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In the late 1990s, amidst rising poverty and with four million residents on the verge of famine, the former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein decided to spend hundreds of million dollars on three grandiose projects in a bid to bolster his Islamic credentials and preserve his tyrannical legacy. Only one was completed.

The Umm al-Ma'arik mosque —Umm al-Ma'arik meaning "Mother of All Battles"— was designed to commemorate the First Gulf War of 1991-92, and at the same time, serve as a personal tribute to Saddam himself. The huge blue-and-white mosque, completed in April 2001, just in time for the ten-year anniversary of the Gulf War, is full of subtle and some not-so-subtle references to the war and Saddam.

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The unfinished Al-Rahman mosque in Baghdad. Photo credit: www.skyscrapercity.com

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© Amusing Planet, 2016.





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