Sunday, October 09, 2005

Moroccan exhibition opens in Holland

According to a report from the European Jewish Press published in Yediot Aharonot, an exhibition designed to educate Moroccans in Holland about the Jews of the country and lessen intercommunal tensions has opened in Amsterdam. (Flagged on 'Point of no return', this exhibition of artefacts, costumes and jewellery, mostly from psychiatrist Paul Dahan's private collection, was first put on in Belgium in May and created much interest in the Moroccan press.)

"For many centuries Jews and Muslims in Morocco have coexisted in harmony, and the two cultures show many similarities. Both worlds come together in the exhibition which is expressed in its title Lihoed: “Jews” in Moroccan Arabic. (We Anglos would say Al-yahud - Ed)

"The shared history is detailed through exhibits featuring like implements, clothing, films and photos. A special room is devoted to traditional Judaeo-Moroccan music as an efficient social binder and a common interest.

(...) "Especially with today’s tensions between Muslims and non-Muslims this exhibition is of utmost importance," Janrense Boonstra, director of the Biblical Museum said. "I expect a lot of Moroccan visitors to come and I think the exhibition will be a surprise for them."

"The vast majority of Dutch Moroccans are Muslims and have a Berber-background. What the Dutch Muslims usually don’t know is that Jews and Berbers were living peacefully together in Morocco. There was even an important mutual cultural exchange for centuries before the arrival of Arabic culture and with the Arab conquest during the 8th century.

"For many centuries the Jewish community formed the most important minority in Morocco," Boonstra said."

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