Professor Newt’s Distorted History Lesson

One of the main talking points used by opponents of the proposed Islamic community center in downtown Manhattan is that the term “Cordoba House” was deliberately chosen by the Muslim developers to symbolize the Muslim conquest of Spain. Apparently we’re supposed to believe that Imam Feisal Rauf can hardly suppress his evil laughter at the thought of putting one over on the dim bulb infidels, building a sinister symbol of Islamic triumphalism that will tower over our sacred hallowed ground.

This deceptive line of hooey is a common theme of Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, the two main proponents of the Bigot Brigade. And last week we saw perennial opportunist Newt Gingrich echoing it (although he’s not the only one; nearly every major GOP politician has now come out on the side of un-American, unconstitutional prejudice, and many of them use the “Cordoba” line).

This point is also raised repeatedly at LGF whenever the topic comes up; so here’s a valuable lesson from Carl Pyrdum, a graduate student in medieval European history, on Cordoba and the Muslim conquest of Spain: Got Medieval: Professor Newt’s Distorted History Lesson.

In these twenty-five words, Newt offers the final word on medieval Cordoba: “the capital of Muslim conquerors who symbolized their victory over Christian Spaniards by transforming a church there into the world’s third-largest mosque complex.” �This fact, the transformation of a church into a mosque, is the only thing we should think of when we hear a modern Muslim use the word “Cordoba,” according to Mr. Gingrich.

Notice how carefully he’s phrased his claim to give the impression that during the medieval conquest of Spain the Muslims charged into Cordoba and declared it the capital of a new Muslim empire, and in order to add insult to injury seized control of a Christian church and built the biggest mosque they could, right there in front of the Christians they’d just conquered, a big Muslim middle finger in the heart of medieval Christendom. �Essentially, they’ve done it before, they’ll do it again, right there at Ground Zero, if all good Christians don’t band together to stop them.

The problem is, in order to give that impression of immediacy, Newt elides three-hundred years of Christian and Muslim history. �Three-hundred years. The Muslims conquered Cordoba in 712. �The Christian church that was later transformed into the Great Mosque of Cordoba apparently** continued hosting Christian worship for at least a generation after that. �Work on the Mosque didn’t actually begin until seventy-odd years leader in 784, and the mosque only became “the world’s third-largest” late in the tenth century, after a series of expansions by much later rulers, probably around 987 or so.

Then there’s the matter of the two odd verbs in Newt’s summation of Cordoba’s history: “transformed” and “symbolized”. �Surely, a mosque as great as The Great Mosque of Cordoba, has symbolized a lot of things to a lot of people over the years. �But Muslim historians writing about the Great Mosque don’t point to it as a symbol of Muslim triumph over Christians; rather, they treat it primarily as a symbol of Muslim victory over other Muslims.

Everything you’ve been told about Cordoba by the “anti-jihad” bloggers is wrong. Read the whole thing…

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