Sociocultural Guidelines

Islam is rhe official religion 111 the Maghreb. Unlike in Europe, polities, religion and language are inextricably linked in Arab Muslim countries. Arabic itself is considered the language of the religion and is full of expressions, phrases and proverbs taken from the Quran, which are in everyday use. The political nature and law of rhe Arab world is also based on Islam. Some countries invoke Shariah law. based on the teachings of :hc Quran, while others have a more secular approach, or .. system* Dress and most aspects of life arc

•vtibed according to the Quran and rhis practice is >.::Ic changed since the ~th C. Islamic beliefs, oservancev and laws are well described in the travel guides ' sied, but a few relevant notes are included here.

Language

Arabic is the official language in the Maghreb, but in most places French is also spoken. Along rhe coast of Morocco many of the older people speak Spanish and the young guides in Tunisia and particularly Morocco often speak several other European languages. In commercial ports, the officials will usually speak a little-English. Signs in Algeria are usually only in Arabic, while in lunisia and Morocco they are in both Arabic and French. The Berber languages are widely spoken in Morocco and Algeria and there are many dialects: Kabyle, Soussi, lama/ighr, lashalhvau as well as Derija, the colloquial Arabic. Though each country has its own dialect there is a lot of overlap. Classical Arabic is the written form uniting the whole Arab world. Irs vocabulary and form is quite different from the colloquial languages spoken.

h will help considerably in dealing with officials and for the first steps ashore ro speak at least a litrle French.

Roman mosaic floor in Vol u bul is, Morocco Graham Huit
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