Monday, September 5, 2016

The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise

This is a major myth pushed by the cultural left and regressive left these days: that Spain in the period of Muslim rule was some kind of multicultural paradise and beacon of Enlightenment in Dark Age Europe.

That myth is completely shattered by this book:
Fernandez-Morera, Dario. 2016. The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise: Muslims, Christians, and Jews under Islamic Rule in Medieval Spain. ISI Books, Wilmington, Deleware.
See this interview of Dario Fernandez-Morera here:

See also an interesting review here.

As Fernandez-Morera argues, there was no multicultural paradise. It was a society of largely mutually-hostile segregated communities, living separate lives, and where Christians and Jews lived as second class citizens subject to punishing extortionate tax and humiliating restrictions on their freedom.

Fernandez-Morera (2013) points out that life also became progressively worse and worse for Jews in Islamic Spain. For example, Jews had been forced to wear a special yellow band or badge to distinguish themselves, and there was a homicidal massacre of the Jewish population of Granada in December 1066.

By the 13th to 15th centuries, particularly after the Almohad rulers of Spain demanded the forced conversion of Jews and Christians (Fernandez-Morera 2013: 27), life became so bad for the Sephardic Jewish population in Spain that there was a mass exodus to Christian countries (Fernandez-Morera 2013: 22).

So, all in all, this society can hardly be regarded as any kind of model for the modern world.

Fernandez-Morera, Dario. 2013. “Some Overlooked Realities of Jewish Life under Islamic Rule in Medieval Spain,” Comparative Civilizations Review 68: 21–35.


  1. They do the same thing with Indian history, claiming that there was once a period of peaceful and happy co-existence between cultures.

    These kinds of lies are sold in order to make it look like modern divisions are modern inventions and there was once a period of multicultural coexistence prior to our times.

  2. Enough criticism to rip it up, light a fire with it, and stomp out the flames on a concrete slab:

    Hard not to notice it got a favorable review on a website called Middle East Forum with the byline "Promoting American Interests. No doubt Exxon Mobil had a hand in funding the book.

    1. (1) don't just quote mine w whole article in the blog section. Next time just leave the link.

      (2) I see only one critical comment on the Amazon book review section you link to. The rest are just hysterical assertion and ad hominem abuse.

      (3) so let's start with a simple point: is it true that all the evidence shows that there was an program of mass murder against the Jewish community of Granada in December 1066?
      Yes or no?

    2. The only serious critical review of the book you link to just says: Christian Europe and Muslim Spain at that time were basically all horrendous and terrible places to live by modern standards.

      LOL.. that is your refutation?

    3. Doesn't look pretty, but I don't think that's the whole picture of life in Spain in those years.

      Read the comment about the Visgoths in the Weekly Standard review I cited for you.

      Also, any criticism that amounts to "They just weren't a Westernized democracy" I will happily dismiss out of hand. I think Egalitarianism can be every bit as bad as the criticism you lob at the "Regressive Left."

    4. Beg to differ. The review by Reza Smith is a solid, extensive polemic. And the the others you want to dismiss as "ad hom" raise some good points too. I did notice David Horrowitz's site Front Page loves the book.

    5. "I did notice David Horowitz's site Front Page loves the book."

      lol... Ever heard of the ad hominem fallacy? The fact that Horowitz likes it refutes NOTHING said in the book. Even if Stalin loved it, that wouldn't refute one sentence of the book.

      Also, you use this tactic but then link to the notorious neoconservative Weekly Standard that is the cheerleader of American wars? lol

    6. Well then if they see something wrong with that book, they must be able to take themselves out of themselves and be fair. Mr. Fernandez-Morera could take a lesson from them.

  3. Here's the link to the other article I cited:

    1. Also, no serious refutation of the book.

      (1) main charge: Fernandez-Morera has over-idealised Christian Visigoth Spain. OK, even if true this hardly refutes his critique of the myth of Andalusian Spain which followed.

      (2) Stephen Schwartz then cheerfully admits most of the charges are true, and that Andalusian Spain was a terribly brutal place for Jews and Christians, and only in the first centuries was the Jewish community's life better but only in comparison with Visigoth Spain. Schwartz mentions nothing about the massacre of 1066 or the very harsh brutality of Almohad rulers and their demands for forced conversion. The best Schwartz can do is just throw up carping minor complaints about turns of phrase Fernandez-Morera uses.

    2. I guess my comments that I would rather be a Christian or a Jew in Muslim Spain as opposed to a Palestinian in the West Bank or Gaza Strip prompted this? Guess what, I still would.

    3. So you wouldn't prefer to live in, say, a country Switzerland in 2016, where there are no anti-Semitic pogroms?

    4. So anyway, there's not much point in me continuing here if you're going to delete issues that I raise just because I cited extensively from the Schwartz article. But in regards to these links:

      What I was going to say is: Historical research is like a needle in a haystack that has a large unraveled ball of yarn mixed in. You pull on one string and you wind up tearing through the whole mound. If you've ever attempted serious historical research,then you know this. I stupidly bit off more than I could chew for a Freshman level writing project that turned into overkill. I was happy to take a "D" on the project and I transferred anyway so it didn't matter. There are angles upon angles, sources upon sources and bias is a danger that runs throughout.

      You have historians on the side of the Moors being a great deal for Christians and Jews and then you have guys like this present book were discussing. It's already divided into 2 camps and I doubt Fernandez-Morera will be the last word on the subject. Count on it.

      On the note of bias, yes it is important to see who likes stuff like this. One on the key ways you know the "30,000 Climate Scientists signed a petition against Global Warming" story is dubious is the fact that FOX News reported on it. I surmise Schwartz had many more issues with Fernandez-Morera's book than he was able to cover in a short review. There were several things that Schwarz pointed out that you dismiss as insignificant that I see in Fernandez-Morera a master propagandist at work in the mix.

    5. Hilarious. It's wrong because Horowitz likes it, plus it lacks the rigor of Wikipedia !

    6. Hilarious. It's wrong because Horowitz likes it, plus it lacks the rigor of Wikipedia

      Are you taking reading lessons from Daniel, now?

    7. And I would still rather be a Muslim living under Byzantine rule, than a Christian or Jew living under Islamic subjugation, if that's still on the table.

    8. Jean, when the Sassanids took Jerusalem in 614, one of their first orders of business was to commit a sectarian massacre of the Christians. When the ERE took it back in 628, one of their first orders of business was to commit a sectarian massacre of the Jewish population, who they felt had favored the Sassanids. When the Muslims took it in 637, no such sectarian massacres took place, and Jews were finally able to openly practice their faith in Jerusalem, which was not the case when the ERE held the city from 628-637.

      While it's interesting you would prefer living under the ERE if you were a Jew, ithe fact that the Jewish population in the Levant and North Africa were, more often than not, willing infidel allies of the Arabs against the ERE, indicates that the Jewish people of the period did not share your preference.

      If we're gonna play the "Would you rather live in X or Y!" gam, I would much rather be a Nestorian Christian living in Muslim dominated Persia in the 8th century, than be a Nestorian Christian living under the Sassanids (in fact, the brutal oppression of Nestorians for their 'pro Roman leanings' is why Nestorian support for the Muslims was strongest of all the willing infidel allies they had against the Sassanids). Similarly, I would much rather be a Jew living in Al-Andalus in the year 800, than I would be a Norse pagan living in Saxony in the year 800. In the modern era, though, I'd much rather live in Israel than any other state in the Levant or Arabia!

    9. But thats highly misleading because the only reason the ERE even became so hostile to the Jewish community is, as you said, due to the fact that they put the existence of their own country in jeopardy. It's like what ISIS is now in Europe. Most people do not take kindly to treason, and most of the laws your talking about were retaliatory in nature. Prior to and after 650 AD, Jews living in the Eastern Roman Empire enjoyed a reasonable level of tolerance.

    10. That is one of the reasons the Jewish people who lived in the ERE territories in the Levant were persecuted and massacred, absolutely. As with the Muslims, the ERE's tolerance of the Jews varied according to region, leader, and epoch. The hostility I spoke of in this period of the Levant should not be taken as an eternal truth of the ERE. It's also worth considering that the Jewish people who repopulated the city when the Zoroastrians took it were Persian Jews.

      If Christians would be more to your taste, take the Miaphysites of Egypt. They were also persecuted by the ERE, and favored the Arabs during the early stages of the conquest as a result.

      Kind of thrown by the 'existence of their country' comment. If you're claiming that the Sassanids occupying Jerusalem and favoring the Jews posed an existential threat to the very existence of the ERE, that sounds like hyperbole. If you meant that the Jewish people in the Levant favoring the Sassanids put the "existence of their country in jeopardy", there is truth to that statement.

    11. Yes, I did mean that Jews by virtue of siding with the Sassanids did pose a threat to the ERE since it permanently denied them access to the Levant. Fine, it is true that the treatment of both Christian and Jewish minorities waxed and waned depending on the time period and the leaders in place, but the exact same is true of lands under Muslim occupation.

      The narrative of some sort of Pax Islamic where there was perpetual peace between each group is highly misleading, and I'm glad that Fernandez-Moreira is challenging it because its one thats been circulating for such a long time. Yes, Byzantines may not have been "nice" to other Christians, but lets look at the treatment of Shia's by Sunni's to see just how well they faired.

      And your neglecting the fact that ERE was dealing with substantial territorial loss, and had to contend with being surrounded by enemies on virtually every front, where else by the time Spain was even under Moorish occupation, all of the Mediterranean had been taken over by Islamic forces, so tolerance is easy when you're not dealing with constant domestic turmoil, internal rebellion, violent foreign invasions by the very Religion of Peace being discussed, and the dawning realization that you face the possibility of ceasing to exist at any second.

    12. How did the Jewish population favoring the Sassanids pose an existential threat to the existence of the ERE? They weren't numerous enough to make a significant difference in the conflict. If any individual deserves blame for the fall of the ERE and the Arab Conquests, it would likely be Justinian for overextending the Empire and shifting the focus of the ERE to the West, leaving a nice void for the Sassanids to challenge, and the Muslims to step into after decades of vicious war in the Levant.

      I've stated that Muslim tolerance waxed and waned according to the time period and leaders in place more times than I've stated that about the ERE in these comments. I've similarly also stated that the notion of Pax Islam is a myth, and that "The Myth Of Andalusian Paradise" makes significant contributions to our understanding of the complexities of religious life in Al-Andalus, as well as challenging the mainstream historiography of the period. Suggesting that there were periods and regions where Muslim tolerance exceeded that of their Christian neighbors, and that this contributed to the success of the Arab conquests against the Sassanids and ERE, is not to be interpreted as a claim that the Caliphate was a fantasy land of peace and tolerance.

      Why does the ERE have any greater claim to the Levant and North Africa than the Muslims? Did they not acquire those territories through conquest, just as the Muslims did? Anywho, I don't disagree with why the ERE became more insular following the threats posed by the Sassanids, and then the Muslims, Bulghars, and Khazars. They were products of their time, and their behavior wasn't exactly out of ordinary for a nation in the period facing an existential threat. It's also not truly accurate to say that the ERE was always opposed to religious dissent, relative to the period, following the Arab conquests; there were Iconoclast emperors after the Abbasids took the Caliphate from the Umayyads.

      Outside of our rhetorical choices about Islam, it doesn't appear like our understanding of the period diverges significantly. If you enjoyed The Myth Of Andalusian Paradise, Jean, you'd also appreciate Roger Collins' "Caliphs and Kings: Spain, 796-1031".


    "The major Jewish presence in Iberia continued until the Jews were forcibly expelled en masse due to the edict of expulsion by Christian Spain in 1492 and a similar decree by Christian Portugal in 1496"

    1. By the 13th to 15th centuries, particularly after the Almohad rulers of Spain demanded the forced conversion of Jews and Christians (Fernandez-Morera 2013: 27), life became so bad for the Sephardic Jewish population in Spain that there was a mass exodus to Christian countries (Fernandez-Morera 2013: 22).

    2. So that's what Mr. Fernandez-Morera says. He doesn't have quite the checks & balances Wikipedia does.

    3. From Wikipedia, dude:

      "The Almohads, who had taken control of the Almoravids' Maghribi and Andalusian territories by 1147,[19] treated the dhimmis (non-Muslims) harshly. Reports from the period describe that, after an initial 7-month grace period, the Almohads killed or forcefully converted Jewish communities in each new city they conquered until "there was no Jew left from Silves to Mahdia".[20] Cases of mass martyrdom of Jews who refused to convert to Islam are also reported.[20] Abraham Ibn Ezra (1089–1164), who himself fled the persecutions of the Almohads, composed an elegy mourning the destruction of many Jewish communities throughout Spain and the Maghreb under the Almohads.[21] Many Jews fled from territories ruled by the Almohads to Christian lands, and others, like the family of Maimonides, fled east to more tolerant Muslim lands.[22] However, sources from the beginning of the Almohad period still describe few Jewish traders working in North-Africa"

    4. Kevin, do note that the Golden Age isn't mutually exclusive with the forced conversions under the Almohads. If you look at the article, you'll note that it says the Jewish golden age came to close following the collapse of the Corboda Caliphate; this also signaled the end of Muslim leaders in Spain who held to religious tolerance (relative to the period, and especially compared to the leaders who came after the collapse of the Corboda Caliphate).

    5. this also signaled the end of Muslim leaders in Spain who held to religious tolerance (relative to the period, and especially compared to the leaders who came after the collapse of the Corboda Caliphate

      Thanks for proving my overall thesis: Muslims are not any worse sinners than any of us and bringing an end to US/Israeli interference in the Middle East will go a long way to ensure the better ones will rise to prominence.

    6. kevin

      tolerance compare to the period of time they were living in.

      now do you see any strong "tolerant" muslim movement in the middle east today kevin?

      enlight me pls

      maybe its al quaeda and another jihadists?

      or assad which use chemical weapons and kill thousnds of people every day (btw in 5 years of the war in syria 10 times more civilians died than the entire death toll of 70 years of israeli palestinian conflict).

      maybe iraqi shia militas which supported by iran and doing ongoin massacre of the sunnis?

      maybe the salafi kingdom of saudi arabia or shia fanatic theocracy of iran?

      pls point on any tolerant moderate force which have a chance to win this war if you will destroy israel and america will leave?

      (p.s and no i am not saying that american intervention is needed in the middle east i am just saying that its irelevant and it will not change much if u.s will leave the region so its not about any neocon apologistics).

    7. Dan, why do you classify Assad as a Muslim movement? The Assad family have been Arab Nationalists who opposed Islamism for the entire time they've controlled Syria. They were actually helping the US fight terrorism after 9/11 until the Obama administration made the boneheaded decision to oppose Assad.

      Much as we both loathe the Saudi Kingdom Of Horrors, Israel has been collaborating with Saudi against Iran's sphere for some years now, and have been caught giving medical aid to Al-Nusra terrorists in the Golan Heights. Wouldn't you agree that this support for the Sunni lunatics against Iran is playing with fire on the part of the Israeli's? Iran says a lot of nasty things, but they're not Sunni, they're not Arab, they look down on the Arabs since the Arabs culturally appropriated from them, their religious group been persecuted historically in Sunni majority states, the Sunni Arabs are gonna be long term enemies, there's no border, no land grievance to settle...the list could go on. Israel warming up relations, and working with Iran, against their mutual Sunni Arab enemies seems to be a much better idea for the Israeli's long term interests than warming up relations with the Saudis. The opposite is true for Iran, incidently, and it's a shame neither the Iranian's or Israeli's seem to notice these long term mutual interests and mutual enemies.

    8. SHN

      Assad is not islamist but assad is not a moderate liberal democrat as well and he is not even close to.

      second assad familiy are not arab natioanlists but they represent the interests of the Alawi minority which is part of the shia camp.

      now about israeli policies.

      1.the only collaboration between israelis and saudis been about the nuclear program of iran there is no other collaboration and israel have nothing to do with the sunni camp or the shia camp its just that netanyahu obssesion with iranian nuclear program was fitting well the saudi agenda about the subject.

      but saudi arabia try to court israel for a long time i dont deny that but thats where its end.

      2.Israel give medical help to any wounded syrian no matter their affiliation

      now do israeli hospitals taking care of al nusra members as well? yes

      do israel negotiate with the wounded al nusra members? yes again for 3 main reasons insure that jihadists will not attack the druze minority in syria (since many syrian druze are relatives of israeli druze which are integral part of israeli society). get intel about the situation in syria (actually this guys give a lot of useful intel about the situation which supplied to western intel services as well).

      C.they are currently close to the israeli border and medical treatment help to convince them to keep busy themself with another groups in syria instead of trying and attacking israel.

      but i will tell you another suprising thing israeli doctors cared and will care about assad soldiers as well.

      D.i know that persians are persecuted minority i know that they are the ones who are really responsible for the islamic golden age in the middle east,and i know that shia muslims always been persecuted minority as well.

      but the fact that shia muslims and persians are persecuted minority and they are against the sunni camp dont really make a serious point why israel should support them.

      the important question which i would like to ask you is how the shia camp is any better than the sunni camp for israel or the west or even for the middle east?

    9. I didn't disagree with you placing Assad alongside Islamists because of him having sympathy towarsd liberalism; you live in the only country in the Levant that has any tradition of liberalism. I disagreed with you placing Assad alongside Islamists because Arab Nationalists oppose them. Kind of thrown by you not classifying the Assad regime as Arab Nationalist; they've been so for decades, and played a key role in the transition from Pan-Arab Nationalism to regional Arab nationalism. The Alawites being the heavy hitters in the Syrian military predates Syria being Arab nationalist; the French placed them in that role. Their reconciliation with Iran and the Shi'a is only a few decades old, and has more to do with regional power politics than theology. Aren't the Alawites a lot more cosmopolitan and western than other Muslim sects?

      Onto Israel:

      Perhaps I'm misreading, but this piece from the JPost seems to suggest that they've met in secret five times since 2014 to discuss the common threat posed by Iran:

      This piece in Haaretz similarly reveals that Israel had a hand in Egypt and Saudi settling their issues over Tiran and Sanafir:

      Doesn't this seem to indicate that the collaboration goes a bit deeper than just concern over Iran's nuclear program?

      You've laid out coherent reasons why Israel gave aid to Al-Nusra. Allow me to actually state a coherent question this time: Don't you think Israel is better served with Assad staying in power, than with the Sunni's seizing power? I'm thinking chiefly about the Golan Heights here; Assad might rattle some sabres here and there, but he's content with the status quo in the Golan. The Sunni's may wish to take it back, which would create a real nightmare for the Israeli's.

      To list off four reasons why Israel would be better served working with Iran against the Sunni Arabs, than working with Saudi Arabia against Iran:
      1) The Iranian's aren't Arabs, and they don't share a border with Israel, so they only are part of the larger Israeli/Arab conflict by choice. Saudi Arabia, as Arabs, have greater reasons to maintain hostility to Israel's existence.
      2) The Iranian's aren't Sunni, and they are pretty actively combatting the Sunni Jihadists in the region. More to the point, the Salafi direction of Sunni Islam is genocidal in it's intent to both the Shi'a and Jews. Both Israel and Iran share long term concerns with how their Sunni Arab neighbors treat them.
      3) When Haaretz ran this article on Iran unveiling a monument honoring the Jewish soldiers who lost their lives in the war against Iraq:

      The Saudi owned media was attacking the Iranians for having the audacity to honor Jews, mixing up anti-Shi'ism with anti-Semitism as they're want to do.
      4) The Shi'a are far more competent than the Sunni, especially on the battlefield. While many forces are Arab and one should be careful to not overstate Iran's influence with these groups, Iran's role as the senior partner could weaken the threat these groups pose to Israel.

      On a more personal note, it'd be a pretty glorious dose of historic justice to see the Sunni power bloc bow to a Jewish/Shi'a bloc.

    10. SHN

      about assad familiy yes they supported arab nationalism but it was natural to support arab natiaonlim for a secterian/ethnic minority because its helped it to get legitimization.

      but in reality there was always soft secterian apartheid (if we can call it this way) which basically promised better life for the alawis and way better oppurtinities for them. you are right in many aspect the shia bloc is more competent than the sunni bloc.

      but the problem here is that if iran will take care of the sunni and will able to dominate the region they will not be much better for israel than saudi arabia because their next goal will be israel if nothing will change with their ideology any time soon.

      i understand your arguement and actually jews and persians have a history of really warm relationships since antiquity but i cant see how iranians will wish to have warm relationships again with their current regime.

  5. GRRR! Started to type something and hit the back button with my mouse and lost it. Will take this up on another day. These will get at what I was going to bring up:

  6. While Fernandez-Morera's idealization of the Visigoths is odd given this books does a great job debunking the idealization of Al-Andalusia, the issues raised with the histiography of Al-Andalusia are legitimate, and I don't get the impression Fernandez-Morera's is pulling a Hagerism in this book. Those who are interested in further reading on Al-Andalusia that is critical of the Muslims would be advised to check out Roger Collins' "Caliphs and Kings: Spain, 796-1031". Kevin, you may also appreciate W. Montgomery Watt's "A History Of Islamic Spain"; LK and others may find him too sympathetic for their tastes (although Watt really unleashed on Muslims in "Islam and Modernity", which doesn't get talked about much).

    LK is absolutely correct to note that the popular notion of Al-Andalus as some haven of multiculturalism and religious tolerance is a myth, although one could argue that periods of Muslim rule in Al-Andalus (particularly prior to the Almohads) were more tolerant of religious minorities and dissenting views than their nieghbors. This is an overarching pattern within Islamic societies; while tolerance of religious minorities and other ethnic groups often exceeded that of Christian Europes prior to the rise of secularism is Europe, it was very dependent on regionalism and who was in charge, and even in the best periods, it was not some pluralistic multicultural society of equals. Not everyone was Sulayman The Magnificient, nor was everyone the Almohads.

    It is notable that much of the really rotten policies in Muslim Spain occurred during the 10th and 11th centuries. There was a significant closing of the Muslim mind during this period, due to a combination of hubris and decadence; Egypt became Muslim majority around this period as well, after being Christian majority for centuries after Muslim rule. While one wants to be wary of being too reductionist, the hubris that came over Islam was a significant contributor to the end of the golden age, and the beginning of Islam as leaning towards a more obscurantist practice. Given the situation today, it is worth nothing that when Islamic societies were comparatively open to outside ideas and influences, and were more tolerant of religious minorities, they had a golden age of which saw the creation of the largest land empire in the world, and when they closed their minds to outside ideas, they collapsed.

    1. although one could argue that periods of Muslim rule in Al-Andalus (particularly prior to the Almohads) were more tolerant of religious minorities and dissenting views than their nieghbors

      Aaannnnnddd... that's why I say I would rather live there than be an Arab in Israeli occupied Palestine.

    2. SHN,

      Question for you: How much of what Fernandez-Morera says is legit criticism of Muslim Spain and how much of it is dependent on an over-enamoration with Western-style egalitarian and democratic values? I saw somewhere on a review of his book that Christians were allowed to drink in their own communities, but were punished for doing do outside of them. How many things does he talk about that are just hangnails that he's morphed into a shotgun wound?

      Thanks for the recommendation of Watt.

    3. For the past few decades, there have been issues raised the historiography of the Muslim world during the early middle period, and Morera's work is partially a response to that issue within modern Orientalist scholarship. While this is an oversimplification, those who dissent from the Orientalist consensus take issue with the bias of the sources used to construct our understanding of those periods, as well as the voices that were not listened to; this is compounded by the fact that archaelogical evidence for these events is practically non-existent. Crone's Hagerism was an important book in this regard, and brought the challenges into the mainstream; however, the counterargument put forward was so absurd that Crone and her coauthor disowned it decades ago. While this pattern of countering common narratives with historical arguments that are on even shakier ground is unfortunately common with many who engage in revisionist scholarship, Fernandez-Morera has avoided many of these pitfalls. While you are correct to note that the periods of tolerance that occured during the centuries of Muslim Spain indicates Islam does not need to be inherently obscurantist, Morera's work still contributes a great deal to our understanding of the complexities of religious life in Al-Andalus, and shows that the picture is a more complicated than the popular notion, and the consensus of Orientalists over the past century, have allowed.

      I do not know enough about Spain under Visigoth/Suebi domination to feel comfortable making a comparison between religious tolerance before and the Muslims conquered Iberia after. Given the Muslims took over Spain during a period when they were still open to adopting the ideas of outsiders, it wouldn't shock me to find out that the superior tolerance (relative to their neighbors) in the 8th and 9th centuries were Visigoth traditions that the Muslims continued. On the other hand, given both the Suebi and Visigoth are Central Germanic tribes that just happened to end up in Iberia during the Barbarian migrations, and the Muslims had used tolerance of religious minorities as part of their strategies of conquest (It's doubtful the early Arab conquests would've been as rapid and successful if it were not for the many willing infidel allies who likely viewed Muslim rule as a respite from decades of conflict and secetarian massacres between the ERE and Sassanids), it would similarly not surprise me to find out Muslims were more tolerant than their predecessors during certain periods of Muslim rule. Perhaps someone who comments and is more familiar with Spain under the Visigoths could offer some clarification.

      Glad you'll check out Watt; his scholarship in general is certainly right up your alley. He's widely considered to take the most sympathetic view towards Islam and it's influence of the English language Orientalists. As a result, folk who challenge the historiography of the early middle period tend to view Watt's work as a big part of this larger issue in Orientalist scholarship. Given you're a Christian, it may interest you to know that Watt was an Episcopal bishop, and noted that his study of Islamic theology, particularly it's emphasis on the oneness of God, ended up influencing his understanding of the trinity.

  7. Oh, and on the topic of an idealized view of cultural/religious pluralism during an historical era...LK, if I was one of those lying liberals you called out claiming America has always been a land of tolerance for immigration and multicultiralism, I feel the need to clarify that I do not belief in such an absurdity. If I've said things in the past that gave you the impression I believed America was such a fantasy land, my apologies for doing such an awful job stating my views. When I suggested that the dominant culture of the UK and the US regarding immigration may explain some of the differences between you and Kevin, I wasn't trying to suggest that America is some pluralist multicultural utopia. I only meant to suggest that America's culture has been influenced by immigration and assimilation from the beginning (as the policies you listed indicate), and that it would be reasonable to suggest that this could lead to some differences in how those who are culturally American and those who live in the UK view the issue.

    1. if I was one of those lying liberals you called out claiming America has always been a land of tolerance for immigration and multicultiralism, I feel the need to clarify that I do not belief in such an absurdity. If I've said things in the past that gave you the impression I believed America was such a fantasy land, my apologies for doing such an awful job stating my views

      The fact that I have been recommending Gerald Horne is a clue that I don't see things that way, either.

      I only meant to suggest that America's culture has been influenced by immigration and assimilation from the beginning (as the policies you listed indicate), and that it would be reasonable to suggest that this could lead to some differences in how those who are culturally American and those who live in the UK view the issue

      Exactly what I was saying.

  8. Thanks for bringing this topic!

    The idealization of al-andalus is common in the spanish left. We had almost 40 years of ultra-patriotic fascist dictatorship that pushed on everybody propaganda about the visigoths, the reconquest and the Empire, and after it fell in 1978, people felt that it was needed to counter all this propaganda. Sadly, the "progressive" forces fell in the logical trap of systematically despising everything that the dictatorship liked. So the idea that al-andalus was some kind of utopia became common. Not so much because the left liked islam (except some extreme cases in the andalusian left), but because anyone that would push the idea that al-andalus was not an utopia, or that christians could represent anything but backwardness, was seen as ultra-right. I'm not surprised that Fernández-Morera works at USA, the university establishment in Spain is a terrible circlejerk that too often ends up blocking any view that goes against the mainstream.

  9. Yep, Commmie-baiter. A true sign of ab ideologue masquerading as a historian:

  10. Kevin, I don't really understand what your comparisons are attempting to prove