King Hassan II Mosque is the largest mosque in Morocco and claims to be the 2nd largest in the world; it is only behind the Grand Mosque in Mecca. Designed with Moorish influences by French architect Michel Pinseau, the construction began in July 1986 on reclaimed land, — almost half of it from the Atlantic Ocean and part of its expanse of flooring is ocean-viewing glass. Granite, plaster, marble and wood were all sourced in Morocco, with the exception of its Italian granite columns and glass chandeliers. Moroccan artisans produced the Mosque’s beautiful mosaics, stone and marble floors and columns, plaster mouldings and carved wooden ceilings. King Hassan II Mosque has space for 25,000 worshipers inside and another 80,000 outside. Whether it’s true or not that this is the second biggest mosque in the world, the 210-meter minaret however, is the tallest in the world and is visible day and night for miles around.
As it is a modern mosque, it has to have a modern touch, which are electric doors, a sliding roof, and lasers which shine at night from the top of the minaret towards Mecca and of course it was built to withstand earthquakes. How do the Casablancans feel about Hassan II Mosque? Well, On one hand, they are proud that this beautiful monument dominates their city. On the other, they are aware that the expense (estimates range from $500 to 800 million) could have been put to other uses. To build the mosque, it was necessary to destroy a large, shanty town section of Casablanca. The residents did not receive any compensation.
However, to look at the other side of the story, as it now fully operational, Casablanca could also be proud, they manage to clear the shanty area and become a tourist destination and generate money.
Do we need a large and big mosque for a country of 36 million people or a city of around 3.6 million population? Compare this with the not very famous Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta (with population of 15 million people), the capital of Indonesia that can cater for 120,000 worshipers at a time, it never claimed to be the largest mosque outside Saudi. Another interesting fact I found in Wikipedia about large mosques, certainly Hassan II Mosque was never close to being number 2 largest mosque in terms of capacity or area.
You might like my other post related to Casablanca: