The Media Myth of Córdoba

Córdoba Cathedral

During the recent controversy over Córdoba House — better known as the Ground Zero mosque — a frequently recurring theme, replayed over and over again in the mainstream media, is that “Córdoba” refers to the “golden age of al-Andalus”, and not to the destruction of Christian culture in Iberia. The Córdoba mosque allegedly represents the high point of Islamic civilization in Spain, when all three “Abrahamic faiths” lived in harmony under the enlightened rule of the Umayyad Caliphate.

The fact that almost very media outlet peddles the same line tells us that they are all taking their talking points from CAIR, ISNA, MPAC, ASMA, etc. The “voluntary” nature of Christian submission in Córdoba is a Muslim Brotherhood meme, and the MSM has bought it hook, line, and sinker.

Unfortunately for the credulous and gullible amongst us, the entire story is bogus. The myth of “the Golden Age of Islam” in Iberia is just that, a myth.

Dr. Andrew Bostom is more than capable of doing the research necessary to refute the this media whitewash. In fact, he already has:

Journalistic Malpractice: Time Magazine’s Bobby Ghosh and CNN’s Ali Velshi on “Cordovan Ecumenism” in Muslim Spain

Yesterday (Thursday 8/19/10) during the 1 PM hour CNN’s “Newsroom,” this exchange took place between CNN reporter Ali Velshi and Time Magazine’s deputy international editor Bobby Ghosh:

Velshi:   The name Cordoba — some people are associating it with Muslim rule and bloody battles, when, in fact, Cordoba was one of the finest times in relations between the major religions.
Ghosh:   Exactly right — in interfaith discourse –
Velshi:   Yeah –
Ghosh:   And the great mosque of Cordoba that people are talking about and that Newt Gingrich was talking about — the man who built it, the Muslim prince who built it, bought it from a Christian group — paid money for it and bought it from a Christian group. And there was not a lot of alarm and anger raised then.

These statements are journalistic malpractice — ahistorical, whitewashed drivel — compounded by Ghosh’s ad hominem attack on Newt Gingrich.

Reinhart Dozy (1820-1883), the great Orientalist scholar and Islamophile (i.e., by any objective standard, notwithstanding Ghosh’s uncontrolled spraying of the ridiculous charge of “Islamophobia”), wrote a four volume magnum opus (published in 1861 and translated into English by Francis Griffin Stokes in 1913), Histoire des Musselmans d’Espagne [“A History of the Muslims in Spain”]. Pace Ghosh’s distorted reportage, here is Dozy’s historical account of the mid-8th century “conversion” of a Cordovan cathedral to a mosque:

All the churches in that city [Cordova] had been destroyed except the cathedral, dedicated to Saint Vincent, but the possession of this fane [church or temple] had been guaranteed by treaty. For several years the treaty was observed; but when the population of Cordova was increased by the arrival of Syrian Arabs [i.e., Muslims], the mosques did not provide sufficient accommodation for the newcomers, and the Syrians considered it would be well for them to adopt the plan which had been carried out at Damascus, Emesa [Homs], and other towns in their own country, of appropriating half of the cathedral and using it as a mosque. The [Muslim] Government having approved of the scheme, the Christians were compelled to hand over half of the edifice. This was clearly an act of spoliation, as well as an infraction of the treaty. Some years later, Abd-er Rahman I [i.e., the “Muslim prince” in Ghosh’s redacted narrative] requested the Christians to sell him the other half. This they firmly refused to do, pointing out that if they did so they would not possess a single place of worship. Abd-er Rahman, however, insisted, and a bargain was struck by which the Christians ceded their cathedral…

Indeed by the end of the eighth century, the brutal Muslim jihad conquest of North Africa and of Andalusia had imposed rigorous Maliki jurisprudence as the predominant school of Muslim law. Thus, as Evariste Lévi-Provençal (1894-1956) — the greatest modern scholar of Muslim Spain whose Histoire de l’Espagne Musulmane remains a defining work — observed three quarters of a century ago:

– – – – – – – –

The Muslim Andalusian state thus appears from its earliest origins as the defender and champion of a jealous orthodoxy, more and more ossified in a blind respect for a rigid doctrine, suspecting and condemning in advance the least effort of rational speculation.

For example, the contemporary scholar J.M. Safran discusses an early codification of the rules of the marketplace (where Muslims and non-Muslims would be most likely to interact), written by al-Kinani (d. 901), a student of the Cordovan jurist Ibn Habib (d. 853), “.known as the scholar of Spain par excellence,” who was also one of the most ardent proponents of Maliki doctrine in Muslim Spain:

…the problem arises of “the Jew or Christian who is discovered trying to blend with the Muslims by not wearing the riqa [cloth patch, which might be required to have an emblem of an ape for a Jew, or a pig for a Christian] or z?unnar [belt].” Kinani’s insistence that Jews and Christians wear the distinguishing piece of cloth or belt required of them is an instance of a legally defined sartorial differentiation being reconfirmed…His insistence may have had as much to do with concerns for ritual purity and food prohibitions as for the visible representation of social and political hierarchy, and it reinforced limits of intercommunal relations.

Read the rest of the historical evidence at Dr. Bostom’s place.

The myth of a tolerant al-Andalus will, alas, never be dispelled by the Western media. The imperative of the multicultural “narrative” mitigates against any true understanding of history. It requires our cultural elites to accept the CAIR version of events, and mere historical evidence is not enough to change that. We will, as usual, have to work around the MSM.

The last word, as cited by Dr. Bostom, comes from the late Richard Fletcher: “Moorish Spain was not a tolerant and enlightened society even in its most cultivated epoch.”

11 thoughts on “The Media Myth of Córdoba

  1. I have to say, I’m very grateful for my main middle ages professor. He didn’t white wash the Islamic conquests. His was one of the most balanced classes I had, neither blaming nor glorifying either Christians or Muslims. As I see what the MSM and Muslims do to history, I will forever be grateful to that man.

    We need to stop the lies.

  2. When will the MSM finally fall over and die? They seem to be some perverted oligarchy high on constantly blabbing their stale bigoted propaganda to the masses and it seems less and less people are listening to them anymore. The MSM’s hate spewing is turning into fingernails on a chalk board to most people.

    It seems like they’ll fall apart when the bitter, hateful, old liberal farts in charge drop dead from old age or they run out of money.

    It looks like the running out of money is coming closer. Their bigoted news papers are losing money like crazy. Even if some rich persons (or mME oil money) try to bail them out it will just be sending good money after bad and that won’t last for ever. Plus the mME oil supply is just starting to wind down even though it will take a while and very soon they’ll have to spend it ALL on supporting their bloated populations (Or creatively downsizing them *rolleyes*) and nothing else. Plus the petrodollar that’s propping EVERYTHING up might just have months left in it from all the money printing by the feds and when that goes, EVERYTHING goes.

    Anyway would be nice to see the bigots from the MSM and mME take a long walk off a short pier over a Volcano. 😉

  3. When will the MSM finally fall over and die?

    Well, though far from dead, its power isn’t really what it once used to be. Despite its endless yapping about how mahoundianism is a “religion” of “peace” (which would be true only when the meaning of that word in ayrab epistemology, which is far different from our notions of it, is taken into account), the endless series of daily reports about a dynamite stick up a mujahideen’s anus here, a truck-bomb there and an RPG here blowing dozens of people to pieces have ended up making a lot of people start scratching their heads over the veracity of that claim.

    One more example of how the MSM’s power to manipulate people didn’t turn out to be what those controlling it hoped it would was the vote to ban minarets in Switzerland. Not only was the MSM opposed to it, but most of the Swiss political and business elite also came out against it in the run-up to the vote, but ultimately well-informed voters knew how to choose wisely in the voting booth. And all that despite the bogus claims by the MSM all over Europe, after the results, that “ignorance” and “fearmongering” had produced the outcome; when even that mahoundian-loving islamophile Jean Ziegler knew it not to be true, stating that the Swiss were not ignorant fools, but “racists” (and which race is islam again?) who knew exactly what they were doing.

  4. The Kingdom of Jerusalem was a fairly religiously tolerant kingdom, and yet that kingdom is never praised as a symbol of tolerance, rather vilified as some wicked Crusader state that had to be cleansed by Saladin.

    I also like how liberal support for indigenous rights goes out the window when it comes to non-whites conquering whites. Religion aside, the facts were that a foreign North African people conquered and subjugated the natives of Spain. Liberals are supposed to be against imperialism, right? 😉

  5. “Isn’t the entire story bogus” – Did Mahound ever exist?
    Des Pudels Kern: For the Christian arabs in the East the edict of Nicea was a pain in the ass!
    [Please reflect over the following: ‘in nomine dominis miseriscordis’ is verbally translated to ‘bismillah rahman rahim’ and ‘non deus nisi deus solus’ -> ‘la illah illallah — two central muslim sentences were ‘pinched’ from the early Christians!]

    The Golden Years of Islam: Many Muslims are wishing back the Golden Years of Islam, when the prophet was alive and leading his community, creating the perfect society. We do not have any primary sources of these times, however, just legends. Connected to these legends is the conquest and islamisation of half of the known world. Again, we do not have any historical facts of these events for the 8th century, the time they were reported for.

    Golden Years were considered also those, when muslim scientists and scholars were the leading ones in the world. Names such as Al-Farabi, Hunnain, Biruni, Ibn Sina (Avicenna in the West), Ibn Rushd (Averoes) or Thabit (Thebit) are famous. However none of them was Muslim in todays sense and as scientists and philosophers in the Greek tradition, they were distant to mere believes. Ibn Rushd was even declared „apostate“ and exiled, his books were burned. There were Golden Times of Arab scientists, but not of Muslim scientists. Moreover, the establishing of Islam crashed the flourishing Arab sciences within short time. The sciences have been expelled then to the west, where they still are.

    The Quran of Sciences: There are a lot of so called dark passages in the Koran which no Muslim interpreter was able to understand, what resulted in so many different interpretations. The traditional excuse is, we are not able to understand fully Allahs perfect Arabic. Christoph Luxenberg (pseudonym), arabist and specialist in old oriental languagues, caused a short-lived(!) tsunami within the scientific world and earned a placement on the front-page of the New York Times with a publication, which existed in German languague only: He read a number of those dark phrases in the languague of the time, which was Syro-Aramaic. Seemingly senseless phrases made suddenly a sense. He proved the famous „maids in paradise“ to be in fact „sweet, clear grapes“ – bad news for djihadists. The burqa/veil is a complete mistranslation of the Aramaic „belt“ and nothing more but the personal opinion of at-Tabari, a famous Koran-editor around the year 900, who obviously was disturbed by the fact that women dressed in bast or rafia skirts often unintensionally showed their genitals when squatting. Since then the veil is considered in the Islamic world to be god`s command, though there is not one word about in the Koran. It turned out, the original languague of the Koran was defenitely not Arabic. There did not exist anything like Koran-arabic in the 6th, 7th or 8th century. Much of the Koran is clearly based on Syro-Aramaic texts, and is a translation of later times 9th century).

  6. The Muhamad of Sciences: We do not have any trace of the prophet Muhamad for about 250 years after his stated death. For the 6th and 7th century we do not have even any trace of the name „Muhamad“ itself. The reason: Muhamad was at that time a title and not a name. The first mentions of muhamad come from the eastern-provinces of the Persian Empire on coins bearing this name plus christian symbols. Muhamad was used by Christian Arabs in the East and meant the „to be praised one“. Coins bearing the muhamad-logo and/or „halifat Allah“ together with a standardized figure with a large sword, were traditionally interpreted to be a Caliph or even Muhamad. Modern research tells us, it is without doubt the eschatologic Christ with the sword of judgment and the title „announcer for god“ (halifat Allah). The „to be praised one“, the muhamad was Jesus. This very clearly tells the inscription in the „Dome of Rock“ in Jerusalem: „To be praised is Isa bin Maryiam“. The muhamad was the Christ of the East Arabian Christians, it was Jesus. During rhe 9th centure the muhamad developped into the Muhamad, the Prophet of the Arabs. „Muhamad“ was a figure of identification, but did not exist as person.

    The Church on the Temple Mount: Qubbat As-Sakhrah in Jerusalem was built in the year 694 by Abdel Malik. He was an arab-christian ruler and a fervent promoter of the „praised one“= muhamad = Jesus, who was supposed to return to earth in near future to conduct the final judgment as it is pictured on his coins. This judgement was expected to be held on the temple mount, on the place of the temple Salomon´s. Precisely on this place Malik bult his church. On the 240 m long band of the still existing kufic inscriptions, Malik layed down his religious program: It is the typical christian – monophysistic credo. In the 11th century only, the church got the Islamic tradition of the ascension of Muhamad. It was never an active mosque (this was the Al Aqsa opposite) until few decades ago, when the Dome of the Rocks became symbol of Muslim Palestine.

    MHMD was in ancient Ugarit the root for „golden“. This developped in Mesopotamia (inhabited by the „Arabi“) into „muhamad/un“ for „blessed, to be praised“ and into the titel muhamad which was nothing else but „Christ“. This, the christian „Muhamadism“ moved with Abdel Malik from Eastern Persia to Palestine. Nothing was known then, in the 7th century, of a place called Mekka and a prophet Muhamad. Jerusalem was the center of the „followers of the muhamad“ (as the Koran confirms, by the way).

  7. In the 9th century only the stories of a prophet from Mekka named Muhamad with his holy book Koran started circulating, the specific Arab monophysite christianity developped into an own religion called Islam. The Aramaic „qeryana“ of the arab Christians got transformed into the quran, undergoing many modifications and blendings with Beduin traditions. Even the old godesses from the desert got a revival. Godess of the moon was Allat, her black stone is still worshipped in Mekka. Godess of the morning star was Uzza. Their symbols are still present in the flags of many Muslim countries. In the 11th century at the very earliest we find the situation, which the Muslim traditions describe for the 8th century.

    Prophet Muhamad was not a historical person. Modern research draws a totally different picture of the timea when Muhamad founded his religion, which is said to have spread out over half of the known world within 80 years. We do not possess any contemporary sources confirming the traditional stories. The first reports appear not earlier than 200 years after the Prophet – a Koran was not known at those times, when Byzanthium lost half of its territories, Persia the whole empire; millions of Christians, Zoroastrians, Buddhists, pagans came under muslim rule, but none of them tells us about it, there are no scripts, no books, no reports, nothing. Why doesn’t anyone wonder?

    The Muslim and Arab world is in very poor shape. If something goes wrong in the West the typical questions are: What went wrong? What did we make wrong? What can we do? In the Muslim world the traditional question is: Who has done this to us? The answers are always the same: The Franks, the Crusaders, the British, the French, the Soviets and at present Israel, the USA, the West. Remedy is believed to be the return to Muslim values and the conditions of the Golden Times. This expresses the -again- modern movement of salafiya: Back to prophet’s times. It is and idealistic view back to a history which had never existed. Modern views make it urgently advisable to reinterprete the Koran and clear it of misinterpretations occured in the course of centuries. Particularly the origin of the „Hadith“ needs to be reviewed. The bearded Imams and Ayatollahs have failed to make Islam compatible to the modern world.
    – – – – –
    Good Bye Mohammed. Wie der Islam wirklich entstand
    (The true origins of Islam) by Norbert G.Pressburg
    ISBN: 978-3-8391-9203-0

  8. ANTI-ISLAMIST said…
    I am sorry that the two last links does mot work – the material must
    have been moved. I offer some other useful links instead.

    • Book Review: Christoph Luxenberg (ps.) Die syro-aramaeische Lesart
    des Koran; Ein Beitrag zur Entschlüsselung der Qur’ansprache. [Robert
    R. PHENIX Jr. and Cornelia B. HORN]. Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies
    6 (2003) 1.
    [” Not in the history of commentary on the Qur’Çn has a work like this
    been produced. Similar works can only be found in the body of
    text-critical scholarship on the Bible. From its method to its
    conclusions on the language and content of the Qur’Çn, Luxenberg’s
    study has freed scholars from the problematic tradition of the Islamic
    commentators. Whether or not Luxenberg is correct in every detail, with
    one book he has brought exegetical scholarship of the Qur’Çn to the
    “critical turn” that biblical commentators took more than a century
    ago. This work demonstrates to all exegetes of the Qur’an the power of
    the scientific method of philology and its value in producing a clearer
    text of the Qur’an. Scholars of the first rank will now be forced to
    question the assumption that, from a philological perspective, the
    Islamic tradition is mostly reliable, as though it were immune to the
    human error that pervades the transmission of every written artifact.
    If biblical scholarship is any indication, the future of Qur’anic
    studies is more or less decided by this work.”] For a Muslim response
    by M. S. M. Saifullah, see

    • Scholars Are Quietly Offering New Theories of the Koran [ALEXANDER
    STILLE] New York Times (and International Herald Tribune), March 4,
    2002. Some Muslim authors have begun to publish skeptical, revisionist
    work on the Koran as well. Several new volumes of revisionist
    scholarship, The Origins of the Koran, and The Quest for the Historical
    Muhammad, have been edited by a former Muslim who writes under the pen
    name Ibn Warraq. Mr. Warraq, who heads a group called the Institute for
    the Secularization of Islamic Society, makes no bones about having a
    political agenda.

    • The Qur’an, Hadith, and the Prophet Muhammad
    [Interactive scholarly site with information and links to other sites.
    Created and maintained by Alan Godlas.]

    • What is the Koran? [Toby Lester] Atlantic Monthly (January, 1999)
    [This article is a popular summary of critical research on the Qur’an.
    For a Muslim response by M. S. M Saifullah, see
    — scroll down half way here for rhis selecrion this selection.
    – – – – –
    Also for a simple counter-jihad amateur with an one-track mind it is a fascinating idea that an old Bible-version written in Syro-Aramaic, by script-perverters/exegetes/activists of that time hating the idea of the Trinity (Nicea 325) and before a premature Arabic language was standardized and established, during a few centuries reedited, constructed and finally in the 9th century brought about the preliminary Glorious Quran, an oriental-arabic-beduin-bellicose version of a Bible.

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