Berber Dahir

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The so-called Berber Dahir is a dahir (decree) created by French protectorate in Morocco on May 16, 1930. It was an adaptation of secular, traditional Berber laws to the conditions of the time. The French wanted to facilitate their takeover of the Berber tribes' property while maintaining the Berber customary laws in place. The laws would only apply on some Berber-speaking regions, where the Islamic laws were already not applied. This decree was signed by Mohammed V the Moroccan king at the time. The Dahir was cancelled following pressure by Arab-minded nationalists and Islamists, who saw it as a threat to Arab rule and Islamic sharia. The decree's original French name translates to: The decree that manages the course of justice in the regions of Berber customs.

The core general objective of the French occupation authority was the takeover of the lands of the Berber tribes under a legal cover.

September 11, 1914[edit]

A first formulation appeared under the influence of a group of specialists of Berbers of High Atlas and Middle Atlas, such as Maurice Le Glay (civil Controller and author of Récits de la plaine et des monts, les sentiers de la guerre et de l'amour, la mort du Rougui etc.), a core of professors hostile to Islam and in collaboration with bishop of Rabat. The purpose of this dahir was the adaptation of a so-called "Berber Justice" to the proper conditions of the time and, which corresponded to the spirit of the French policy in Morocco under the governance of the Resident-General Lyautey who signed the dahir of September 11, 1914.

The fundamental characteristic of this policy consisted in preserving the traditional autonomy of Berbers, primarily in the legal field, by disassiociating them from the Islamic legislation or "Chrâa", and by maintaining their common law known as or "Azref". The residence was mobilized to apply its plan by making the sultan Yusef sign the Dahir or legislative text,[1] which will disassociate in fact some Berber tribes from the Islamic law, making all the calls for the judgements related to the French jurisdiction.

April 8, 1934[edit]

Its exact heading that was given to the Dahir by the French was titled "Dahir regulating the functioning of justice in the tribes of Berber customs". In its application, the ministerial decree of April 8, 1934, organized the customary courts that were established for the purpose.

May 16, 1930[edit]

Officializing the customary justice in the country, whose roots date back to thousands of years.

Nationalist reaction[edit]

Before arriving at the sultan, the text drafted by France would be translated into Arabic. The text of May 1930 was in the hands of Abdellatif Sbihi, he alerted nationalists from Salé. They saw it as an attempt to "divide Moroccan people", especially by reading the Article 6. On Friday, June 27, 1930, Imam Ali Haj Awad, presided at the Great Mosque of Salé, the reading of "Latif". Roberta Rezette in his book "The Moroccan political Party" write: campaign against the Berber Dahir began with the recitation of "Latif" in the mosques of Sale. So it fed the protests. On July 4, Rabat ignites in mosques under the leadership of Mohamed Lyazid and July 5 at the mosque in Fez Quaraouiyine through Al Alam Chahbi Qorchi before spreading to Marrakech and Casablanca.

Sultan reaction[edit]

The occupant of the colonial residence will quickly respond by exerting heavy pressure on His Majesty the Sultan aged 21 to publicly condemn all manifestations against this Dahir. At the occasion of the commemoration of the Prophet's birthday celebration on August 11, 1930, a message of Sultan Mohammed V prepared by the residence was read in all the mosques of the country.

Petition against Dahir[edit]

It is not enough to calm the spirits and on August 28, 1930, one hundred nationalists gathered in the house of Ahmed bin Haj Mohamed Lahrech in Salé where Mufti Boubker Zniber wrote the "petition against the Berber Dahir" to be sent to Grand Vizier Al-moqri by a slaoui delegation. Moroccan activists mobilized to alert the international and Arab press ; then Shakib Arslan made a brief stop in Morocco to inform and educate the nationalists.

The signatories of the petition against the Berber Dahir[edit]

Mohammed ben Lamfadal Al-Alami al-Idrissi, Mohammed Al-Alami, Abdelhamid Al-Alaoui, Hicham Al-Alaoui, Mohammed ben Abdeslam Al-Alaoui, Mohammed ben Mekki Al-Alaoui, Mohammed ben Tayyeb Al-Alaoui, Mohammed Al-Aâlou, Abdallah Al-Aâouni, Bennacer ben Ahmed Aouad, Boubker ben Ahmed Aouad, Mohammed Aouad, Driss Aouad, Omar ben Ahmed Aouad, Abdallah ben Ahmed ben Baïja, Boubker ben Mohammed Bouchaâra, Thami Bouchaâra, Ahmed Bendahmane, Mohammed Bendahmane, Mohammed ben al-haj Bendahmane, Boubker Bennaghmouche, Mohammed Benmoumen, Boubker Bensaïd, Hachemi ben Omar Bensaïd, Mohammed Bensaïd, Mohammed ben Larbi Bensaïd, Mohammed ben Mohammed Berouayyal, Hussaïne ben Abdelqader Bouzid, Mohammed Chaoui, Driss Chaddadi, Boubker ben Mohammed Chmaâou, Brahim Chmaâou, Qassem ben Qassem Al-Fassi, Mohammed ben Saddiq Al-Filali, Mohammed Al-Gharbi, Abdelqader ben Mohammed Hajji, Ahmed ben Abdallah Hajji, Boubker Hajji, Mohammed ben Al-Hassan Hajji, Mohammed ben Mohammed Hajji, Tahar ben Abdeslam Hajji, Mohammed ben Al-Harraq, Abdallah Al-Hassouni, Mohammed Benaâchir Al-Hassouni, Mustapha ben Mohammed Al-Hassouni, Driss Jaïdi, Ahmed ben al-faqih Al-jariri, Abdallah J'ghalef, Mohammed Laâlou, Ahmed ben Haj Mohammed Lahrech, Boubker ben Ahmed Lahrech, Ahmed ben Mohammed Maâninou, Mohammed ben Ahmed Maâninou, Mohammed ben Ahmed Mallah, Abdelkrim Al-Malqi, Boubker Al-Malqi, Mohammed Al-Malqi, Mohammed ben Ali Al-Masaîdi, Ahmed ben Lamfaddal Al-M'kinsi, Driss ben Mohammed, Mohammed ben Lakbir Al-Moqaddam, Abdelhaq M'rini, Boubker Al-M'rini, Mohammed Al-M'rini, Mohammed ben Ahmed Nejjar Laqrbi Nejjar, Abdelqader Al-kadiri, Boubker El Kadiri, Abderrahmane Qandil, Lakhdar Qandil, Mustapha Qandil, Mohammed ben Larbi Riffi, Ahmed Sabounji, Boubker ben Abdallah Sabounji, M'hammed Sabounji, Mohammed ben Abdallah Sabounji, Mohammed ben Ahmed Sabounji, Hachemi Saleh, Boubker Sbihi, Larbi Sbihi, Mohammed ben Hachemi Sbihi, Ahmed ben Mohammed Safiani, Bennacer ben Mohammed Safiani, Tayyeb ben Abdallah Saffar, Ali ben Ali Talbi, Boubker Talbi, Mohammed ben Ahmed Talbi, Hassan Trabelsi, Mohammed ben Brahim Trabelsi, Ahmed ben Mohammed Tiyyal, Tayyeb Tiyyal, Abbas ben Mohammed Zniber, Abdelmajid ben Mohammed Zniber, Ahmed Zniber, Boubker ben Tahar Zniber, Larbi ben Boubker Zniber, Mohammed ben Abdelhadi Zniber, Omar ben Ahmed Zniber, Benaâchir Zouaoui.

Reflections on the Berber Dahir[edit]

Peaceful demonstrations spread in some parts of the country through the appeal to "latif" relayed by the Petition of 28 August 1930 constitute the first organized nationalist backlash against the occupation and lead to the withdrawal of France's Berber Dahir. Many now agree to recognize that this important historical episode and the decline of France has strengthened the nationalist and was the founding act of political awareness will lead a decade later for signature on 11 January 1944 a new petition, this time called "Manifesto of Independence".

Further reading[edit]

  • Katherine E. Hoffman, Assistant Professor (PhD Columbia 2000), Language Ideologies of the French Protectorate's Native Policy in Morocco, 1912-1956 examines the ideological underpinnings and effects of French Protectorate administrative policies for categorizing the Moroccan Muslim population as Arab and Berber. The manuscript probes links between language, law, and tribe that were codified willy-nilly by Affaires Indigènes officials.
  • David Bensoussan, Il était une fois le Maroc : témoignages du passé judéo-marocain, éd. du Lys,, Montréal, 2010 (ISBN 2-922505-14-6.) Second edition :, Bloomington, IN, 2012, ISBN 978-1-4759-2608-8, 620p. ISBN 978-1-4759-2609-5 (ebook)

External links[edit]

References and notes[edit]

Much of the content of this article comes from the equivalent French-language Wikipedia article, accessed September 7, 2006.