Morocco, Marrakech

The five pillars.

The beauty of travel is that it really does open your mind, it’s cheesy but extremely true! What is scary is how selective western media is becoming in reporting current affairs. The tragedies of Paris just before I departed for Morocco were terrible but the day before, Daesh had blown up forty people in a Muslim area of Beirut yet went largely unreported. We went for a walkabout in a local market in a country town in Morocco. It was mental, it was rammed full of people doing their weekly shop, it was incredible. No one gave a damn we were there, it was full of tomatoes and peppers the size of your face, bits of engine and washing machines, colourful spices and clothes. It was a typical market that would put eBay to shame. Now think of all the ten second news reports that do actually make the news about suicide bombers blowing up markets in the Middle East, normal people going about their normal day, the only difference is religion. After Paris, Facebook profile pictures turned to the colours of the French flag, a simple tribute showing solidarity for sure but will that happen for every Daesh attack in every country? How many people need to die to quantify that response? Put simply if Daesh kill 130 people in an attack in Afghanistan one day, will profile pictures turn red, black and green? No. Its the same enemy so what’s the difference? If you want to find a book about Islam and it’s history, all Amazon throws up is books about extremism, book after book is about how Islam is terrible. Type in the history of Christianity and it’s the complete opposite, all the wonderful history on the religion you could need. No joke, give it a go if you are bored. Christianity has been the cause of just as many deaths as Islam, they are virtually the same religion, worshiping the exact same God. Surely they should be marketed as the same? So now you have two of the biggest companies on the planet unwittingly (I hope!) driving opinion and causing frictions between two religions/societies which is exactly what Daesh want. Then amazingly, you have the BBC who refuse to use the term Daesh because it’s policy is to be unbiased and therefore IS should get a fair argument. That’s like giving Hitler time for his version his own story!

Sat in the Sahara desert it felt like nothing mattered as a full moon illuminated the dunes and we sat down for another heap of delicious Moroccan food. The group were all interested to hear the views of our tour guide who was a practicing Muslim, not that you would know it. He had his views like anyone would but, he spent most of his time talking us through the five pillars of Islam which is the fundamental basis of Islam.

1. Shahadah – Basically Allah is the only God. End of. (I believe he is also the Christian God!)

2. Salat – Pray 5 times a day.

3. Zakat – Pay a tax which is used for the poor and needy.

4. Sawm – Fasting during Ramadam. This practice puts the poor and wealthy on a level and again teaches self control. Although…. these days it is often met with indulgence at sundown and the breaking of fast. No different to Easter and Christmas in that respect.

5. Hajj – The pilgrimage to Mecca.

In the simplest form these fundamentals teach restraint, respect and self control, everything that the west is struggling with if we are honest. Don’t get me wrong, there are some nasty people out there but they are the minority and, from every walk of life. How you stop them? Solidarity. Across all religions and societies. Good luck!!

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