The Other

On Friday, March 15, 2019, I understood my otherness in Morocco most clearly.

This is the day we visited the most amazing structure in Morocco, the Hassan II Mosque. This is also the day that a gunman killed fifty worshippers at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand. On a day when all of the faithful of Islam were grieving and wondering how such madness can exist in the world, I, a white American woman, and not a muslim, was welcomed into one of the most holy places on Earth. I was fully, wholeheartedly welcomed into the peace and beauty of a mosque that was built by all the people of Morocco.

Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca

Morocco is 99% muslim. They all contributed to the building of the mosque. They all have ownership. And, I, the other, someone who stands out as obviously different, walked among them in peace, feeling only the deep spirituality of the place, and seeing beauty in every nook and cranny of it. It was solemn on a level I cannot fully communicate. Everyone I met in Morocco on this very day was kind, welcoming, and full of care for their fellow humans. No matter that I was an American. No matter that my whiteness, my “otherness,” was so obvious.

Think about that. I did.

Detail outside the mosque, finding beauty in the imperfection of every intricate pattern