Recently the tragic terrorist attacks in Paris have led many travellers and tourists to ask if it’s safe to travel to Morocco now. With the news full of the threat from IS and the refugee crisis pushing nationalist buttons all over Europe, it might not seem like the best moment to visit and Arabic country.
So what will happen to you if you travel to Morocco right now?
Nothing at all.
Can we promise that? No more than we can guarantee that you won’t be run over by a bus today, or have a tile fall off a roof and hit you on the head.
What we can promise is that of all the threats to your safety, terrorist strikes are among the least likely.
It’s like flying. Many people are scared of going up in the air even though it’s many, many more times safer than getting into a car and yet when was the last time you saw someone nervous about getting into the passenger seat of a taxi? It seems that we’re wired to worry about sensational, dramatic risks to our lives while ignoring the everyday, banal things that are astronomically more likely to kill us.
Over 8 million tourists from Europe go to Morocco each year and the worst that happens to them is they pay too much for a carpet in the market in Marrakech. The tourism industry creates work and provides income for hundreds of thousands of Moroccans and the last thing they want is for tourists to worry about coming to Morocco.
OK, full disclosure: we organise retreats in Morocco ( http://www.roadjunkyretreat.com) and would rather people weren’t too scared to come. But we also wouldn’t take people out to the Sahara Desert unless we thought it was safe. Really, it would just be too much of a drag to explain to the families afterwards why their son/daughter/cousinet
Travel advisories issued by state departments – those handy little recipes for paranoia – urge travelers to take great care when visiting just about any Muslim country these days. But they didn’t warn anyone about taking a trip to Paris. There are 4.7 million Muslims living in France who don’t want to see anyone dead. The Paris terrorist strikes weren’t carried out by Muslims. They were carried out by assholes.
What i would like to see on the travel advisories would be ‘It is not recommended to attend weddings in Afghanistan in case a US drone kills you all’ – as has happened more than once. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deh_Bala_wedding_party_airstrike
Do Muslims hate America and it’s European allies?
The ones who are bombed, shot, tortured, invaded and oppressed by US-supporters dictators might, yes. But they don’t hate Americans or other Europeans. They understand better than we that governments are rarely representative of the people who live there and will treat you as an individual. If you respect their culture (wearing miniskirts and downing bottles of Vodka in the main square of Marrakech not being the best idea) then you’ll mostly meet with kindness and hospitality.
We’ve travelled through the Muslim world from Morocco to Indonesia and have been sheltered, fed, befriended and taken care of everywhere. Sometimes we wish we could drag the presenters of Fox News through a neighbourhood of Yogyakarta or Izmir or Fez to see how distant the people are from the portrait of murderous fanatics presented in mass media.
No, we wouldn’t take a trip to Syria or Yemen or Iraq right now – war zones anywhere aren’t safe places to be. But Morocco continues to be a safe, pleasant and fascinating place to travel.