Fresh off a reading of James A. Micherner’s account of his 30 years of travels throughout Spain – “Iberia: Spanish Travels and Reflections” – I am keenly aware of the cnntributions and influence of the Moors on that country.
The Cordoba House, the Muslim mosque and cultural center planned for New York City, is named for a mosque in Cordoba, Spain.
The right-wing propaganda about the mosque in Spain is, according to medieval scholar Carl Pyrdum, “an egregious and purposeful misreading of medieval history.”
Newt Gingrich told an audience at the American Enterprise Institute on 29 July that Islam radicals are infiltrating America’s legal system. Furthermore, he declared the proposed center to be "an act of triumphalism," because "Cordoba is the city in Spain where a conquering Muslim army built a mosque on top of a church.”
Fire ‘em up, Newt.
According to Pyrdum, Gingrich – and other conservatives who have taken up this mantra - are ignoring "300 years of Christian and Muslim history" in Spain. Rather than "symbolizing their victory, the (Cordoba) Mosque was held up by Muslim historians as a symbol of peaceful coexistence with the Christians." As a trustworthy source, Michener’s writing bears this out.
So, who are the lemmings on the right listening to? Two scholars of Spanish history or Newt Gingrich?
A couple of days ago I posted “Hate wave sweeps America.” It is certainly sweeping the comment zones of various news sites and blogs.
It chaps me when someone who doesn’t know sh*t from Shinola about Spanish history will come on a news site and opine:
“This is NOT just a Muslim community center. In islamic eyes, it is a monument to victory over a conquered land. Just like the original Cordoba mosque was built ON a christian church in CONQUERED Spain. Face it folks, the Koran is FUNDAMENTALLY incompatible with the US Constitution.”
So, what it comes down to: does America listen to the trickle-down Islamophobic talking points of people like Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin and the Rev. Pat Robertson, or do we listen to the man in the New York City mayor’s office, who might just know a little more about the proposed center than any of them:
"Whatever you may think of the proposed mosque and community center, lost in the heat of the debate has been a basic question - should government attempt to deny private citizens the right to build a house of worship on private property based on their particular religion?
"That may happen in other countries, but we should never allow it to happen here. This nation was founded on the principle that the government must never choose between religions, or favor one over another. There is no neighborhood in this city that is off-limits to God's love and mercy."
UPDATE: "Obama to support ground zero mosque," cnn.com, 14 August 2010: LINK