Casablanca Calling

In Morocco, the world's first female Muslim leaders are setting out to change their country: empowering women through the teachings of Islam and challenging the attitudes which breed extremism. Casablanca Calling takes us into the lives of the women at the heart of this quiet social revolution through the women at its forefront.

In Morocco, the world's first female Muslim leaders are setting out to change their country: empowering women through the teachings of Islam and challenging the attitudes which breed extremism. Casablanca Calling takes us into the heart of this quiet social revolution through the women at its forefront.

In Morocco, a quiet social revolution is underway: women are being employed as Muslim leaders for the first time. Attached to mosques and neighbourhoods across the country, these women – called Morchidat - have a mission: to open up the teachings of Islam to women and to change the attitudes which breed extremism. Casablanca Calling takes us to the heart of this ground breaking initiative through the personal stories of the Morchidat and the people they are working with - at the forefront of a social, religious and cultural transformation.

??The first Morchidat graduated and began work in 2006 and the numbers are multiplying year on year. ?They are sent out across the country and have to win trust and acceptance from people who have never known women in this role before. In a society where the rules of Islam cover every aspect of life - from how to behave in love to how to bring up children; from how to dress to how to look after money – the role of spiritual guide is crucial. Yet until now the majority of ordinary Moroccan women have had nobody they can go to for guidance on how to live their lives. Many of them have always been told what they can’t do – by their husbands, their fathers, their sons – that they’re not allowed to go out on their own, not allowed to work, not allowed to make decisions about the household. Now, for the first time, they are being told what they can do by the Morchidat, and being empowered to change their lives.

Casablanca Calling is a character-based observational film following a newly qualified Morchidat as she ventures out into completely new territory. The journey of the Morchidat we choose to follow will form the central arc of the film, and the unfolding stories of the people she guides will weave together a series of mini-narratives in which our Morchidat plays a central role.? As well as following her in the mosque and in people’s homes, our film goes with her into schools and orphanages where she works with troubled teenagers, and into prison where she supports female prisoners and liaises with their families. Her role is spiritual guide, leader, mediator and friend.

There are big expectations on the Morchidat to transform the communities they are working in and their experiences reveal the fragile balance between fundamentalism and reform affecting Morocco and the wider Muslim world.?? The Morchidat are committed to teaching an Islam based on peace, tolerance and understanding: words seldom associated with Islam in current Western media representations. This film will give us a unique perspective on women’s lives in contemporary Morocco, through the personal stories, family dramas and everyday lives of the women whose stories we tell. We have full filming access through the Ministry for Islamic Affairs in Morocco who run the training scheme and employ the women.

Status

In production

Production team