MOROCCO: ISLAMIC APARTHEID ‘Blacks need not apply’

“Renting apartments to Africans is strictly forbidden,” read signs put up by Casablanca landlords who don’t want Africans, at least not the dark-skinned Africans.

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Observers.france24  This message hangs in several building lobbies in Casablanca, Morocco. Some landlords have been enforcing this rule, even though it is completely illegal. Our Observer, a student from the Ivory Coast, experienced this discrimination firsthand a few months ago.

Several photos of these posters, written in both French and Arabic, have been circulating on social networks over the past few days. According to our Observers, the photos were taken in buildings in the residential Farah Essalam neighbourhood in the Oulfa area, where many students from sub-Saharan Africa live. Similar posters have also been reported in other parts of town.

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While Morocco is located in northern Africa, many Moroccans don’t consider themselves “Africans”, a term they generally use to refer to sub-Saharan (black) Africans.

In 2012, three students were renting an apartment in the Areeda residence in the Oulfa area. As Africans, they quickly became the target of threats from residents who didn’t want to have them as neighbors. One day, when they came home from university, they saw this poster. It read:  “It is strictly prohibited to lease apartments to Africans in this building. Signed: all the apartment owners.”

After that, they got even more threats. The apartment’s landlord did everything he could to help us, but under growing pressure from the other apartment owners, he had to order them to leave, which we refused. On January 1, 2013, the police came to force them to leave. 

Discrimination against Africans has been firmly rooted here. Not all relationships with Moroccans are this confrontational, but life is definitely more unpleasant if you’re black. 

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