January 08, 2007

Spanish bishops fear rebirth of Islamic kingdom

This is a keen revelation of Islam's embarassingly desperate attempt to restore its lost pride: Spain's bishops are alarmed by ambitious plans to recreate the city of Cordoba - once the heart of the ancient Islamic kingdom of al-Andalus - as a pilgrimage site for Muslims throughout Europe. Plans include the construction of a half-size replica of Cordoba's eighth century great mosque, according to the head of Cordoba's Muslim Association. Other big mosques are reportedly planned for Medina Azahara near Cordoba, Seville, and Granada. Last month, Spanish Muslims reasserted their right to pray in Cordoba's great mosque. The bishops of those cities are alarmed at the construction of ostentatious mosques, financed from abroad. Up to one million Muslims live in Spain, many drawn by a romantic nostalgia for the lost paradise of al-Andalus, the caliphate that ruled Spain for more than five centuries.