quarta-feira, maio 12, 2004

Mosque of Cordoba

Fr. Samir says Islamic “re-conquest” is possible thanks to Europe’s loss of identity

"Beirut (AsiaNews) – The desire to "regain" the Mosque of Cordoba, now a Cathedral since 1236, is a clear sign of the Muslim tendency to “re-conquer” Europe. However, “the support given by certain Spanish government leaders in the city (of Cordoba) makes it all the more manifest just how much Europe has ‘lost its identity’, widespread now across the continent”, Fr. Samir Khalil, a professor in Beirut told AsiaNews.

Jesuit Father Samir Khalil, 68, is one of the world’s greatest experts on the Islamic and Arab world. Of Egyptian origin, he worked for years in Egypt and Lebanon. To this very day he divides his time between teachings at St. Joseph’s University in Beirut and the Pontifical Institute of Oriental Studies in Rome.

Fr. Samir said “many Spanish Muslims have the idea of re-conquering Europe, reaffirmed “months ago by the Imam of Granada, at the laying of the first stone ceremony at the city’s new mosque before the King of Spain!”

AsiaNews asked Fr. Samir how many churches have been converted into mosques and whether Christians, imitating Muslim faithful in Cordoba, would want to “win them back”.

“There not (even) capable of responding,” he said. “I can say with absolute certainty that there are hundreds (of such converted churches) and that this has frequently happened throughout history. Just think of Santa Sophia in Istanbul, the Ummayade mosque in Damascus and the Ibn Tulum mosque in Cairo built with remains of destroyed churches.”

“To this end I would like to point out one fact: the famous mosque of Cordoba –originally a church before it became a mosque—is still almost entirely intact, thanks to the Christians who took care to preserve it. In other cases, the buildings immediately underwent so much violence that the church’s original structure is now almost unrecognizable.”

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