Moroccan Americans

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Moroccan Americans
Total population
101,211 (2014 American Community Survey)[1]
Regions with significant populations
New York City, Washington D.C., Boston, Florida (Jacksonville), Texas, Los Angeles
Islam (Sunni), Christianity (Catholic, Protestant), Judaism

Moroccan Americans are Americans of Moroccan ancestry, as well as persons who have dual Moroccan and United States citizenship.


Moroccan presence in the United States was rare until the mid-twentieth century. The first North African who came to the current United States was probably Estebanico Al Azemmouri (also called Estevanico), a Muslim Moroccan of Gnawa descent, who participated in Pánfilo de Narváez's ill-fated expedition to colonize Florida and the Gulf Coast in 1527. Only Azemmouri and three of his comrades survived during the eleven-year- long of journey, of 5,000 mile, from Florida to the West Coast, ending the tour in Texas.[2] So, in 1534, them crossed the southern from United States until Arizona, being also, more later, one of four men who accompanied Marcos de Niza as a guide in search of the fabled Seven Cities of Cibola, preceding Coronado.[3] He was the first explorer who entered an Indian village.[2]

It is also possible that some South American descendants of Sephardic Jews from Morocco emigrated to United States in the early twentieth century, after the decline of the rubber industry in South America in 1910 to which their families had been dedicated for generations. After of the II World War, some groups of Sephardic Jews from Morocco emigrated to United States, fleeing poverty in North Africa. Most of them got established in zones where already had established Sephardic Jews communities from Spain, Turkey, or the Balkans.[4] After French independence of Morocco in 1956, a number of their best young researchers, though limited, left Paris to study at American universities, entering in scientific faculties.[5] Arabized Moroccans, however, not arrived to United States in significant numbers until the late 1970s.

During the 1980s and 1990s, many Moroccans entered the United States to attend colleges, universities, graduate schools, and medical schools.[4] If well, some Moroccans emigrated to United States seeking work, opening small retail stores and restaurants for both Moroccans and non-Moroccans in United States.[5]

The 1990 U.S. census counted only 21,529 foreign-born Moroccans residing in the United States; 15,004 respondents of census listed the Moroccan as their first ancestry, while 4,074 listed it as their second ancestry.[citation needed] In 1990 there were about 15,000 Moroccan Americans with most of them being in New York City.[6]

More later, in the late 1990s Morocco experienced problems typical of developing nations: high government spending and inflation, a huge external debt, limited access to health care, poor housing and living conditions, and high unemployment. Morocco experienced an unemployment rate of 16 to 20 percent. Moroccan Citizens began migrating during this period to relieve the high unemployment rate. Most migrants attempted to enter France, Italy, and Spain. But by the end of the 1990s, the European Union began limiting visas for North Africans and barring illegal migrants from entering Europe. Moroccans with higher levels of job skills were able to consider emigration to the United States.[citation needed]

To escape their country’s high unemployment rate, Moroccans who immigrated to the United States typically had more education and better job skills. Most immigrants settled in New York City, New England, the District of Columbia, California, and Texas where they established small businesses or entered professional jobs, some Moroccans Jewish family are settled in Los Angeles area . By the end of the 1990s, most Moroccan immigrants were students or recent university graduates.[4] Although there were also many men who started exercising in jobs such as taxi drivers, restaurant workers and mechanics.[5]

As of the 2000 U.S. Census 38,923 Americans stated they were of Moroccan descent. As of 2009 27,000 Moroccans, about 70% of the entire Moroccan American community, had immigrated between 1992 and 2002. As of 2009 most Moroccan Americans live in large urban areas.[6]


A grand majority of Moroccan Americans practice Islam. Most Moroccans are Sunni Muslims of the Malaki madh'hab. Morocco has historically allowed women a degree of freedom relatively high in the Islamic world.[7]

Moroccans in New York City established the Islamic Mission of America for the Propgation of Islam and Defense of the Faith and the Faithful, the second mosque in New York.[6]

A small minority of Moroccans identify with Judaism, specifically Sephardic Judaism.[4]

Traditional Clothing

The traditional headgear for Moroccan men is the fez, a close-fitting red felt hat with a flattened top and a tassel. The fez is common throughout the Islamic world but it is thought to have originated from Morocco. It is also referred to as tarbush, checheya and phecy.[8]

In earlier years, Moroccan women wore veils to cover their faces in public, like other Islamic countries. However, in recent years this custom has largely disappeared in urban parts of the country.[8]

Family Dynamics

Family dynamics originate from patriarchal Islamic cultures, with the husband accorded power and the wife relegated to a subordinate status. Families tend to be large because of religious attitudes towards birth control. Among Moroccan American families, many women work outside the home and balance their career with family obligations. Though women tend to enter traditionally "feminine" professions, such as teaching, increasing numbers are training in more competitive fields, such as computer science or business.[4]

Media of Moroccan Americans

Tingis is a Moroccan American magazine which highlights cultural concerns, ideas, and issues of Moroccan Americans. It works against prejudice and cultural divisions, building and expanding bridges between the U.S. and Morocco. [9]


There are some important organizations created mainly by Moroccans (and Algerians) Americans in Chicago, whose function is to help newly arrived immigrants to the United States. These arose in the 1990s. Of these organizations must emphasize the Assembly of the Maghreb. This assembly has tried to help new immigrants from North Africa to adapt to American life and maintain, in turn, the principles of Sunni Islam. Because most North African immigrants in Chicago have not been associated closely with the Muslim Middle East, the North African come together as a common community. Often, in relation to the area of the mosque, the organization has taught job skills, English language, the importance of Sirat al-Mustaqim and moderation, among other things. Have been trained women to balance paid work with traditional household chores.[10] Religious activities, such as collective prayer and the feasts of Ramadan, have been important in unifying Moroccans and other North African Muslim groups in Chicago.[5]

Other Moroccan American associations are: the Moroccan American Community Organization (that establishes respect and knowledge of Moroccan culture),[11] The Moroccan American House Association,[12] Association of Moroccan Professionals in America (AMPA),[13] Moroccan American Association of Northern California (MAANC, a non profit organization that helps families of Moroccan origin living in Southern California in the areas economical, psychological and Cultural adjustment, Improving the quality of services to Moroccan Immigrants, and facilitates, of this way, fast integration, and establish educational and cultural programs to try to keep the Moroccan culture in the community),[14] Washington Moroccan Association (WAMA, localized in Seattle - Tacoma Metropolitan are and establishing ties between Morocco and the United States, increased understanding of Moroccan culture and history of the community, charitable, educational and civic organizations on behalf of their members and build relationships with other organizations with similar functions, as the Arab community of the Washington state)[15] and Moroccan Society of Houston (Moroccan USA association NGO. His main goal is coordina social, cultural, and sport activities to maintain and strengthen community’s cultural heritage, and to "enhance mutual understanding" with other communities. In addition, have a scholarship fund to help students with their college education expenses).[16]

Notable people

See also


  1. Data Access and Dissemination Systems (DADS). "American FactFinder - Results". Retrieved 13 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 Se confirma la presencia de musulmanes hispanos en la América precolombina (in Spanish: It confirms the presence of Hispanic Muslims in pre-Columbian America)
  3. Martínez Laínez, Fernando; Canales, Carlos (2009). Banderas Lejanas: la Exploración, Conquista y Defensa por España del Territorio de los Actuales Estados Unidos (In Spanish: Far Flags: Exploration, conquest and Defence by Spain of the Territory of the United States Current). EDAF. ISBN 978-84-414-2119-6
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Evertculture:Morocco American. Posted by Elizabeth Shostak
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Encyclopedia of Chicago: Moroccans. Wrote by Stephen R. Porter.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Powell, John. Encyclopedia of North American Immigration (Facts on File library of American history). Infobase Publishing. January 1, 2009. ISBN 143811012X, 9781438110127. p. 195.
  7. "Walking and Trekking Holidays, Adventure Travel with EWP". EWP Mountain Trekking and Safaris. Retrieved 13 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Male Headwear". Retrieved 13 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Tingis Magazine
  10. Stephen R. Porter (December 26, 2005). "Algerians". The Electronic Encyclopedia of Chicago. Retrieved December 8, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "MACO". Retrieved 13 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "maha-site". maha-site. Retrieved 13 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Association of Moroccan Professionals in America @ AMPA". Retrieved 13 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Moroccan American Association of Northern California (MAANC)". Eventbrite. Retrieved 13 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Washington Moroccan Association
  16. "Moroccan Society of Houston". Retrieved 13 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>