What Andalusia Can Teach Us “Today About Muslims and Non-Muslims Living Together”

Huffington Post – The World Post

By Akbar Ahmed

SPAIN-RELIGION-ISLAM-CHRISTIANITY-CULTURE

“The loss of Andalusia is like losing part of my body,” H.R.H. Prince Turki al-Faisal told me.

I had asked him what the loss of Andalusia meant to him as an Arab. The son of King Faisal, widely celebrated in the Muslim world, Prince Turki heads The King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s preeminent think tank, and has been Saudi ambassador to the U.S. and the U.K. The question had excited the normally taciturn prince. The mask of cultural and royal impassivity developed over a lifetime of diplomatic dealings had dropped as his body and voice expressed high emotion. The image of Andalusia had struck a nerve: “The emptiness remains.”

When I asked him what Andalusia meant to him, he replied, “I have a passion for Andalusia because it contributed not only to Muslims but to humanity and human understanding. It contributed to the well-being of society, to its social harmony. This is missing nowadays.” For the prince, “Andalusia was the exact opposite of Europe at that time — [then] a dark, savage land of bigotry and hatred.”

At its height, Andalusia produced a magnificent Muslim civilization — religious tolerance, poetry, music, learned scientists and scholars like Averroës, great libraries (the main library at Cordoba alone had 400,000 books), public baths, and splendid architecture (like the palace complex at the Alhambra and the Grand Mosque of Cordoba). These great achievements were the result of collaboration between Muslims, Christians and Jews — indeed the work of the great Jewish Rabbi Maimonides was written in the Arabic language. It was a time when a Muslim ruler had a Jewish chief minister and a Catholic archbishop as his foreign minister. The Spanish had a phrase for that period of history — La Convivencia, or co-existence…

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One response to “What Andalusia Can Teach Us “Today About Muslims and Non-Muslims Living Together”

  1. Dear Sir,aoa,I have reading with great interest your JOURNEY INTO EUROPE,with great interest.Probably another masterpiece of yours when it comes out as a documentary and a book-Salam to all-with best regards—Bashir Malik. Date: Mon, 20 Apr 2015 14:39:06 +0000 To: bashirmalik@hotmail.com

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