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University of Minnesota (2004)

The Mosque : Community and identity in late 20th-century Morocco and Spain

Roberson, Jennifer Anne.

Titre : The Mosque : Community and identity in late 20th-century Morocco and Spain

Auteur : Roberson, Jennifer Anne.

Université de soutenance  : University of Minnesota

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2004

As early as the first Muslim dynasties, rulers commissioned mosques to establish their authority and create a visual manifestation of Islam. The mosque also became an integral aspect of the community’s identity, serving as its physical and spiritual center. During the late 20th century, with the demise of colonial empires and the subsequent movement of Muslims to countries outside the traditional Islamic world, the mosque became an important emblem of Muslim identity. Through mosque architecture, patrons addressed notions of tradition and modernity, and sought to create Muslim spaces relevant on local, national, and international levels.

This dissertation investigates contemporary mosque architecture in Morocco and Spain, examining how the Islamic communities articulated identities through mosques. Historically, Spain and Morocco were united by ruling dynasties and shared many monuments. In both countries, these buildings served as sources of inspiration for new mosques. However, the way history was interpreted and the identities that were emphasized differed greatly due to the particular situation of the various Muslim communities.

The chapters develop the specific concerns for mosque patrons in each country. In Morocco, King Hassan II (r. 1961–99) established an architectural program that emphasized traditional Moroccan decoration. His program, which was widely adopted throughout Morocco, emphasized Morocco’s independence and Muslim past. Although his goal was to establish a visual identity for independent Morocco, his program was deeply rooted in notions of authenticity established during the Protectorate era (1912–56).

The Muslim community in Spain, made up of Spanish converts, diplomats, students, and professionals, approached mosque architecture in various ways. Even though the community was diverse, Spain’s Islamic past still served as an important element in mosque design. Because of the resistance that many Muslims experienced in Spain, they tended to emphasize a history focused on the religious tolerance of Spain’s Islamic period and chose forms that illustrated that Islam was not foreign but an integral element of Spanish identity.

By examining contemporary mosques in each country, this dissertation shows how recent history shaped the way Muslim communities viewed the past and to what extent it was relevant to Muslim identity in the late 20th century.

Présentation (ProQuest)

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