we know there was a time when they were able to co-exist peacefully and would respect one another’s beliefs. Even so, there was sometimes suspicion from Arabs, who in at least once case (that of Marrakesh “treated even foreign Jews with suspicion” (Gottreich 10). They thought “a house in which Jews or Christians had lived was regarded as unclean and unfit for the dwelling of a true believer” (Gottreich 2). So how was there such a thing as a Jewish and Muslim space in Morocco? Co-existence began when the Arabs and the Jews fled from Spain to Morocco. The expulsion of both groups helped build some rapport with one another.

Money is always a powerful thing. By trading with one another for a time period they were able to co-exist. There were always rules such as “worship places of non-Muslims must be lower in elevation than the lowest mosque in town” as stated by the “Pact of Umar.”

As businesses thrived, the Arabs realized that it was somewhat beneficial to them to share their space with the Jews. For economic reasons the Jews wanted their children to learn Arabic throughout their schooling process. (Stillman 30)This was for the sole purpose of their children being able to conduct business with the Arabs later on in the future.

As we know, there is still a lot of conflict between these two religious groups as most news headlines may indicate, but it’s interesting to see that at one point as we’ve learned throughout history they were able to put their differences aside at least for business purposes. Always being cordial and showing one another respect.

Courtesy of

Courtesy of


Gottreich, Emily. The Mellah of Marrakesh: Jewish and Muslim Space in Morocco’s Red City. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2007. Print.

Stillman, Norman A. The Jews of Arab Lands in Modern times. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1991. Print.

Jewish Heritage Tours in Morocco on 3 Days. Digital image. Web.


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