Skip to comments.Was the Islam of Old Spain Truly Tolerant? (The Religion of Peace™ and its idea of inclusiveness)
Posted on 09/27/2003 1:05:33 PM PDT by quidnunc
click here to read article
Fat corpora's women [have to turn] a glass house
And the Arabs have it made
All their women in veils, eyes glazed
Second Dark Age. Death of the USA.
Return of the family.
And the commune crapheads sit and whine
While the commons near my birthplace is now a police college
It's a second dark age.
Mark E. Smith, 1980
It is immaterial what is in the Bible or the Koran except as they are viewed as calls to action by the faithful who consider them to be the word of God.
Outside of a few very few cranks, there are no Christians who consider Holy Writ to be a justification for the forcible conquest of other faiths, with death being the penalty for resistance or apostasy.
There are many millions of Muslims who so believe, and are willing to put their beliefs into action.
Proving that the Spanish Inquisition was nothing more sinister than a Friar's Club celebrity roast; a bunch of merry japsters larking about; a sort of a prototypical hotfoot that got out of hand, I suppose?
No. Proving that religious intolerance was not a uniquely Spanish trait before the Age of Enlightment and proving that the First Amendment was adopted, not to protect against the Spanish Inquisition setting up shop in Philadelphia, but as a safeguard against English Protestantism's own history of excesses in rooting out "heresy" by use of state power.
There is no way that you can make Islam into something warm. fuzzy and non-threatening by establishing that at ceretain times and in certain places it was somewhat less barbaric than other contemporary religions.
What matters is what Islam is today vis a vis Western Civilization, and it is inescapable that it is a dark, sinister, primative thing, antithetical to our concepts of freedom and human dignity.
Any attempt to prove otherwise is akin to putting lipstick on a pig.
no. they just needed somoene to get rid of the barbarians that took over.
The Islamic invaders of 711 A.D. simply replaced one military ruling class for the other.
The difference was that the Visigoths were already somewhat integrated into Western Civilization while the Moors imposed an Eastern culture and religion by force of arms.
In Islamic Spain, the Hispano-Roman population settled in for 700 years of second-class citizenship. In the unconquered northern Spanish Christian kingdoms, the Visogothic barbarians were simply assimilated into the much larger Hispano-Roman civilization and, like the Normans in Britain, they became extinct as a separate population.
I posted this article because Moorish Spain is held out by Muslim apologists as some sort of beau ideal and conclusive evidence that Islam is not a threat to the West.
This myth needs to be dispelled.
The fact that Muslims sometimes subject 'infidels' to dhimmitude rather than simply killing them does not make it a benign thing.
All of the evidence currently in front of us suggests that the answer to this question is "no". The western world appears to be committing suicide. The elites in the west have embraced a philosophy which is, in the long run, incompatible with the continued existence of our civilization.
right. one less barbarian than the other.
But more militarily ruthless than the other and, unlike the Visigoths, almost totally destructive of Spain's civilization of the previous 900 years.
The Visigoths of 711 A.D. were not Grandpa's Visigoths that had conquered Roman Spain. By 711 A.D., the descendants of those Visigoths had become complacent, weak and degenerate. It was only a matter of time before they were going to be absorbed into oblivion by Spain's Hispano-Roman population as they indeed soon afterwards were in the northern Spanish Christian Kigndoms.
Today's America, not unlike the case of the late Roman Empire, is not Grandpa's World War II America. An ever growing percentage of our population is becoming weak and degenerate. It is not inconceivable that, in a few generations when most of America thinks like Sheryl Crowe, America may fall to a more backward society that is not anaphylactically allergic to the art of war.
The future conquerors of America may be more than one and one may be more "cultured" than the other. However, that would not erase the civilization that was America in it's prime and it would not precluded a new American generation, steeled with resolve by adversity, from taking America back and restoring America's original culture.
Such was the case in Spain.
Your desire to have the Muslims invent civilization in Hispania because they may have been slightly higher up in the barbarian scale than the Visigoths were in 711 A.D. would be like claiming that the Mexican chapter of the Crips "brought civilization" to America in the year 2073 after the Mexican Crips had militarily overthrown the Islamic Republic of America that had been established by Middle Eastern Islamist clerics after America's defeat during President Chelsea Clinton's Administration.
He (Maimonades) and his family lived there during the supposed "Golden Age." Saying they "left" is cute. Why do you think they "left"? Actually his family was in hiding for ten or so years in Spain (Gee. Why were they hiding?) Then they escaped to Morocco where they continued to face persecution so the "left" there too. They did get to Egypt (via Palestine) as you suggest. There Maimonades was put on trial for his life for heresy and somehow escaped conviction, for which we are supposed to be grateful. I suggest to you contrast the treatment Maimonades received from the Muslims with the treatment Rashi (another great Jewish scholar) received from the Christians in France where he lived at about the same time. (Rashi made wine.)
Sad, but true.
I would question if someone is truly educated, if so totally ignorant about such a major historical event.
The result is trying to discuss Islam with them is like discussing transcendential functions with second graders...
The last two years have been very enlightening for me.
In re the Inquisition: it worked both ways. Many a 'heretic' was burned in Calvin's Geneva and other Protestant strongholds. That was the game as it was played in that league at that time. No use comparing it to an interfaith picnic in Peoria.
Interesting theological character: Michael Servetus. Condemned by the Pope and the Inquisition in Rome, he fled to Geneva, where Calvin burned him at the stake.
Constantinople, now called Istanbul.
We can associate islam with the Inquisition ---- only Spain had that kind of Inquisition and only after it managed to cut lose of 700 years of Islamic domination and suppression. Once they reverted back to Christianity, the Inquisition quickly died out. Also the Inquisition was what the Spaniards learned after many centuries of living under islamics--- they had to fight fire with fire --- they had to learn the barbaric islamic ways in order to defeat it.
A Pleasant Fairy Tale -- The Rediscovery and Redesign of Muslim Spain
I wish you all could read German. The article by Siegfried Kohlhammer, a German scholar of Islam, makes the NY Times article appear like very small beer.
A few choice morsels (in my translation):
"The rediscovery of the culture of Muslim Spain, and recognition of its meaning for European culture, as well as its idealization as a Golden Age of Tolerance, took place in the western World - in the 18th and 19th centuries."
"In the 18th century Europeans began to believe in Islamic tolerance and superior humanity, in the 19th century the Muslims followed suit, and in the 20th century the Islamic scholars finally joined them."
It's too bad that the article is so long, otherwise I'd love to translate it for FreeRepublic.
The early Christians were primarily part of Judiasm, and later came from the Roman Empire. There was also a strong ethos of pacifism that is associated with the early church. I haven't heard of much violence in the early church so what are you referring to?
After Constantine made Christianity the Official State Religion, Christians were no longer fed to the lions in the Coliseum. Pagans took their place, their temples were destroyed, vandalized, or converted to Christian Churches.
Other examples can be found in the spread of Christianity by the early missionaries. When the kings of the Scandinavian countries converted to Christianity, it wasnt because they saw the light in a religious manner, but because of the benefits of trade with central and southern Europe. Any of their subjects that continued their pagan ways were converted by the sword.
Look at the pogroms and witch hunts. Look at the wars between Catholics, Protestants and other heretics.
I am not criticizing Christianity, but being honest about its roots.
If we "remove religion" from our understanding of this conflict, will that matter to the other who has declared war on us and shall NOT "remove religion" from HIS understanding of this conflict?
Once again, one of the radical Islamic groups primary selling points for recruitment is the idea propagated by them and reinforced by some Christians that the Christians are waging a New Crusade against Islam. They have only to link to some of the Free Republic posts to convince potential members that the Crusade is a fact.
Remove that incentive to recruitment.
Should the priority be to advance Christianity by the elimination of competition, of the protection of We, the People?
I've suspected that his conversion may have been a shrewd ploy to tap into a movement that the State had no control over, and once the new and vigorous religion was adapted, all the temples to Jupiter and Hera and the other gods were reconfigured as Christian churches -- but I STRONGLY suspect that the "hierarchy" of priests DID NOT CHANGE!!
In this way, I think the "state-sponsored" Christian churches were corrupted from the beginning -- and much of the original virtues of the Christian church lost in the process...
Was Galileo Jewish? Did he live in "Moorish Spain" or even Spain? Your orignal post advanced the myth of the "Golden Age" in Spain under Islamic rule. When someone advances the notion that things were great for the Jews during the Spanish Inquisition maybe I'll take that on too.
And I don't really know about the caliph. He didn't live in Islamic Spain either. Maybe he got a job from the caliph for the same reason anyone gives someone else a job: maybe the caliph needed his services.
No matter what we do, they will hate us.
No matter what we say and/or actually believe, they will still play the Crusade Card.
Yes, there will always be the hatred, just as many of any religion hate those of another religion.
They will always play the Crusade card, just as many Christians will play the Jihad card.
It would however, lessen the intensity if we were to move it from the religious to the secular arena. Religious wars have traditionally been far bloodier than purely secular wars, but it is also far easier to recruit people and money in the name of religion. Any little bit would help. Wouldnt it be worth trying?
The story of the Reconquista is pretty well known by those who trouble to study medieval history for themselves. It's not known in our public schools, because it's politically incorrect.
If you want a good summary of the events, you might look at the opening chapter of Warren H. Carroll, "Isabel of Spain: The Catholic Queen," Christendom Press, 1991. Some of the major events in the Reconquista are familiar in Spanish literature, notably the tales of Pelayo, Alfonso el Sabio, and El Cid Campeador.
Maimonades had studied medicine. The caliph probably needed a doctor. He certainly wasn't interested in the Talmud.
As for why his family headed for Fez, I think you have to remember that there was less than perfect information a thousand years ago. There probably was no commerce between Spain and those countries in Europe not overrun by Islamic Swine. I'm not sure there was any place to go from Spain except Morocco. I don't think that they really thought the political climate would be better there than in Spain, but rather that they would be unknown there and might be left alone. When that didn't work they made their way to Egypt where things were relatively better for the dhimmis.
How about Christian Asia Minor (Byzantine Empire), the Levantine states, North Africa (home of St augustine), Armenia etc. etc.??....rogator
Constantinople, now called Istanbul....WaterDragon
As I noted in my prior posts, "Visigothic Spain" was a blend of the much larger Hispano-Roman civilization (that had grown militarily soft over the course of 900 years) with the small military ruling elite of the Visigoths (that took a much shorter time to become militarilly soft in comparison to the invading Moors).
When the Moors invaded in 711 A.D., they swiftly conquered the Iberian peninsular except for northern regions of Galicia and Asturias where the Christian remnants hunkered down behind their Cantabrian mountain strongholds. These two regions were also the last regions in Spain to be conquered by the Romans. Although the Roman conquest of Spain began during the Second Punic War that ended in 202 B.C., the regions of Galicia and Asturias were not subdued until the Cantabrian Wars during the reign of Augustus.
So, the Moors did not "destroy Visigothic Spain". They failed to destroy Galicia and Asturias and that ultimately proved fatal for them. From these two remnants of Visogothic Christian Spain, the slow Reconquista of Iberia began to progress southwards.
By necessity, the descendants of the once soft and decadent late Roman Empire and the once soft and decadent Visigothic Kingdom in Spain became quite warlike in their Crusade to reconquer the land of their ancestors.
The Reconquista south of Galicia became the future Portugal. The Galician language is the mother tongue of modern Portuguese. The Reconquista south of Asturias became the future Castile.
As to the Visigoths, they were bred into oblivion by the much larger Hispano-Roman society they had once militarily defeated. They survived only as a few linguistic quirks and by the fact that future Spanish Kings had the affection of claiming descent from them as the origin of their kingly rights.
Although it took until 1492, the Reconquista that began with unconquered Galicia and Asturias eventually reconquered every square inch of Spanish soil from the Moors.
Such was not the case in the Islamic conquests of Asia minor. The Christian lands of Anatolia, Egypt and the Holy Land itself fell to the Muslim sword. European Crusades to bring these lands back into Christendom ultimately ended in failure. After the failure of the Crusades, the Muslim invasions spread to Europe itself destroying the Byzantine Empire and eventually reaching the gates of Vienna. Although the tide was eventually turned, to this very day, the ancient Christian city of Constantinople still has it's European side under the Turkish flag.
"Visigothic Spain" was never destroyed. It survived in Galicia and Asturias and evolved itself out of the Visigothic label and simply into Christian Spain. After surving a knock down and a nine-count, Christian Spain picked itself back up and then fought back for 781 years to eventually achieve a knockout victory over Islam in the Iberian Peninsula.
Far from being a destroyed failure, Spain succeeded in waging the only European Crusade against the Muslim invasions that was totally successful.
Before you keep claiming that Islam invented irrigation, you should do a little bit more research into the subject.
Like in any society, more irrigation was built as the centuries of Moorish rule passed just as more roads are built in America as the decades pass. As exdperience is gained, newer innovations and techniques come about.
However, irrigation was well known to the Roman Empire which included Hispania, one of it's oldest provinces.