|The Great Mosque of Cordoba is an architectural|
marvel that will leave you speechless
Between 929 and 1031, the Caliphate of Cordoba that existed on the Iberian Peninsula was the wonder of the world. It was extremely successful economically. The sciences and the arts flourished. People of all religions were welcome to contribute in any way they could. In terms of culture and civilization, the Caliphate of Cordoba was miles ahead any other place in Europe. (Who do you think brought us the toothpaste and the deodorant?) Ancient Greek texts that had been lost for the Western Civilization were translated by the Arabic and Jewish scholars who worked together in a happy collaboration.
Then, of course, it all ended. The Caliphate was sacked and destroyed. One of its greatest architectural achievements, the beautiful palace of Madinat al-Zahra, was turned to rubble by invading hordes. This gem of a palace that left ecstatic everybody who saw it was of no value to the barbarians who came to destroy the happy, progressive, tolerant Caliphate of Cordoba.
|The ruins of|
I'm sure that by now you are really eager to know who invaded the Caliphate of Cordoba and destroyed Madinat al-Zahra. This was done by North African Berbers who represented a different, extremely fanatical trend in Islam. The Berbers were recent converts to Islam and, as we know, a Johnny-come-lately always tried to prove his credentials by being the most fanatical representative of the group he was late to join. The Berbers were unhappy we the progressive values and tolerant lifestyles of the Cordobans. They believed that their own, fanatical version of Islam was the true one. Since at that point they were not really ready to create anything of their own (at least, not anything that would match the achievements of the Caliphate), they decided to leave their mark through violence, looting, and destruction.
You might be wondering why I decided to share with you this little review of the history of the Muslim Spain. The reason is that the struggle between the progressive and the barbaric trends in Islam continues today:
An imam of an east London mosque has been subject to death threats and intimidation for expressing his views on evolution and women's right to refuse the veil. Dr Usama Hasan, vice-chairman at Leyton mosque and a senior lecturer in engineering at Middlesex University, ceased delivering Friday prayers after 25 years of service when 50 Muslim protesters disrupted his lecture by handing out leaflets against him and shouting in the mosque for his execution. A statement from the secretary of the mosque, Mohammad Sethi, that was leaked to extremist websites, said Hasan had been suspended after his lecture resulted in "considerable antagonism" from the community and for his "belief that Muslim women are allowed to uncover their hair in public".I just hope that this time Madinat al-Zahra does not get destroyed and the fanatics finally lose their power.