Jan 01 2011
Spain is trying to fix things. Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero has been working with the Saudis on the Alliance of Civilizations, some of which is based on the Iranian sponsorship of the Iranian Dialogue of Civilizations.
Mansur Escudero, a Spanish Muslim convert is leading a movement that is pushing for the right of Muslims to pray at the Cordoba Mosque Cathedral. Some Muslims were arrested when trying to pray in the Mosque. The fair Spanish judge said. “It doesn’t act to demerit or discredit the Catholic religion, but rather in favour of joint use.””.
One of the results of a week-long meeting was to forge “Muslims and European Values,” jointly sponsored by various Christian and Muslim groups like the Brussels based European Council of Moroccan Ulemas and the Barcelona based Union of Islamic Cultural Centres.
In the 16th and 17th Centuries Morinoes were Jewish coverts who hid their faith and pretended to be Christians whilst the Moriscoes were Muslims who tried to save their lives by acting like Christians. It is a historical fact that some Moriscos and many Arabs escaped to the New World with Columbus. The Milinguins were Moriscos, and Abraham Lincoln’s mother was a Milinguen. The Panzone brothers were Syrian Arabs who captained two of the ships of Columbus. The Spanish Inquisition targeted both the Moriscos and the Morinos. The Moriscos were under threat of exile in 1502 and ultimately expelled from Spain by King Philip III in 1609. Muslim leaders have begun seeking reconciliation and are attempting to bury the past. They have asked Spain for token restitution and righting the wrong by allowing Spanish citizenship to the Muslim descendants of the Moriscos as an “apology and acknowledgement of mistakes”.
Muslim Spain was the heart of tolerance and inter-faith acceptance from 711 to 1492. For five centuries this was lost in the aftermath of the Muslim holocaust in Spain. Today the seeds of that tolerance are once again germinating and the dividends are beyond imagination. Spain is turning out to be cone of the most tolerant countries with respect to Europe. During the 15th century’s Spanish Inquisition Muslims and Jews were all expelled from Spain. The Spaniards are now taking great pains to make amends. This augurs well for the Christian-Muslim relations in general and Spanish-Muslim relations in particular. Using Saudi money, the current Socialists Government of Spain is rebuilding “It doesn’t act to demerit or discredit the Catholic religion, but rather in favour of joint use.”
Noureddine Ziani, a Moroccan Imam has been assisting the Muslims and the Spaniard come together–putting forth the age old Andalusian notion of tolerance which accepted Islamic values as European values. Dr. Bulliet of Princeton in a seminal book had developed the notion of the Judeao-Christian Civilization and Ziani seems to be pushing for the more correct “Islamo-Christian” Civilization.
Recently Muslims were arrested while attempting to pray in the Córdoba Cathederal which used to be a mosque. A Spanish judge recently ruled that the request to pray was not a hostile act. The Muslims simply want to be granted permission to pray in the Cathedral.
Spain had banned Mosques, and bulldozed all of them. Now it is making amends in strides and allowing the Muslims to rebuild their places of worship. Such magnanimity is contagious and has won the hearts and minds of Muslims in Spain the world over.
Muslims of the city of Barcelona, (home of Gaudy and known to many as the European heartland of anti-clerical postmodernism”) are building a mosque with a capacity for thousands of Muslim worshipers–”common values between Islam and Europe”.
Saudi Arabia is helping the Spaniards build the “great mosques” in the Spanish cities of Marbella, Malaga and Fuengirola.
Building on the theme of Interfaith toleration the Muslims are working with the local Christians to help them understand the trauma of the Spanish Inquisition. “We were expelled [from Spain] as Moriscos in 1609, really not that long ago. … The echo of Al-Andalus still resonates in all the valley of the Ebro [ie Spain]. We are back to stay, Insha’Allah [if Allah wills it].”
The Basque city of Bilbao is coming together to build a 650 square meter $725,000 mosque.
The 130,000 square feet Barcelona mosque would be that city’s and the Islamic Cultural Centre in Madrid is one of the biggest mosques in Europe.
Another mosque in a small town of Lldieda funded by the King of Morocco King Mohammad VI faces no opposition from the locals, and its 29000 Muslims make up 20% of the population live in harmony with the other Spaniards.
Zaragoza is the fifth-largest city in Spain. The 22,000-strong Islamic community is in the process of building a bigger mosque more commensurate with its needs.