This was NEMA’s fifth annual camp. It took place in Marrakesh, Morocco between the 23rd and the 28th of April 2015.
The camp was attended by 28 European Muslims and some of their relatives from different countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany and Spain. We also had speakers from the United Kingdom joining our camp this year.
The trip’s main objective this year was to provide an Islamic gathering for new Muslims from different countries across Europe in an Islamic nature trip. As usual, it is a great opportunity for new Muslims to share their experiences of how they converted to Islam with other converts from different countries as well as their involvement in advocacy work and Islamic society in their country.
The camp this year focused on the importance of the social gathering of new Muslims by including a variety of site seeing trips. In addition, lectures and workshops were planned to address the spiritual side of all the attendees.
Thursday 23rd April
Upon arrival, guests went to the hotel directly from the airport where they were given information about the hotel facilities and times for group prayer. After resting, we went to Marrakesh city centre where we enjoyed our first Moroccan dinner.
After dinner, we went back to the hotel where we had the opening ceremony followed by night prayers.
Friday 24th April
The day started with an early breakfast at the hotel followed by an open session for our guests to socialise and get to know each other. After breakfast, it was time to get ready for Jumaa prayer.
We prayed Jumaa in the famous Koutoubia Mosque which is the largest mosque in Marrakesh. Afterwards, we went to the open market of Marrakesh where our guests enjoyed the Moroccan culture and goods. At night we went back to the hotel and had our dinner.
Saturday 25th April
Once again the day started with an early breakfast, but this time it was followed by a trip to some of the famous landmarks of Marrakesh.
We started by visiting the Majorelle Garden, which is a botanical garden and artist's landscape garden in Marrakech. We enjoyed the magnificent views of flowers and tress as well as the Islamic Art Museum. After the Majorelle Garden we went to visit the Saadian Tombs, which were built in the 16th century to bury many Saadian rulers and entertainers. Among the graves are those of Ahmed Almansur and his family.
After both visits we went to the city centre to have our dinner.
Sunday 26th April
After our breakfast, it was the day of our longest trips. As planned, we took the coach to the Waterfalls of Ourika. On our way we stopped to visit some local shops selling famous Moroccan goods such as oils, creams and perfumes.
As we reached the bottom of the waterfalls, it was time to leave the coaches and continue our journey on foot. We started by walking through the mountain until we reached the 1st waterfall. Some of us managed to get all the way to the top of the 7 waterfalls and they were amazed with the beauty of the scenery.
After a long day of climbing, we went back to the bottom of the mountain where we had our dinner and spent some time together before we went back to the hotel.
Monday 27th April
This was the last day before we had to leave Marrakesh. We decided it would be a good opportunity for our guest to bond and spend more time together.
The day was left as a free time, some of our guests stayed at the hotel and enjoyed swimming in the swimming pool. Another group of our guests asked to visit the famous Marrakesh Hammam, we arranged a coach to take them to and from the Hammam.
In the afternoon, we planned a group meeting where every one of us told something about their selves, specially the story behind them becoming Muslims. It was a great time that showed us how beautiful is Islam.
At night we had dinner at the hotel before we had to start packing as we were leaving the next day.
Tuesday 28th April
As planned it was time to leave Marrakesh and head to the airport. Guests were taken to the airport buy busses provided by the travel agency.
We believe that this camp was a success as we were able to achieve its main objective by gathering new European Muslims for the first time after our 2012 camp in Tunisia.
In general, the feedback from our guests was positive and a lot of them showed interest in attending future activities. Our participants believe that Qyam during the camp was very encouraging for them to realize the beauty of our religion. On the other hand, our guests pointed out their interest in having more lectures and workshops that what was planned this year.
NEMA is committed to supporting new Muslims in Europe by providing spiritual development and educational development and will ensure that our guest’s comments are addressed in future events.