Screening Out Their Own: Muslim Gatekeepers of Jewish Spaces in Morocco

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The literature on ethnic groups that were formed following migration reveals how symbolic and socioeconomic boundaries are manipulated by veteran groups to keep out the unwanted immigrants. It shows how these boundaries are to maintain and preserve the veterans’ dominant position. The case of the tiny Jewish minority living nowadays in Morocco reveals a seemingly contradictory mechanism: Muslim gatekeepers, who are part of the huge majority in Morocco, screen out their coreligionists from Jewish spaces. This gatekeeping fortifies the Jewish notion of exclusive spaces within which they feel safe as a tiny and fragile community. A close ethnographic gaze reveals that screening out Muslims is enabled due to a shared “cultural intimacy” that permits the minority to control access to their spaces. This paper sheds light on a deep level of cultural understanding that allows Jews to maintain bearable life as a dwindling minority in Morocco—despite their motivations to be separated—by appointing Muslim gatekeepers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number182
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2023


  • Moroccan Jews
  • cultural intimacy
  • gatekeepers
  • religious minorities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies


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