Morocco’s Tcharmils ‘consider jail home’


This article was published in Al Jazeera on Feb. 27, 2015. Read it HERE.

CASABLANCA, Morocco – Fifteen young men crowd around a doorway separating them from a packed courtroom in Casablanca. Each time the guard opens the door, they wave to anxious friends and family. One by one, each man comes out, and the judge reads aloud his charges: robbery, assault and possession of swords or knives in public, carrying sentences of a year or more in prison.

The men, who were convicted and sentenced late last year, are part of a group known as the Tcharmil – a word taken from the spicy charmoula sauce common in Moroccan cooking.

Read more

The Secret to Moroccan Cooking? It’s in the Pot



RABAT, Morocco – Authentic Moroccan cuisine begins and ends with one item: the tajine – a dish in which Moroccan meals are prepared, cooked and served.

“Any food you fancy, you [can] put it in [the] tajine,” said Chakib Benkhraba, 53, a Moroccan who now resides in London and has worked for several restaurants that cook with tajines.

Maybe more essential to a Moroccan home than the crockpot is to an American home, the tajine is also often found in Moroccan households, surrounded by a lively family like Benkhraba’s.

Read more