5 thoughts on “Prestige projects in the Arab world”

  1. Well as FT North Africa correspondent I heard so many witnesses of ordinary Moroccans having to pay a “voluntary” fee of so many Dinars every time they needed an official documents over years. It was recorded in many articles and investigations in the French press. That in no way detracts from the largesse of Saudi Princes, notably the ones mentioned here who used Casablanca and Tangier as their playground for years, indulging in pleasure which in Saudi Arabia might not be available. This munificence of the Saudis would be better spent, in Morocco on schools and helping the poor.

  2. For as long as memory serves me, the Hassan II Mosque was not built, a a commentator alleges, via “the extortion” of moneys from Moroccans, few or large in number. My knowledge, seared into me by unanimous sources during a dozen visits to Morocco, is that the vast majority of the costs for the mosque was provided by Saudi Arabian King Fahd bin Abdalaziz.
    Similarly, and linked, the University at Ifrane, often referred to as Akhawayn (TheTwo Brothers) was also largely built, again from my sources, in the same way, also with most of the funds coming from King Fahd. The brotherly reference was reported to me a few times as imaging a bond and brotherhood between Hassan II and King Fahd, in their wanting to honor the memory of a ship that tragically sank off Morocco’s western coast with Moroccans aboard, with terrible loss of life. My sources indicated that, in testimony to their memory, while Moroccans were led to believe that the costs were shared equally between the two monarchs and their respective constituencies, both gifts were forthcoming from Saudi Arabia, not “extorted” from Moroccans, ordinary or not.
    Again, if my recall, limited as it is, is even approaching accuracy, Saudi Arabian Prince Sultan bin Abdalaziz had a villa and a library either across from or within diagonal view from the Hassan II Mosque, the funds for which he reportedly provided. He also had a villa (palace) in Tangier.
    Further, Asila, the seaside village south of the capital that earlier was primarily a fishing community but was developed also as a magnificent center for the arts and humanities, was funded almost entirely by Saudi Arabian Prince Bandar bin Sultan. He was inspired to do so by HE Muhammad Ben Eissa, for some years Morocco’s Ambassador to the United States, where the two became friends, before Ben Eissa would later become Morocco’s Foreign Minister.
    If any of this is incorrect and someone would please so indicate, it would be very much appreciated.

  3. The Hassan II mosque in Casablanca was built with millions of “donations” which were well and truly extorted from Moroccans over a period of years. Its saving grace is that it was built by Moroccan craftsmen and is a genuine handsome building. The high speed train between Tangiers and Casablanca was “imposed” on King Mohamed V by President Nicolas Sarkozy after Morocco equipped its air force with US rather than French built fighter jets. As for the grand mosque of Algiers, its style bears no resemblance to any of Algeria’s religious history. It is a vanity project which meets with the scorn of most Algerians.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top

Access provided by the Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford