Theme: Andalusia – Yesterday, Today and…
Financial Times: Islam returns to a tolerant Andalucia
Spain’s Muslim population – suppressed and then expelled 500 years ago by Catholic rulers – began to reemerge in the late 1970s as Spaniards converted to Islam. The 50,000 or so converts have been joined by an influx of North African and Pakistani immigrants, swelling Spain’s Muslim population to about 1m.
While growing scrutiny of religious practices and fear of violent extremism have led to a sense of siege among many Muslims in Europe, Spain’s Muslims say they feel broadly comfortable among the country’s overwhelmingly Catholic population. A recent survey among 1500 Muslim immigrants indicated 74 per cent were fairly or very happy in Spain and 83 per cent said they felt free to practice their religion.
Granada is replete with architectural reminders of the coexistence of, and rivalry between, Christianity and Islam in Spain: many of the city’s churches are built on the site of mosques and include Moorish minarets. Within weeks of breaking ground for the Albaicín mosque, the adjacent church of San Nicolas – abandoned for decades – suddenly reopened. Other than the Albaicín mosque, Granada’s mosques are housed in ordinary buildings that have been repurposed.
In such a setting, it is hard to ignore the powerful history of al-Andalus, says Mr Castañeira: “It is very difficult to convince somebody who has seen the Alhambra that Islam is about brutality, about violence,” he says.
Hugh Fitzgerald: The persistent myth of Andalusia
The Myth of Andalusia originates in the Western Romantic movement. And it is also linked with the human need to believe in a Golden Age. In the Western world, this myth has been summed up by Harry Levin in his essay on “The Myth of the Golden Age in the Renaissance.” (The same “myth of the Golden Age” has a Muslim version — the Sunna or behavior of Muhammad, and the kind of life the Prophet and the Companions led, which was perfect in all respects).
And nowadays, in an age which we think of as tough-minded, realistic, skeptical, and so on, the dreamily romantic mythmaking about Islam lives on for geopolitical reasons. It is difficult to face reality and a threat that will not disappear — not through word-conjuring, nor logic-chopping, nor further protesting-too-much that Islam is a “religion of peace and tolerance.” Too much evidence, and more of it every day, suggests the opposite.
Bat Ye’or and Andrew G. Bostom: Andalusian Myth, Eurabian Reality:
Al-Andalus represented the land of jihad par excellence. Every year, sometimes twice a year, raiding expeditions were sent to ravage the Christian Spanish kingdoms to the north, the Basque regions, or France and the Rhone valley, bringing back booty and slaves. Andalusian corsairs attacked and invaded along the Sicilian and Italian coasts, even as far as the Aegean Islands, looting and burning as they went. Thousands of people were deported to slavery in Andalusia, where the caliph kept a militia of tens of thousand of Christian slaves brought from all parts of Christian Europe (the Saqaliba), and a harem filled with captured Christian women. Society was sharply divided along ethnic and religious lines, with the Arab tribes at the top of the hierarchy, followed by the Berbers who were never recognized as equals, despite their Islamization; lower in the scale came the mullawadun converts and, at the very bottom, the dhimmi Christians and Jews.
See also: Andrw Bostom: The Corrosive Hagiography of Muslim Spain
Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld: HAMAS targets Spain
Just as they have indoctrinated a generation of Palestinian children to commit suicide attacks against Israelis, they are now expanding their targets to include the rest of the Caliphate – beginning with Spain. It is only a matter of time, before today’s Palestinian children, and others exposed to HAMAS’ publications start offering themselves up for the next stage of Jihad in Spain.
Boston Globe: Seeking Madrid motives in a cradle of Muslim glory
Counterterrorism investigators and analysts — both US and Spanish — say there may be a much wider backdrop for the attacks on Spain, and for the presence of Al Qaeda cells in Spain….
Gustavo de Aristegui, a member of Parliament and a former director general of the Interior Ministry who is viewed as a leading analyst on militant Islam, said: “These terrorists have a much bigger reason to strike against Spain than the war in Iraq.”
“They have a grander vision, which is an obsession with the demise of Al-Andalus. We hear this in the sermons of the militant Islamic sheiks like Fazazi.
“It is all part of their understanding of the historic humiliation that they feel the West inflicted upon Islam,” added Aristegui, who has had several diplomatic postings in the Arab world.
Cesar Vidal, author of a new book titled “Spain Facing Islam: From Mohammed to bin Laden,” said the yearning for Andalucia, particularly among the Salafi school of Islam, is “very much alive in the mosques.”
From an article in BBC news reporting on the opening of the Great Mosque of Granada in 2003:
For those who built the Great Mosque of Granada, which looks out onto the once highly symbolic Alhambra Palace, its inauguration – attended by a string of Muslim and non-Muslim dignitaries – heralds a new dawn for the faith in Europe.
“The mosque is a symbol of a return to Islam among the Spanish people and among indigenous Europeans that will break with the malicious concept of Islam as a foreign and immigrant religion in Europe,” says Abdel Haqq Salaberria, a spokesman for the mosque and convert to Islam.
“It will act as a focal point for the Islamic revival in Europe.”