|This article needs additional citations for verification. (July 2008)|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Israel||800,000- 1.1 million|
|United Arab Emirates||7,400|
|Arabic, Berber, Hebrew, French, Spanish, Italian, English, Dutch|
|Sunni Islam, Judaism, Christianity, other.|
The Moroccan diaspora consists of emigrants from Morocco and their descendants. Of the estimated 4.5 million Moroccans living abroad, roughly two thirds live in Europe; the remainder are distributed throughout the Americas (including North America and Latin America), Australia, Africa (in particular West Africa), and the countries of the Arab World.
Europe has long been a destination for Moroccan migration, with Moroccans arriving in some countries at least as early as the twentieth century. The largest concentration of Moroccans outside Morocco is in France, which has reportedly over 1.9 million Moroccans, and the Netherlands and Belgium (about 0.7 million Moroccans). In the Netherlands, Moroccans are the third largest group of non-western immigrants after people from the former Dutch colonies of Indonesia and Suriname. In Belgium, Moroccans now form even the largest group of non-western immigrants. At over 4% of Belgium's population, the Moroccan population in Belgium is the highest percentagewise in Europe.
There are also large Moroccan communities in Spain (about 767,784 Moroccans), Italy, Sweden and Switzerland. Many Moroccans have also settled for quite a long time in the United States, Canada, Brazil and other Arab countries, most notably Libya. Some other Moroccans have immigrated to other parts of Africa where they have prospered financially.
The majority of the Moroccan diaspora are Muslims, with a sizable minority of Moroccan Jews, as well as Moroccan Christians. While many Moroccan Jews emigrated to Israel in the decades following WWII, many Jews (about 100-150,000) remained in Morocco.
The Moroccan diaspora is historically composed of guest workers. Because of the economic opportunities, many Moroccans have worked in the Arab World, most notably in Persian Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait among others.
Author of the newly released book Moroccans abroad. Identity and cultural diversity, Professor Bekouchi looks at the five million Moroccans living in the four corners of the globe, of whom 300,000 represent the elite. For him, if these Moroccans abroad could be listened to and motivated by the Moroccan policy makers, they could create wonders. “They already exert some influence on negotiation strategies and on the partnership between Morocco and their adopted country”, highlights the author. This goes back to the history of the emigration of Moroccans to Europe and elsewhere. He recalls that it was at the beginning of the last century that the first Moroccan mass emigrations began. The toughest and most obedient natives were chosen to engage in World War I or to fill in for French farmers and laborers detained on the front line. Yet, the veterans have been too little compensated. Today still, they earn barely a fifth of that of their French counterparts.
At the start of the 1960s, crews were sent by European employers to hire the most docile rural labor. The departures led to painful separations and psychological effects in the families remaining in Morocco and those in the host countries. Until the start of the 1970s, many contingents left for France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. 90% of migrants were rural men, with little education and no professional qualifications, recalls Bekouchi.
And from March 26, 1996, without a visa entry to European Union countries was prohibited for Moroccans and other Maghrebis. The result was the start of illegal immigration. Thus Bekouchi comes back to the problem of illegal immigration and its dramatic consequences. Thus, tens of thousands of “harragas” died a sea or on the road. The book contains the figures on the extent of the diaspora. More than 83% of the total ended up in Europe, and one in two lives in France, totalling 1.3 million Moroccans. Regarding more recent immigration, the Moroccan community in Spain comes in second with its 800,000 members, followed by Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. The author discusses the problem of trafficking Moroccan women in Arabic countries. For the most part, they practice prostitution via pseudo-contracts of employment. Bekouchi takes an interest in the Jewish diaspora the first great waves of which emigration began with the declaration of the Israeli state in 1948. Another very strong period was during the 1967 war. They are scattered between Israel, the United States, Canada, France, Belgium and Latin America.
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