Morocco celebrates many Moussems throughout the year, which are festivals in honor of the saints. May brings the annual Ben Aïssa Moussem— one of the most important festivals in Morocco named after Saint Ben Aïssa. Ben Aïssa founded the Aïssawa Sufibrotherhood in the 15th century, which was once one of the largest Sufi sub cults in Morocco. Festivalgoers travel to Meknes, where Ben Aïssa’s tomb is located just outside the city. There’s food and fun everywhere, horseback races and fairground rides. More extreme devotees to the Aïssawa Sufibrotherhood put themselves in trances and put themselves through tests of strength and endurance to prove themselves to be true devotees. Up until recently, one of these trials included glass swallowing! According to the Lonely Planet, "It’s a busy festival with fantasias (musket-firing cavalry charges), medieval pageantry (against a backdrop of a modern fairground), illusionists and plenty of singing and dancing.”
Spence-Chapin’s Morocco Pilot Program has officially launched and we are delighted to have our first 2 pioneer families beginning the home study process with us at this time! We are enormously excited about the potential of this program to match Moroccan children with Muslim families here in the United States, and we are looking forward to learning the nuances of the overseas process with the help of our pioneers. Our outreach efforts continue full-force as we look to expand our group of pioneer families. We are particularly eager to connect with families who may be interested in adopting toddlers and older children from Morocco in addition to the young infants available in this program. We are particularly enthusiastic about our collaboration with the ASMA Society, a New-York based nonprofit organization whose mission is to elevate the discourse on Islam and foster environments in which Muslims thrive. Their women’s Shura Council has recently published a paper focused entirely on Islam and Adoption, which we found both instructive and fascinating. Both Spence-Chapin and the ASMA Society were delighted to see how our goals coincide, and we are thrilled to partner with this organization to learn more about their work, educate them about ours, and recruit families to adopt children in Morocco.