Wonderful, Wonderful Cordoba

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The proposed construction of the “Cordoba” mega-mosque near Ground Zero has served as a catalyst for a renewed interest in the history of Cordoba under Islamic rule in Al-Andalus (Spain). Many of those who are opposed to Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf’s presumed “bridge building” initiative, as represented by the project first called Cordoba House and now renamed Park51, have gone back to the history books, or have decided to speak out and address the purport of the designation: “Cordoba.” For instance, Victor Davis Hanson in a recent interview alludes to “the rather silly evocation of Cordoba; in toto, it was not really a utopian medieval city of understanding.” And Lisa Graas shows that “things started out rather bad under Muslim rule…and went downhill over time…The history for us is clear and it is a history that no Catholic would like to see a repeat of in Manhattan.” Cordoba Jews fared better for a time, as Jane Gerber lavishly chronicles in The Jews of Spain, but they too eventually fell victim to persecution. Even the renowned Jewish sage Moses Maimonides was forced to flee the city, escaping to Fez where he lived for years disguised as a Muslim.

And yet all this should have been evident in the weeks and months  after the Twin Towers were destroyed and nearly three thousand people were murdered by so-called “Islamist” terrorists. For it would not take long before Muslim and non-Muslim apologists for the “religion of peace” would hearken back to the ostensibly genial and temperate era of Moorish Spain, a time, we were instructed, when Christians and Jews were welcomed by their Muslim overlords and peacefully integrated into the life of the realm, permitted to worship freely and even received into the learned professions, many as katibs (secretaries) to the Caliph. Such conjurings by journalists and pundits constituted nothing less than an intellectual embarrassment. Mutatis mutandis, these fairy tale votaries resembled an updated version of Danny Kaye and crew singing “Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen,” that “friendly old girl of a town.”

I recall coming across numerous references to the splendors of Cordoba in the wake of the 9/11 tragedy, which were obviously intended to deflect indignation and fury and to distill for a supposedly vulgar multitude the deeper meaning of Islam. For example, in order to strengthen and validate a benign conception of Islam, attention was (and still is) frequently drawn to the intellectual activity of Cordoba, in particular to the translation and transmission of the seminal texts of the classical world that would otherwise have been lost to mankind. What such advocates for the great Islamic contribution to the Western library forgot is that none of this material was original to Islam.

As David Bentley Hart writes in Atheist Delusions, “Islam was the beneficiary of Eastern Christendom.” It was “Syriac-speaking Christians who provided an invaluable caste of scholars and physicians, and through them the achievements of Greek and Roman antiquity passed into Islamic culture.” In fact, not Moorish Spain but medieval Italy was “perhaps a more important port of entry for Greek texts into Western Europe…in the late eleventh century,” when scholars, poets, clerics and doctors fled from the Muslim conquest of Constantinople to Pisa, Venice and Palermo. But resonant specifics are precisely what the glib justifiers of a presumably Islamic monument to human progress, of Cordoba as a shining city on the hill, have labored to suppress.

The point they were (and are) trying to make, of course, is that this particular epoch represents the essence of Islam, a religion which, according to President Obama, advances “the dignity of all human beings,” and which was later hijacked by extremists who perverted the root message of the faith. The destruction of the WTC and the human carnage of the event was, somehow, an aberration, a “man-caused disaster” which had nothing to do with the real Islam. Ground Zero was only a grotesque distortion of the true Islamic inglenook where marchers for peace warm their bunions.

In order to maintain this fantasy, there is no recognition of the fact that the suicide terrorists, as Charles Krauthammer points out in an article titled “Moral Myopia at Ground Zero,” “were the leading, and most successful, edge of a worldwide movement…with cells in every continent, with worldwide financial and theological support, with a massive media and propaganda arm and with an archipelago of local sympathizers.” Those who defend the Cordoba project, dreaming the dream of pastoral reconciliation betokened by what is, at least in part, an Andalusian mirage, facilitate the task of the jihadists.

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  • Tryon

    Note how the invidious Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the mega-mosque's godfather, gives himself away when he says, "If we look at the American Declaration of Independence, we see that it speaks of principles that comply with Islam." Right! The constitution is to comply with the Koran, not the other way around.

  • davarino

    Not as well articulated as the author, but I love it hehehhehe.

  • http://www.apollospaeks.blogtownhall.com ApolloSpeaks


    The cat's out of the bag: Imam Rauf has an ax to grind with the United States for its crimes of killing scores of Moslems before and after 9/11. Rauf sees himself Koranically as God's avenging hand not killing Americans to even the score, this man is no murdrerer, but having a sharia mosque at Ground Zero to pour acid on our sores. I challenge anyone to give me a better explanation for Rauf's heartless pigheaded intransigence in building this mosque.

    Click my name ApolloSpeaks and read my piece: Imam Abdul Rauf and the Religion of Islamic Compassion. This article explains like no other the New Age Left's fascination with Rauf and the source of his mesmeric powers.

    • MsJuJuB

      I agree Apollo. The "community center/recreation center/mosque" willl serve as a banner of conquest under which Sharia and it's adherents will gather and forcefully spread the venom of Islam. Rauf already has a foot in the door with the adoring crowd of Lefties that believe that showing tolerance and appeasement will complete their vision of a unified world of social and economic justice.This acquiesence will afford Rauf a foundation with both political and financial support that will choose to ignore or gloss over the true intent of the Cordoba Initiative Project . Any cause that flies in the face of truth, logic and security will be heralded by the Leftists as being humanitarian and tolerant.

  • watchful

    The Koran, or how to become a psychopath should be burned. Mein Kampf should burn right along with it.

    • korn

      Funny you mention the two:

      " [Mein Kampf is] the new Koran of faith and war: turgid, verbose, shapeless, but pregnant with its message." – Winston Churchill

    • opacid

      There is good reason not to burn those books. The same reason we don't erase amendments to the constitution. 200 years from now our descendants will need to be able to see why something was bad, not just hear about it. Besides, it will be humorous for them when they read them and ask "People actually believed this crap?"

    • Janusz


      Don't agree, Dear Watchful: Mein Kampf is a Love Story compared to the Koran!

  • Seek

    Islam is a large group of men sticking their buns in the air five times a day, praying for the destruction of those whose don't share their odd proclivities. Exactly why we welcome such people into our country and allow them to build a "cultural center" (read: mosque) on hallowed ground suggests decadance and submission on our part.

    Nietzsche famously argued that the definition of a slave is a person who believes nothing is worth risking one's life for. By that definition, we largely have become a nation of slaves.

  • aardvark

    The struggle between Islam and Spain and other Christian nations of the Mediterranean did not end in 1492 with the reconquest of the last Muslim kingdom of Granada. I encourage everyone to read Roger Crowley's incredible Empires of the Sea: The Siege of Malta, the Battle of Lepanto and the Contest for the Center of the World. It is a book that is hard to put down. Ottoman Turkey and the Barbary Corsairs were ravaging the coasts of Spain and Italy and actually carrying off Christians to enslavement in northern Africa. It took a forty year long war to finally put an end to the encroachments in the Mediterranean, though the Turks would continue invading in central Europe until their defeat at the gates of Vienna.

    • traeh

      I looked at the reviews, and it looks top-notch, that book. But is it PC about Islam? Does it paint a moral equivalence between Christianity and Islam? Does it go out of its way to paint the Muslims as noble, civilized, perhaps superior to the Christians?

  • MsJuJuB

    Actually K, Allah, the Babylonian moon god was worshipped around the Kabbah for a few hundred years before Mohammed was born. However, Allah, among others was a favorite god of Mohammeds tribe and was the deity imparting virility, prowness and achievement. After Mohammed crawled out of his meditation cave, he told his family that he had been attacked by a demon, not a god. It was his wife's cousin that labeled this entity as a god, not Mohammed. Also, Mohammed was illiterate and wrote no part of the Koran, Sunah or Haddiths. Islamic history reports that it was 30-50 years after mohammed's death, that the bits of paper that his followers had used to write down Mo' ramblings were used to then begin a "book" of Mo's exploits, not a holy book. The first version of the Koran, and it's two copies were destroyed. The curent Koran is a second version.

  • P.K.

    Maybe a symbol for 21st century America should be the sponge, instead of the eagle. The average American seems to have lost its perspective and vision. We've replaced them with the absorbent innocence of a sponge, soaking whatever fraudulent images we see.

    Our education system has created lazy minds only stimulated to action by crises. The MSM is only giving the people what they want, not what they need. Fulfilling "wants" sells advertising and gives profits, and the goal of the MSM is sensationalism, excitement, newness. Whatever happened in Haiti? Are the fires still happening in Russia? Are there still floods in Pakistan? Who knows? That was last week's news.

    The future success of Sharia to replace a free America is directly related to the success of our mind-emptying MSM and animated movie industry. Remember the loud and violent "movements" of 40 years ago for "campus speech," "people's park," anti-draft. Marches, banners, building takeovers? Contrast that with our current pathetic reaction to the importation of a religion espousing domination, lack of freedom, and violence. Our sense of history is yesterday's TV show or sports event. And our former rock stars who were able to lead masses in promoting "freedom" today sit in their Marin hot tubs.

  • HenryCrux

    Again! Way to ! I'm gratified to see you following my many suggestions – you get it right. – But following the Oil Money that is terrorist connected is by far the most important story as it presages the only way we have under our own laws to destroy the Muslim Stealth Jihad – we can do it retroactively by investigating where the money came from for ALL the standing Mosques in the USA. You will find they were all constructed in part or entirely by Terrorist Money, or from Muslim Governments that can't even feed their own adequately and are religiously hostile to America and teach against everything we stand for – easy to prove this and show the world that every Mosque standing is built in part by American blood and stands as a testimonial to the success of the Religiously inspired Holy Bombings and efforts to instill "Holy Terror" into the lives of American families and schools. If we follow the money we can't lose.

  • Reason_For_Life

    How in the world anyone can consider the "9-11 Mosque" to be a great symbol of Islamic dominance is beyond me.

    There are two craters where the World Trade Center once stood. The fact that the Center will not be rebuilt is a far, far greater symbol of Islamic triumphalism than any ten mosques could ever be.

    I grew up in New York in the 50's and 60's. If that attack had occurred in 1961 instead of 2001 there would have been new buildings put up in less than a year (there was no WTC at the time so think of an attack on the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty). They would have stood twice as high as the originals and been built to withstand anything short of direct hit with a nuke.

    What I saw in the aftermath of 9-11 made me ashamed to be an American. I saw nothing but people parading their pain as proof of their moral worth.I saw bizarre and pathetic arguments that the crater was "sacred" and needed to be kept as a symbol of the tragedy. There were plans for a giant mausoleum to be built and plans for a museum of horrors showing mankind's suffering.

    What was missing were plans for a bigger, better more impressive World Trade Center. The center of the financial world was New York and the center of New York finance was the WTC. It was the reason that the Islamist fanatics chose it as the target. Yet, nine years later there are no buildings to replace it. New York has surrendered its financial center to a gang of wretched, cave dwelling religious lunatics.

    Instead of showing defiance to the world and rebuilding the Trade Center, New York will simply whine about a mosque being built by a couple of wealthy creeps clearly intended as an insult to America. Well, in allowing that hole to remain where it is America richly deserves that insult. We earned it.

    • donvan

      Correct. 100%. the notion that we as Amricans are so self absorbed in our 'pain' that we cannot respond with anything but a whimper. The WTC is the most successful attact perhaps in military history, given the cost/benefit to the Muhammedians vs the damage and penetration of the American political class. Mu'slams.

  • Reason_For_Life

    Nor is anyone talking about the "Conversos", Jews who were forced to either convert or be executed. After they converted they were still persecuted on "suspicion" of observing Jewish holidays. Their property was seized and they were forced into exile.

    But then, that was done by Catholics, whose reign of terror in Spain was harder for Jews than the previous Muslim reign.

    Muslim Spain was no cakewalk, but neither was its Christian successor.

    Religious bigotry has been the norm for thousands of years. Modern America is the great exception to that rule.

    • tagalog

      No one denies that Jews had a bad time of it under Christian rule, but they also had a hard time of it under Islam. And there IS one saving grace to Chrisitianity's oppression: there hasn't been much of it in the past 300 or 400 years, something that can't be said for persecution under and because of Muslim anti-semitism.

      • Reason_For_Life

        Yes, but that was not because of Christian principles. It was because the Enlightenment brought reason to Western Civilization.

        Prior to the Enlightenment European Christianity was indistinguishable from the Taliban. Jews were murdered en mass for imaginary crimes like using Christian blood to make matzohs or "host desecration". Women were tortured and killed for making "pacts with the devil".

        Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake for heresy by Catholics. Not to be outdone, Calvin had Servetus burned at the stake. Luther must have had a wood shortage, the best he muster was torture, imprisonment and a few hangings. Most German antisemitism can be traced to Luther.

        The last 300 years have seen the de-fanging of Christianity which allowed the flourishing of science, technology and individual liberty.

        Modern Christianity is not different than Medieval Christianity because of recent discoveries of the true meaning of biblical texts. The texts still call for the death of witches, homosexuals and heretics. The law, based on reason, no longer permits murder in the name of religion.

  • MMS

    Your comment about Flight 93's memorial is a surprise. You approve of it? Have you read all of this controversy and evidence that it is also a mosque of triumph: http://www.crescentofbetrayal.com/. It makes you think a bit more about the meaning of the Ground Zero mosque.

  • http://www.scaramouchee.blogspot.com Scaramouche

    Wonderful, wonderful Old Cordoba
    Friendly al-Andalus town.
    Fair and tolerant.
    It's no accident.
    Let us grin as they spin us around.
    Yes, wonderful, wonderful Old Cordoba.
    Interfaith harmony ruled.
    Muslims and the rest
    Passed the friendship test
    Singing Old Cordoba,
    Wonderful, wonderful,
    Old Cordoba's the best!

    • Reason_For_Life

      Somewhere, Danny Kaye is laughing.

      Nice set of lyrics!

  • islandian

    " In fact, not Moorish Spain but medieval Italy was “perhaps a more important port of entry for Greek texts into Western Europe…in the late eleventh century,” when scholars, poets, clerics and doctors fled from the Muslim conquest of Constantinople to Pisa, Venice and Palermo."

    The author has the centuries shifted a bit. The fall of Constantinople was in 1453, i.e. the 15th century. Ironically enough, one of the major sources of documents and scholars during the medieval period was due to the sack of Constantinople by the (Venetian-financed) Fourth Crusade in 1204. After the battle of Manzikert in 1071, the Byzantines rapidly lost modern Turkey, and Constantinople was essentially an island under siege. Its grudging outreach to the West for assistance opened up trading cartels with Venice and Genoa; scholarly interaction increased at this time.

  • Jim Johnson

    Did we decide to set up a monument to American nuclear scientists at Hiroshima ?

  • Henry Crux

    Any good Muslim would agree with this statment: "The only good Muslim is a dead Muslim." But, if they get to heaven having committed HOLY murder on behalf of Allah, or aided such attempts, or made an honest effort in that direction, THEN they are made good. So, all Muslims are looking to do a deed before they get too old, to wash away all those sins, and get a good place in their Sex Heaven – be careful, don't take these word I'm writing lightly!

  • guess

    by no way these people of the mosque have nothing to with the muslim in cordoba or toledo, they play with people ignorance
    we really have to be scare of people who follow squizofrenic ideals and so called word of god, and under that blanket goes everything that takes us back to the dark ages

  • HenryCrux

    Guess (who) (a musbot) you are totally wrong – we are not saying they have anything to do with that city of slavery and Dhimmies – we are saying that the money that will build the 9-11 mosque of Victory over American's defeat is coming from terrorist organizations or Organizations and governments connected to these Muslim Terrorists. – that is what you must address, not ancient history – try again

  • HenryCrux

    donvan – we Catholics saved the world from these monsters many times at great cost while the rich and powerful were always willing to cave into the idiotic notion that you could trust anyone who believes every word in their Bible, The Koran, is true, and not full of murder and slavery and plunder and lies. Watch how we do it again.

  • Elpi Nipni

    It is Islam's way. First the beat you the they rape you. They did it everywhere they arrived and the first case was the Temple Mount in Jerusalem then kordoba, Spain and then Constantinopol of the Byzantine empire. Everywhere they arrive death abd misery follows. Learn about these Hyena.

  • shutdownwikileaks

    Hey keep this one simple. Outsource to the ricans to blow this up, blame it on al-Qaeda, and keep the Moslem-on-Moslem murders predominate.

  • Henry Crux

    Everyone who is a Muslim fearer! PLease keep in mind that we Catholics have been brought up in an atmosphere thick with the stories of Muslim insanity and murder. We Catholics saved the world from these monsters many times at great cost while the rich and powerful at the time were always willing to cave into the idiotic notion that you could trust anyone who believes every word in their Bible, The Koran, is true, and not full of murder and slavery and plunder and lies. Watch how we do it again. You can help us – please stop using the word "Crusader" as if it were not a wonderful and holy word used to define a perfect and saintly person who gave his or her all to save the world (mostly) from Muslims. Please tell your children the truth about us Catholics – we love ANYONE who hates murder – just like us a little and we will make the Koran appear to eveyones eyes a what it is: A bible of Murder and RAPE and Hate! The only one in the world!

  • tagalog

    You weren't alone in thinking about the martyrs of Cordoba. I just couldn't remember the time or the names of the people (was the dissident monk Isaac one of them?) who were so outspoken about Islam and its "charms." Weren't they persecuted under the supposedly enlightened al-Rahman?

    Libs would probably say "well, they were outspoken against Islam under Islamic rule; they were asking for it." But that raises an interesting question about libs and Chrisitianity in the present in America.

  • HenryCrux

    Reason for Life – you call yourself – and say, ' not because of Christian principles. It was because the Enlightenment brought reason to Western Civilization. " But see, you are wrong as can be – Christians cannot equal the amount of people murdered by purely secular governments – Russia, China, USSR, and American with her love of abortion murder – Hitler – millions and millions of more people murdered in cold blood – far more than religious fanatics by a factor of 100, 000 – do the math!

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