There’s nothing quite like the open-minded Catholic church. The local bishop uses Syria as a counter example as to why there should never be sharing. Yes, as if Syria is supposed to set the example of tolerance for the modern world. Having just been in Córdoba last week, Spain where I visited this magnificent site, it’s sad to hear of the continuing ignorance. The Great Mosque was built on top of a former Visigoth church and was then constructed as a mosque – a very large one, at that – over a few hundred years. Back in the days of the structure being a mosque it was known as one of the greatest places in Europe for education. Following the Christian reconquest of Spain a cathedral was constructed in the middle of the mosque. (The cathedral is impressive but doesn’t quite compare to the elegance of the mosque.)
Imagine the outrageous idea of religions showing tolerance and getting along. What a crazy idea. CNN:
In fact, the site remains significant for Muslims as a symbol of Islam’s golden age of learning and religious tolerance. The Mosque of Cordoba was once famed for allowing both Christians and Muslims to pray together under the same roof.
Now, some Muslims are trying to repeat that history. Mansur Escudero, a Spanish convert to Islam, is leading the movement that is pushing for the right of Muslims to pray at the Cordoba Cathedral.
“I don’t think it’s important for Muslims. I think it’s important for humankind,” Escudero says. “We think this is a beautiful paradigm of tolerance, knowledge, culture. People of different religions living together.”
On a related note, the wingnuts are running hard on the theme of Muslims building mosques over Christian churches. Yes, there are plenty of examples out there. There are also a number of Christian churches built over mosques (Córdoba being only one example) plus countless churches constructed over other temples.
Many of the older Catholic churches in Peru, for example, were constructed over Inca temples. During a visit there a few years back they were discovering solid old Inca walls that were still standing following an earthquake that damaged the church walls. While I hate to spoil a heavy dose of right wing hysteria and hate, building on top of the church of a previous religion is about as old as religion itself.