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Inside the Middle East
December 20, 2012
Posted: 943 GMT

A look back at the highlights of 2012 covered on Inside the Middle East.

Want to see more?  Follow the show on Facebook for all the latest from 'Inside the Middle East.'

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Filed under: Culture •Egypt •Inside The Middle East •Israel •Jerusalem •Lebanon •Morocco •Palestinians •Pictures •Religion •UAE •Video •Women


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December 17, 2012
Posted: 618 GMT

A look back at the highlights of 2012 covered on Inside the Middle East.

Want to see more?  Follow the show on Facebook for all the latest from 'Inside the Middle East.'

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Filed under: Abu Dhabi •Algeria •Bahrain •Culture •Dubai •Egypt •Inside The Middle East •Iran •Iraq •Israel •Jordan •Kuwait •Lebanon •Morocco •Oman •Saudi Arabia •Sports •Tunisia •Turkey •UAE •Women •Yemen


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October 3, 2012
Posted: 1149 GMT

This month on 'Inside the Middle East', host Leone Lakhani traveled to Morocco's culinary capital, Fes, for a lesson in how to cook homemade, authentic Moroccan food.

In Fes, Lakhani met Lahcen Beqqi, who guides Moroccan and international tourists around his souq and kitchen, sharing his secrets to shopping, chopping, and eating like a local.  At just 32-years-old, Beqqi is already known as one of the top chefs in Morocco.

But what makes Moroccan cuisine so special?

It has to do with the nation's geographical and historical position as a crossroads for a number of different cultures and and traditions, according to Beqqi.

"Moroccan cuisine, it's a multicultural cuisine.  It brings together a lot of cultures, a lot of influences, from Berbers, Arabs, Jewish, French, and Mediterranean," Beqqi told CNN.  "It's not only food... it's history when you put on the table and see all of these influences.  It's very interesting."

And very tasty.

On the latest 'Inside the Middle East', Beqqi gave Lakhani step-by-step instructions to cook lamb tajine.  The following recipe is for a similar meal, reprinted with permission from Beqqi's "Lahcen’s Moroccan Recipes: A Collection of Easy and Light Variations on Some of the Finest Traditional Moroccan Recipes."

Lamb, Prune, and Date Tagine

This dish is a traditional Moroccan tagine. Because it is sweet and it includes dates, it is often served when a family has company over.

For 3 people

• 1⁄2 kilo of a shoulder of lamb, or beef, or one small chicken • 250 grams of dried prunes (around 30 prunes) • 6 dates (pitted) • one big red onion, sliced

• 200 grams of roasted almonds • 1 cinnamon stick • ginger • mrozia spice (ras l’hanoot) – if available • 1 pinch of saffron (pistils)

• salt (to taste) • pepper (to taste)

Wash the prunes and put them in one liter of water. Let them sit. Put olive oil and lamb into a big pot, or tagine. Cook on a high flame, turning the lamb on all sides. Add ginger, cinnamon, onion, ras l’hanoot and saffron. Turn down the flame to medium. Mix for one minute. Take the prunes out of the water and put them aside. Keep the water! Pour it into the pot with the lamb. Let the meat cook for 1 1⁄2 hours (or however long it takes to cook) on a low flame. Add salt and

8pepper. Add the prunes and dates in the last 15 minutes. Add the almonds when you serve the dish.

You can reach Beqqi through his website for more recipes or additional information.

Want to see more?  Follow 'Inside the Middle East' on Facebook.

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Filed under: Culture •Inside The Middle East •Morocco


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September 30, 2012
Posted: 736 GMT

Here's a short preview of our upcoming episode, which focuses on Morocco.

Want to see more?  Follow the show on Facebook for all the latest from 'Inside the Middle East.'

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Filed under: Inside The Middle East •Morocco •Video


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September 20, 2012
Posted: 715 GMT

'Inside the Middle East' wrapped shooting in Morocco this week, and the team is now preparing the program's 104th episode, which airs on October 3rd.

Check with our colleagues at the CNN Press Room for more information and the air dates and times.

Here's a brief synopsis of the upcoming show:

In October, 'Inside the Middle East' travels to Morocco, the North African kingdom located on the western edge of the Arab world.

In a nation where nearly half of those between the ages of 15 and 29 are either unemployed or out of school, frustration at the lack of opportunities is mounting. Some young Moroccans took to the streets over the past year to protest these realities while others took to the recording studio to speak out – both of which come with risk. One Moroccan rapper, El Haqed, was imprisoned earlier this year because of his lyrics. Show host Leone Lakhani meets several young rappers – from Casablanca to Tangiers – to hear some of the sounds of Morocco’s urban rage.

'Inside the Middle East' also journeys to the southern stretches of Morocco's Atlantic coastline, to the traditional Berber city of Agadir. Berbers were the first inhabitants of North Africa, and many still follow older customs and practice ancestral crafts. One of these – a beauty oil made from Argan tree seeds – is quickly becoming all the rage among celebrities and high-end shoppers in the West. Lakhani meets one Moroccan who is helping to produce the oil – and jobs for women in the country.

And what trip to Morocco would be complete without tasting the nation's world-famous cuisine? The team heads north to Fes, Morocco's culinary capital, to receive cooking lessons from Lahcen Beqqi, a top chef who has figured out how to blend traditional cooking with modern techniques.

Want to see behind-the-scenes pictures from our shoots?  Become a fan of the show on Facebook.

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Filed under: General •Inside The Middle East •Morocco


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May 13, 2012
Posted: 809 GMT
Supporters of the jailed rapper wear symbolic gags and T-Shirts saying 'Freedom for Al Haqed.' PHOTO: L7a9ed.com
Supporters of the jailed rapper wear symbolic gags and T-Shirts saying 'Freedom for Al Haqed.' PHOTO: L7a9ed.com

A Casablanca court on Friday sentenced a Moroccan hip hop artist to one year in prison for hurting the image of the police.

Mouad Belghouat, better known as "Al Haqed" (could be translated as "The Sullen One," "The Engraged One," or "The Contemptuous One") has been in custody since late March when he was arrested for his song "Kilab Al Dawla" or "Dogs of the State" where he criticizes the police for corruption and an online music video set to his lyrics that shows a policeman with a donkey's head (he says he didn't make the video.)

“You are paid to protect the citizens, not to steal their money,” say the lyrics. “Did your commander order you to take money from the poor?” The song asks the police to arrest the wealthy businessmen who he says have divided the country up for themselves.

The 24-year-old Al Haqed (often spelled L7a9ed in the alphanumeric interpretation of the Arabic letters)  comes from a sprawling slum on the outskirts of Casabalanca and has become one of the key voices of the youth involved in the pro-reform February 20 movement.

The conviction has drawn an outcry from Al Haqed's supporters on his website and on social media as well as criticism from Human Rights Watch among others.

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Filed under: Human Rights •Morocco


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June 22, 2009
Posted: 1324 GMT

If your musical tastes run towards the more esoteric and global, consider attending Morocco's Gnaoua Festival June 26-29 held every year in the seaside village of Essaouira.

This is the 12th year the Gnaoua Festival is being held in Essaouira, Morocco.
This is the 12th year the Gnaoua Festival is being held in Essaouira, Morocco.

Gnaoua (or Gnawa) is type of music indigenous to Northern Africa, characterized by its soulful chanting. In addition to local Gnaoua musicians from Morocco and other Maghreb countries, other participating artists include American alternative hip-hop group Arrested Development, Latin percussionist Jorge Bezerra, Afro-Brazilian-German group Afoxe Leoni and some of the best Sub-Saharan musicians on the scene.

*Note from IME Producer: If you plan to attend this event, blog about it! Send us your thoughts, photos and videos and we'll share them on this blog.

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Filed under: Culture Calendar •Morocco


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