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Fez, Melting Pot of Religions and Cultures, UN

In an article published Sunday, the Website states that the 200-year-old Jewish cemetery of Fez symbolizes the centuries-long coexistence of diverse communities in the city.

“We lived in harmony. There was no tension. We all knew we were Jews, Muslims, or Catholics, and we never had any problems on that side””, underlines Johanna Devico Ohana, a Jewish who ensures the maintenance of the cemetery, quoted by the UN press service.

Before he died, Johanna Devico Ohana’s father asked her to promise him one thing: “if I ever die when I’m in France”, he insisted, “bring me to Fez”. He also asked her to take care of the Jewish cemetery, a role that was his responsibility before he passed away. His daughter agreed to both requests, and her father is laid to rest in the cemetery, the website indicates.

“My father was a lover of Morocco and a lover of Fez”, says Ms. Ohana, who was born and raised in the city.

The Jewish cemetery, nestled in the Mellah, is distinguished by its semi-cylindrical tombs, which capture the history of Morocco’s flourishing Jewry, according to the UN, adding that today, Fez is known for its religion, art, sciences, craftwork, and trade activities. The Fez Medina, often described as Morocco’s cultural and spiritual centre, is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It also retains a mix of cultures and identity, and a Jewish neighbourhood, named ‘Mellah’. The age-old intermingling of peoples made Fez an appropriate location for the ninth Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), which took place in November 2022, the website adds.

Quoting Mr. Andre Azoulay, adviser to HM King Mohammed VI, during the opening of the 9th Forum of the UNAOC, the UN Press service indicates that Morocco “is built around a model of openness, harmony and synergy that has seen the convergence of Arab-Islamic, Amazigh and Saharan-Hassanian confluents, and that has, at the same time, been enriched by African, Andalusian, Hebrew and Mediterranean tributaries”.

Located in northern Morocco, on the Wadi Fez, the city was founded in the ninth century, and was the ancient capital of Morocco for hundreds of years. In the year 809, King Idriss II encouraged Jews to move to Fez, so the city could benefit from their skills, the UN website concludes.

Source: Agency Morocaine De Presse