Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca

16 September 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean

© BenSlivka/cc-by-sa-4.0

© BenSlivka/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Hassan II Mosque (Grande Mosquée Hassan II) is a mosque in Casablanca, Morocco. It is the largest functioning mosque in Africa and is the 7th largest in the world. Its minaret is the world’s second tallest minaret at 210 metres (689 ft). Completed in 1993, it was designed by Michel Pinseau under the guidance of King Hassan II and built by Moroccan artisans from all over the kingdom. The minaret is 60 stories high topped by a laser, the light from which is directed towards Mecca. The mosque stands on a promontory looking out to the Atlantic Ocean; worshippers can pray over the sea but there is no glass floor looking into the sea. The walls are of hand-crafted marble and the roof is retractable. A maximum of 105,000 worshippers can gather together for prayer: 25,000 inside the mosque hall and another 80,000 on the mosque’s outside ground.   read more…

Kutubiyya Mosque in Marrakesh

12 August 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean

© Baca12/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Baca12/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Kutubiyya Mosque or Koutoubia Mosque is the largest mosque in Marrakesh in Morocco. The mosque’s name is also variably rendered as Jami’ al-Kutubiyah, Kutubiya Mosque, Kutubiyyin Mosque, and Mosque of the Booksellers. It is located in the southwest medina quarter of Marrakesh, near the famous public place of Jemaa el-Fna, and is flanked by large gardens. All the names and spellings of Kutubiyya Mosque are based on the Arabic word kutubiyyin, which means “booksellers”. The Koutoubia Mosque, or Bookseller’s Mosque, reflects the honorable bookselling trade practiced in the nearby souk. At one time as many as 100 book vendors worked in the streets at the base of the mosque.   read more…

The European Union: Migration debate, xenophobia, racism and right-wing extremism

2 February 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Editorial, European Union, General

Flag of Europe (Latest update: 15 May 2021) It is actually unbelievable: the wall fell, fortunately the Soviet Union failed in its own right, as a result of which most of the Eastern Bloc gained its freedom. There was great hope for democracy, freedom and the rule of law. Especially in the eastward expansion of the EU, which only knows freedom from history lessons, the hope for freedom and democracy was huge. It is all the more surprising that parts of the populations have once again been seduced by nationalist demagogues. From the east, this nationalistic nonsense finally arrived in East Germany, which was formerly part of the Eastern Bloc. Where the journey will eventually lead to remains open by now. It will certainly not be pleasing for a while. Overall, this blog can be understood as “counter medicine”, especially since it becomes clear that there can be “the best and most beautiful place in the world” individually, but that there is actually a very large number of “best and most beautiful places in the world”. One can hold monologues for hours on this or just let a lot of photos and films speak for themselves. In order to make clear that hatred and extremism are anything but the norm, on the contrary, they are abnormalities, this article was created, which bundles various forms of abnormalities on the one hand and thus on the other hand seperates them from normality shown in our other blog entries. The dramatically accumulating “individual cases”, which are obviously not, were also reason enough to refute the myth of the “lone wolf” (individual perpetrator). It is much more a question of failure of society as a whole. Entire networks are behind the perpetrators, often enough in so-called “social media”, which, however, are anything but that.   read more…

Moscow Cathedral Mosque

25 October 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

© Sergey Korovkin 84/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Sergey Korovkin 84/cc-by-sa-4.0

Moscow Cathedral Mosque is the main mosque of Moscow. It is located on Olimpiysky Avenue, close to the Olympic Stadium in the centre of the city.   read more…

Routes of El legado andalusi/Al-Andalus

4 October 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, European Union, General, Living, Working, Building, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, UNESCO World Heritage

© Morningstar1814/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Morningstar1814/cc-by-sa-3.0

In the 8th century, the Iberian Peninsula saw the arrival of Arabs and Berbers who mixed with the Roman-Visigoth inhabitants, engendering what was known as Al-Andalus. This successful medieval Muslim civilisation extended, at its peak, to most of what is today Spain and Portugal, until its downfall in the late 15th century.   read more…

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi

1 July 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, General, House of the Month

Sheikh Zayed Mosque seen from the courtyard © Wikiemirati/cc-by-sa-4.0

Sheikh Zayed Mosque seen from the courtyard © Wikiemirati/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is located in Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates. The largest mosque in the country, it is the key place of worship for daily prayers, Friday gathering and Eid prayers. During Eid, it may be visited by more than 41,000 people. The Grand Mosque was constructed between 1996 and 2007. It was designed by Syrian architect Yousef Abdelky. The building complex measures approximately 290 by 420 m (950 by 1,380 ft), covering an area of more than 12 hectares (30 acres), excluding exterior landscaping and vehicle parking. The main axis of the building is rotated about 11° south of true west, aligning it in the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.   read more…

Theme Week East Jerusalem – The Western or Buraq Wall

7 November 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean

Men's and women's prayer area © Daniel Case/cc-by-sa-3.0

Men’s and women’s prayer area © Daniel Case/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Western Wall, Wailing Wall, or Kotel, known in Islam as the Buraq Wall, is an ancient limestone wall in the Old City of East Jerusalem. It is a relatively small segment of a far longer ancient retaining wall, known also in its entirety as the “Western Wall”. The wall was originally erected as part of the expansion of the Second Temple begun by Herod the Great, which resulted in the encasement of the natural, steep hill known to Jews and Christians as the Temple Mount, with the Dome of the Rock/Qubbat As-Sakhrah and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in a large rectangular structure topped by a huge flat platform, thus creating more space for the Temple itself and its auxiliary buildings. For Muslims, it is the site where the Islamic Prophet Muhammad tied his steed, al-Buraq, on his night journey to Jerusalem before ascending to paradise, and constitutes the Western border of al-Haram al-Sharif.   read more…

Theme Week East Jerusalem – The Old City of Jerusalem

12 September 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage, Union for the Mediterranean

Old City of Jerusalem - Temple Mount © Andrew Shiva/cc-by-sa-4.0

Old City of Jerusalem – Temple Mount © Andrew Shiva/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Old City of Jerusalem is a just about 0.9 square kilometers (0.35 sq mi) wide walled area in East Jerusalem and forms the core of the Middle East/Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Until 1860, when the Jewish neighborhood Mishkenot Sha’ananim was established, this area constituted the entire city of Jerusalem and Israeli right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is unintentionally right in pointing out that Jerusalem is indivisible, as to this day the Palestinian old town remains to be a self-contained and undivided entity. The Old City is home to several sites of key religious importance: The Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Christians, the Temple Mount and Western Wall for Jews, and the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque for Muslims. It was added to the UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger in 1982. Although the Mount Zion with the Abbey of the Dormition is located outside the city walls, it is occasionally seen as part of the Old City. In 2011, UNESCO issued a statement reiterating its view that East Jerusalem is “part of the occupied Palestinian territory, and that the status of Jerusalem must be resolved in permanent status negotiations.” The border between East and West Jerusalem, the City Line, which has survived to this day due to the repeatedly annulled Jerusalem Law by the UN, as part of the Green Line, runs between the Old City Wall and the Mamilla Mall in West Jerusalem.   read more…

Arab–Israeli and Israeli-Palestinian conflict

6 January 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Editorial, General, Union for the Mediterranean

© Oncenawhile

© Oncenawhile

(Latest update: 15 May 2021) The Arab–Israeli conflict is the political tension, military conflicts and disputes between a number of Arab countries and Israel. The roots (European colonial period, Ottoman Empire, widespread Antisemitism in Europe, Jews in the Russian Empire, Baron Edmond James de Rothschild (Jewish land purchase in Palestine), Theodor Herzl, Jewish National Fund (Israel Bonds), timeline of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, World War I, Sykes–Picot Agreement (San Remo conference, Mandate for Palestine, UN Charter, Chapter XII – International Trusteeship System, Article 80 (commonly known as the “Palestine Article” used by both conflict parties, Israel and Palestine, to create the wildest interpretations, speculations and conspiracy theories to assert the respective alleged right to the total land area), McMahon–Hussein Correspondence), Balfour Declaration, World War II, The Holocaust (International Holocaust Remembrance Day), Évian Conference, Mandatory Palestine, Forced displacement, and United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine) of the modern Arab–Israeli conflict (or the history of collective failure) are bound in the rise of Zionism and Arab nationalism towards the end of the 19th century. Territory regarded by the Jewish people as their historical homeland is also regarded by the Pan-Arab movement as historically and currently belonging to the Palestinians, and in the Pan-Islamic context, as Muslim lands. The sectarian conflict between Palestinian Jews and Arabs emerged in the early 20th century, peaking into a full-scale civil war in 1947 and transforming into the First Arab–Israeli War in May 1948 following the Israeli Declaration of Independence (Nakba and the assassination of UN mediator Folke Bernadotte by the terror organization Lehi/Stern gang. Among them, the later Israeli PM Yitzhak Shamir). Large-scale hostilities mostly ended with the cease-fire agreements after the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Ramadan War, or October War. Peace agreements were signed between Israel and Egypt in 1979, resulting in Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula and abolishment of the military governance system in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in favor of Israeli Civil Administration and consequent unilateral, internationally not recognized, annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights and East Jerusalem. Even when the text is about 322 pages long, it is just a summary. The multitude of links point out that there is a lot more to learn in detail. At first, it is a timeline of the major developments in the region and it leads to today’s challenges. The starting point is the view of the international community, especially the European Union and North America, on the conflict, enriched with excursions into the ideas, convictions, believes, and thoughts of the direct and indirect involved parties to the conflict.   read more…

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