Casablanca Calling: meet Morocco’s female religious preachers

Casablanca Mosque

Aljazeera has released a new documentary called Casablanca Calling and viewers started watching it on Wednesday, 19 November 2014 on Witness, Al Jazeera’s observational documentary strand.

Casablanca Calling is an intimate portrait of three Moroccan women – Hannane, Bouchra and Karima – working as official Muslim leaders or Morchidat and according to the statement released by Aljazeera made available to Malawi Muslims Official Website, the documentary has been filmed over two-and-a-half years,

In Morocco, 60% of women have never been to school, but the Morchidat programme was introduced in 2006 as part of a raft of reforms to strengthen the position of women in Moroccan society and temper the rise of extremism, manifest in the terrorist attacks that struck Casablanca in 2003.

“The Morchidat have a mission: to highlight Islamic teachings of compassion, tolerance and equality. Their work takes them into mosques, schools, homes, orphanages, prisons and out in the countryside. They support the education of women and girls; campaign against early marriage; and encourage young people to build a better Morocco, rather than dreaming of life in the West,” reads part of the statement.

Award-winning director Rosa Rogers says, “The lives of women in the Arab world are often closed and off limits to those outside. As I learned about the work of the Morchidat and the lives of the women they work with, I discovered a different Islam from the images that dominate Western mainstream media. On every step of the way with this film, I have had my ideas and preconceptions consistently challenged, reframed and expanded.”

Watch the trailer:

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