Tuesday, November 14, 2006

No More Moor

The NYT has a travel piece about Cordoba, Spain, which apparently is more than what tour books recommend, the piece reports. Not one time, however, does the word “Muslim” or “Islam” appear in the article, even though the main uploaded photograph is of Cordoba’s center architectural marvel, the Mosque and library of this city, one of the primary centers of Muslim Andalusian Spain. Of course, “Moors” appears, a word that started out as a pejorative when referring to Muslims, but has been used so often and widespread that its naughtiness is no longer something to recognize. Still, would it have been difficult for the author of the article, Andrew Ferren, to have at least mentioned that the human beings behind many of Cordoba's marvels were Muslims, folks who never referred to themselves as “Moors” or the like? The reader does come across “Catholic” as “Catholic king, Philip II,” and “Jews” who were learned in Arabic, Latin, and Greek and thus translated important manuscripts. I have no problem that these religious traditions are mentioned, especially when we consider the cosmopolitan nature of Muslim Spain, which incorporated the scholarly contributions of the three monotheistic faiths. But that means “Islam” too, Mr. Ferren.


Blogger Abuljude said...

I read the same article. It brought back the whistful, painful memories of visiting Cordoba in 1998. Indeed, for anyone living in or visiting Cordoba today, you could be forgiven for never thinking about the words "Islam" or "Muslim," as for 500 years the Castellanos did their best to completely strip any remnant of the religion or of Arab culture from the town. When one visits la Mezquita and sees not only the huge, gold-encrusted shirk-inspiring Cathedral plopped in the center but also how the Spaniards removed almost all of the beautiful golden composite tile decoration, you can barely imagine how wondrous Cordoba really must have been as so little was contemptuously left.

So, I really couldn't argue with the exclusion. Cordoba's conquerors forcibly expulsed all signs of Islam and Judiasm, and expulsed its success along with it.

11/15/2006 1:14 PM  
Blogger fromclay said...

Nice post, AJ. Well said. But the desecration must end, even with a nagging complaint like mine. The expulsion was of Muslims and Jews, as you stated, though the latter were mentioned in the article, while "Muslims" were not.

11/15/2006 2:59 PM  

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