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the world of fundamentalism

New translation, the Magna Carta

article archives at abelard's news and comment zonethe world of fundamentalism archives
1 2 III-2004: 28
the world of fundamentalism

“minarets will one day rise over oxford university”[1]

Why is 1492 an important year to remember in terms of the current struggle in the war on terror? In 1492, Granada, the last Muslim stronghold in Andalusia, Spain, fell to Catholic King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella during the Spanish Reconquista thus ending the Moorish rule. Ironically, it was also the year that Ferdinand and Isabella funded Columbus’ auspicious journey to the New World. Now Fast forward to ''Operation Death Trains'' carried out in Madrid on March 11. Muslim terrorists with ties to al Qaeda claimed responsibility. A letter published in a London-based Arabic newspaper explained the possible motive: ''The Death Brigades penetrated into the European Crusader heartland, and struck a painful blow at one of the foundations of the Crusader coalition. This is part of a settling of old accounts with Crusader Spain, the ally of the U.S., in its war against Islam.'' Spain might find it easy to blame George W. Bush for her current troubles but Ferdinand and Isabella have a high level of culpability as well. Maybe Prime Minister-elect Zapatero should consider offering Granada to al Qaeda in a show of good faith and reparations of a 512-year-old debt.”

The approaching general elections in Spain in March must be exploited to the extreme," announced an online manifesto that has been appearing on jihadist Web sites associated with Al Qaeda since December. The manifesto went on to predict that attacks on Spain would virtually guarantee a Socialist victory along with the jihadist objective of seeing Spanish troops leave the American-led coalition. If jihadists make the connection between "terrorism" and Iraq, why can't we?”

The terrorists had more than one reason to strike against Spain. Islamists have been obsessed for years with the demise of al-Andalus, the 800-year medieval Islamic caliphate of Spain, which they consider the zenith of their Golden Age. They believe that the historic humiliation that the West inflicted on Islam started with the end of that period in the 15th century, and the Catholic conquest of Granada. In 1984, I had a long talk with a high-ranking Sunni cleric in the Omeyad Mosque in Damascus. He was very friendly when he learned that I was Spanish. After two hours of conversation about politics and theology, which are very much intertwined in that part of the world, he said to me: "Don't worry. We will liberate Spain from Western corruption." I understood then, that if even a moderate cleric was expressing this kind of thinking, then Spain's -- and Europe's -- main problem in the 21st century would be radical Islamism and the terrorism practiced in its name.

“Apostasy is a fundamental concept in Islam, which not only authorizes the destruction of apostates, but also requires this from its adherents. This has become for Islamic fundamentalists one of the most important excuses to justify violence and terrorism against their enemies. These fanatics consider Spain to be an apostate country, since we were once part of the ummah, and, in their view, "abandoned" Islam.”

Summary of bankrupt leftist/jihadist propaganda:
“Instead we have pledged $87 billion to secure and rebuild Iraq — one of the largest direct-aid programs since the Marshall Plan. Tens of thousands of brave Americans risked their lives — and hundreds have died — to end the genocide of Saddam Hussein, alter the pathological calculus of the Middle East, and cease the three-decade support of terrorism by Arab dictators.

End note

  1. This ‘quote’ is cited in over 300 items on the net, and seems to trace back to one Niall Ferguson. Some sources refer to Decline and fall (1776-1778), but none of the words minaret, minoret nor minorets appear anywhere in Decline and fall as far as I can see.

    Minarets appears once only in the following context:
    The decline and fall of the Roman empire
    table of contents

    “In the new character of a mosque, the cathedral of St. Sophia was endowed with an ample revenue, crowned with lofty minarets, and surrounded with groves and fountains, for the devotion and refreshment of the Moslems. The same model was imitated in the jami, or royal mosques; and the first of these was built, by Mahomet himself, on the ruins of the church of the holy apostles, and the tombs of the Greek emperors. On the third day after the conquest, the grave of Abu Ayub, or Job, who had fallen in the first siege of the Arabs, was revealed in a vision; and it is before the sepulchre of the martyr that the new sultans are girded with the sword of empire. ^81 Constantinople no longer appertains to the Roman historian; nor shall I enumerate the civil and religious edifices that were profaned or erected by its Turkish masters:......”

    There have been other ‘enhancements’ to the ‘quote’, and I have yet to be able to trace any of those beyond said N.F. either. Here is what N.F. said:

    “In order to illustrate my argument, I want to take you back very far in time. In fact, I want to take you back to the year 732. In Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, in Chapter 52, Part 2, he describes what might have happened if the Muslim that had invaded across the Straits of Gibraltar and invaded Spain and then France in the year 711 had won what became known in the West as the Battle of Poitiers. So let me quote Gibbon, that much greater Oxford historian.

    "A victorious line of march had been prolonged above a thousand miles from the Rock of Gibraltar to the banks of the Loire; the repetition of an equal space would have carried the Saracens to the confines of Poland and the Highlands of Scotland; the Rhine is not more impassable than the Nile or Euphrates, and the Arabian fleet might have sailed without a naval combat into the mouth of the Thames. Perhaps"--and here is the quintessential Gibbon--"perhaps the interpretation of the Koran would now be taught in the schools of Oxford, and her pulpits might demonstrate to a circumcised people the sanctity and truth of the revelation of Mahomet." ”

    N.F. finishes the item thus:
    “...Well, I have good news for him. Long before the mariachis play in Harvard Yard, long before that, there will be minarets, as Gibbon foretold, in Oxford. Indeed, ladies and gentlemen, there already is one.”

28.03.2004



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