Home Institution

Wellesley College

Publication Date

Spring 2022

Program Name

Morocco: Multiculturalism and Human Rights


Bayt Dakira, a historical, religious, cultural, and academic institution located in the heart of Essaouira’s old medina, seeks to conserve Jewish-Moroccan memory and promote values of peace and tolerance as exemplified by the city’s history of Jewish-Muslim coexistence. As an institution dedicated to conserving the culture of a people that have all but virtually emigrated from Morocco, Bayt Dakira’s purpose is initially unclear. This study uncovers the ways in which Bayt Dakira is an example of a seemingly apolitical institution being wielded to advance national and international political agendas. As an officially apolitical place of cultural and academic exchange, Bayt Dakira is ideal for developing ties with other nations, building trust with them, and laying the groundwork for the formation of joint economic and political initiatives. As an apolitical-presenting institution advancing values of global peace, Bayt Dakira is also a non-threatening stage from which Moroccan diplomats can criticize, from a seemingly high moral ground, conflict abroad. Bayt Dakira’s celebration of Morocco’s diversity also constructs a national identity—one that unites all Moroccans under the Constitution and the King.


African Studies | History of Religion | History of Religions of Western Origin | Islamic World and Near East History | Jewish Studies | Politics and Social Change | Sociology of Religion


Article Location