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The Africa Diaries: A Muslim Cathedral 26 December 2006


The Great Hassan II Mosque sits on the edge of the sea, an imposing structure in a city otherwise bereft of tourist traps. It is the grandest mosque I have seen outside of Mecca and Medina. It has the tallest minaret this side of the Moon. It is called “Grande Mosquée.” It’s gotta be grand.

But it loks like a Gothic Cathedral: the vaunted arches reaching for the sky, the vertical stained glass windows on each side, and the generally dark interior pierced by shafts of light. And it sits mostly empty, like most Gothic cathedrals today: I was there around asr, and a few dozen of us occupied the space meant for 105,000.

Do we have to build such large mosques (and name them after the dictator and call them grand)? How about smaller mosques that are functional, elegant, and inexpensive?

Other quick thoughts on Casablanca: The athan is too soft, almost as if it is meek. And the city is a lot like Karachi, except with a lot more hijabis and much more beer (coincidence?).



1. julaybib - 27 December 2006

On Second Life, the 3-D virtual reality which is constructed by its users, a group of US college students have built a replica of the Hassan II mosque as part of an educational themed area! If you ever think of popping in, it’s on Casablanca Island! I’d really really love to know your opinion on the INSIDE – it looks like the real one on the outside. And your views on the island itself. A Muslim is building a version of the Mesquito in Cordoba and there are plenty of photos of the inside of that on the Net – the Second Life version is pretty impressive, in and out.



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