Saturday, May 22, 2010

Mosque of Hassan II in Casablanca, Morocco

In the early 1950's the nation of Morocco led an uprising that would eventually result in "Istiqlal" or - independence. The people were led by a man who would later become king. His name would come to be known as King Mohammed V of Morocco. In 1961 just nine years after the people won their independence King Mohammed V passed away and left his son, Hassan the throne.
King Hassan II reigned over Morocco for 38 years. During his reign he sought to maintain Morocco's independence and foster political and social change. He steered Morocco towards the Western world and spoke of joining the European Union.
One of his most impressive legacies was the formation of the Al Qods Committee in June of 1975. The focus of the committee was to "follow up implementation of resolutions adopted by Islamic conference" and "Implement Islamic Conference resolutions on Arab-Israeli conflict in view of fundamental connection between Al Quds question and the conflict."
Ten years after the emancipation of Morocco, Algeria also gained independence from European rule. This eventually led problems for King Hassan II as there were border disputes and in 1963 a war ensued.
King Hassan II adopted three constitutions during his reign. The last one, in 1996, gave more power to government and made the country less autocratic. By 1997 parliamentary elections opened the door to political change and the King formed a coalition government.
From what I have read and understood both in my travel book and online, King Hassan II was very good to his people. History has been witness to the disaster that can occur in the delicate time just after a country gains independence. King Hassan II must have been a skilled leader to maintain a sense of stability in a newly independent country. He also extended his skill to other issues facing the Arab world and had some impact on the future of these affairs.
King Hassan II passed away unexpectedly in June of 1999 and left his son, Mohammad VI the throne.
In 1993 the Mosque of Hassan II was completed in Casablanca, Morocco. It is the second largest religious building in the world second only to the Mosque in Mecca. The prayer hall (top row - leftmost picture) can accommodate up to 25,000 worshipers alone. The building itself is 968,774 square feet and the Minaret is over 650 feet high. "With carved stucco, zellij tile work, a painted cedar ceiling and marble, onyx, and travertine cladding, it is a monument to Moroccan architectural virtuosity."

DK Eyewitness Travel Guides: Morocco
Al Quds Committee Website

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