...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

February 19, 2006

The Re-Re-Reconquista

Is this the latest step in Islam's campaign to gradually retake Europe?

The Spanish Islamic council has asked prime minister Rodriguez Zapatero to promote the conversion of Cordoba cathedral, which was previously a mosque, into an ecumenical temple. The council said that the gesture 'would help with the foundation of the Alliance of Civilizations,' and denounced 'a continued campaign of Islamophobia in some media outlets.' Mansur Escudero, president of the council, thanked Zapatero for his 'brave support for alliance and understanding between civilizations, which should not leave out in any way the different religions.' He said that the conversion of St. Sophia's Basilica in Istanbul and Cordoba cathedral to ecumenical temples would 'allow Christians, Muslims, and believers in other religions to pray together to the same God and strengthen spiritual and brotherly links,' and added, 'We are convinced that the Catholic Church, which works for ecumenicalism and dialogue between Christianity and Islam, will receive this initiative favorably.'
Convinced? As far as I know, Cordoba Cathedral, also known as la Mezquita, is still in operation as a Catholic Church. I'm not so sure the Pope would want to turn it into some sort of generic spriritual feel-good center.

Before you go saying "well, the Mezquita was originally a mosque," check this out:

First, the Romans built a pagan temple on the site. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the new Germanic masters of Spain (the Visigoths) replaced it with the Christian church of Saint Vincent. When the Arabs conquered the peninsula in the early 8th century, they tore down the church and began building their great mosque, which - commensurate with Cordoba's importance as the centre of Muslim power in Spain - became the largest mosque in all of Islam after that of Caaba, in Arabia.

When the Christians re-conquered Cordoba in 1236, they did with the mosque what they did in all of the cities of Andalucia - instead of bothering to build a new church, they simply 'converted' the building to Christianity and set up an altar in the middle. In the 16th century, this modest gothic insert was enlarged and given its current Renaissance - and later, baroque - styles, resulting in the strange hybrid which we now see . . .

So perhaps the Italians have the primary right to the Mezquita, since it was originally a Roman temple.

As an aside, the story of the Bells of Santiago is interesting:

[I]n spite of lengthy peaceful interludes and economically-motivated episodes of laissez-faire, there was generally, in the 800-year long war between Spain's Christians and Muslims, an uninhibited desire to cause as much harm and humiliation to one's adversary as possible. This explains many of the apparently irrational acts which took place - perfectly illustrated by the story of how the huge bells of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela were dragged 500 miles south to Cordoba and then all the way back again.

At the height of Muslim power, during the Omega Caliphate at the end of the 10th century, the fearsome warlord Al-Mansur led a bloody raid through northern Spain, going as far into Christian territory as Santiago de Compostela. On the loose in the great pilgrims' city, the Moor had the audacity of riding his horse into the cathedral and letting it drink from the font of holy water, outraging the Christian townsfolk; then, even more insultingly, he had the church's bells carried 500 miles south to Cordoba, where they were melted down to make lamps to illuminate the Great Mosque.

When, two and a half centuries later, in 1236, the Castillian King Ferdinand the Third ('The Saint') reconquered Cordoba, his first action, to avenge the humiliation caused by Al-Mansur, was to have the lamps carried back to the shrine of Saint James, where they were melted down to make a new set of bells.

Yes, this has been a long war.

Posted by annika, Feb. 19, 2006 | TrackBack (1)
Rubric: History


Hmm if the Spanish Islamic Council, (who always preach brotherhood with other religions if we just do what they want), is willing to give back all the mosques in the middle east that used to be Christian churches or Jewish temples first we may be able to take them seriously. As for now they are all a bunch of hipocrits.

Posted by: jeff on Feb. 19, 2006

Yes, it has been a long war. Unfortunately, too many don't realize that it is still going on...and many, many more don't know it ever started. If the West loses this war it will be because we have forgotten our history and our way.

Posted by: Blu on Feb. 19, 2006

I don't think the West forgot its history. Instead, I think most of the West just self-loathes their past and heritage now.

As Jean-Francois Revel wrote, "Clearly, a civilization that feels guilty for everything it is and does will lack the energy and conviction to defend itself."

Posted by: reagan80 on Feb. 19, 2006

Great Revel quote. I was reminded of it when reading Annika's post. Funny that you used it. First time I saw it was in a Michael Barone essay in which he makes a similar point as you.

Posted by: Blu on Feb. 20, 2006

Actually, Blu, I directly ripped that quote off from a Mark Steyn column.

Posted by: reagan80 on Feb. 20, 2006

Good choice. Steyn writes some brilliant stuff. He recently wrote an essay on the dangers of "sensitivity" that was pretty spot on. I should check out his site more often.

Posted by: Blu on Feb. 20, 2006

A friend of mine had a comment about the Cordoba proposal that I think sums it up:

Sure -- just as soon as the Liturgy is celebrated at the Hagia Sophia again.


Posted by: Zach Frey on Feb. 20, 2006

It's wonderful to see you have posted this.

The problem, as ever, are that the mass media are not regarding this as a real menace for the people, as a lot of them are just bought. We, in the blogosphere, are managing to alert about it. But it's disgusting and very discouraging to see that the people who can do something are just dancing with the enemies.

Thanks from Spain.

Posted by: Spanish Eowyn on Feb. 20, 2006

WOW, International Annika!

Heh for you amature plagarists, a bit of Kipling, although in the spirit of things, I SHOULD claim it as my own:

When Homer smote his bloomin' lyre,
He'd heard men sing by land and sea,
And what he thought he might require
He went and took -- the same as me.

The market girls and fishermen,
The shepherds and the sailors too,
They heard old songs turn up again,
But kept it quiet -- same as you.

He knew they knowed, they knowed he knew;
but did not sqwak, nor make a fuss,
But winked at Homer down the road,
And he winked back -- the same as us.

Posted by: Casca on Feb. 20, 2006