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Should I be worried about terrorism in Morocco
When I mentioned my intentions to talk about terrorism in my guide, many people tried to convince me not to. They said it would scare the readers. Then again, it was one of the first questions my foreign friends asked before visiting my country, and they didn’t mind the tough talk.
Let’s cut to the chase: You know Morocco is a muslim country and it worries you.
First of all, if you relate terrorism to Islam because of what a handful of ignorants are doing in the western world, there’s nothing I could say that would change your mind. For the others, keep reading.
Yes, Morocco is a Muslim country. A moderate Muslim country.
Since becoming a monarch in 1999, King Mohammed VI has opted for interfaith dialogue and the fight against religious extremism in all its forms and manifestations. Morocco has a comprehensive counterterrorism strategy that includes vigilant security measures, regional and international cooperation, and counter-radicalization policies.
Morocco, which is a major Non-North Atlantic Treaty Organization ally of the United States, is a stable security-exporting partner that participates actively in the 5+5 Defense Initiative to address Mediterranean security issues.
the US State Department said in its annual Country Reports on Terrorism for the year 2017.
Domestic terrorism incidents were a more serious concern at the beginning of the millennium but have also become rarer as Moroccan security services increase their emphasis on finding and arresting potential terrorist cells before they become operational.
The U.S Department of state also recommends to “exercise normal precautions”, which is the lowest travel advisory level. It is safer to go to Morocco than to go to France, Spain, India etc…
In general, crime does not pose a significant threat to the outlook of tourism to Morocco; although petty crimes such as pick-pocketing and bag snatching are more common in crowded areas (nothing remotely close to what happens in South America). Hustlers and con artists also target tourists. The most sensible way to avoid them and keep on enjoying your time in Morocco is to politely refuse their services and to be sensibly guarded against strangers.
The biggest concern for a tourist in Morocco is the popularity of faux guides. Although these have decreased in number due to the great work of the Brigade Touristique, there are still many opportunistic men roaming the streets of popular hotspots waiting for the perfect traveler to con. But there are some effective ways to spot faux guides, as they tend to use some these tactics or similar (more on that on the Scams chapter).
Moroccans as a population do not wish to have any political instability and while they do criticize the government in various ways, most Moroccans support the modern, progressive king, Mohamed VI. So, politically, Morocco is very stable and has been a fine example of solidarity in the region for decades.
Road quality in Morocco varies throughout the country and throughout the year. From high-speed toll roads to secondary roads which may be more poorly maintained, the safety of the roads depends on the season as heavy rains or snow can create more dangerous driving conditions.
Drivers are known to be more erratic and all kinds of vehicles, from bicycles to donkey carts, are legally allowed to share a road. Traffic accidents are a major concern in Morocco so it is essential to be as careful as possible when driving around the country.
Is it safe for women to travel to Morocco
This section has been moved to it’s own article
Is it safe for kids to travel to Morocco
Moroccan society is a very family-oriented one and you will be sure to witness that especially when you travel to Morocco with your family and young children. Family is the priority for Moroccans and children are typically spoiled rotten by elder relatives, being able to stay up later than is customary in the West and allowed to play freely indoors and on the streets.
When you travel with your little ones, you may then notice a friendlier attitude from the locals with people frequently coming up to you and admiring your children, inviting you in to their shops and cafés, and even offering free tea. This is all friendly behavior and you should not feel uncomfortable or unsafe about it. Morocco has an extremely child-friendly culture and bringing your little ones along on your journey may even be an advantage for you to interact with the locals and explore the Moroccan way of life first hand.
Who to contact in an emergency
In case misfortune does occur during your stay in Morocco and you do become a victim to a crime (whether it be a faux guide, sexual harassment or theft), the simplest way to get help is to reach the Tourist Police. In popular urban centers, it’s quite easy to find one in just about every corner but you can usually also ask at your hotel for information on the nearest police office. In emergency situations, you can dial 19 to reach the police in urban areas, 177 for the Royal Gendarmerie (the police force in rural areas), and 15 for an ambulance or firemen.
It’s also a good idea to always have the address and contact number of your national embassy in Morocco so you can quickly get in touch if needed.
- Police : 19
- Tourist Police : 05 24 38 46 01 or 05 24 88 86 80 (toll-free number, accessible 24/24, is available to tourists in Morocco)
- Firefighters : 15
- Gendarmerie : 077
- Poison Control Center : +212 5 37 68 64 64
- Road safety : 177
So how safe is Morocco
In general, Morocco is a safe country to explore. Moroccans are well known for being a hospitable and tolerant people which makes traveling through the country a much more enjoyable experience. That said, the conservative nature of the local culture does mean that traditional customs should be respected in public in order to avoid less desirable situations. As with many other countries, tourists are a special target of pick-pockets and faux guides so being aware of your surroundings and belongings is generally common sense.
There is no need to be afraid of traveling to Morocco. Staying calm, looking confident and brushing off the occasional cat-call are all much more positive attitudes which, in the end, will help make your stay in Morocco one you will remember for all the right reasons.