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C Caliphate’s conuest of Spain Far from a land of religious tolerance Islamic Spain was marked by religious and therefore cultural repression in all areas of life and the marginalization of Christians and other groups all this in the service of social control by autocratic rulers and a class of religious authoriti. This books re examines and re interprets the depiction of the historical territory of Al Andalus medieval Spain under Islamic rule The author asserts that historical facts have been molded to suit modern political agendas That is he asserts that the unpleasant realities of history have been downplayed in order to advance a liberal agenda He asserts that the notion of Muslims Jews and Christians living in relative harmony in Al Andalus is a myth perpetuated for political purposes including advocating multi culturalism and religious tolerance I m in two minds about this book Firstly of course I know that historians don t always have all the necessary facts and need to do some guesswork Of course I know that history gets refashioned to suit the purposes of the day and can be re visited and re interpreted from many perspectives Of course I know that history is a tool that can be used to advance ideological agendas Of course I know that historians are biased by things like their own beliefs and by where funding comes from And of course I know that the medieval period wasn t some wonderful paradise But my main problem with this book is that the author isn t even handed in his approach The author criticises what he sees as the overly positive depiction of Al Andalus without acknowledging that most other Western depictions of Islamic history are overly biased in the opposite direction He doesn t put the depiction Al Andalus in context that is as a rare positive depiction of Islam situated within many long centuries of anti Islamic sentiment This context is of vital importance when interrogating how the positive depiction of Al Andalus came about and what impact such a depiction actually has Additionally the author is critical of historical inaccuracy when it paints Muslims in a positive light but has nothing to say of historical inaccuracy when it depicts Muslims in a negative light Likewise he is uick to criticise liberals for refashioning history to serve their purposes but has nothing to say about conservatives doing the same exact thing And he shows absolutely no insight into how his re interpretation of history will be used for political purposes Which is to say this book promotes Islamophobia This book will be used to justify discrimination against Muslims But the author doesn t acknowledge this Nor does he show any insight into his own biases Instead the author endeavours to portray himself as one of the few disinterested historians who can see the unbiased facts of history And this is why I ultimately did not like this book Just like the myth it aims to debunk this book is interpretation and political propaganda masuerading as historical fact

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The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise

Rera tells the full story of Islamic Spain The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise shines light on hidden history by drawing on an abundance of primary sources that scholars have ignored as well as archaeological evidence only recently unearthedThis supposed beacon of peaceful coexistence began of course with the Islami. The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise Muslims Christians and Jews Under Islamic Rule in Medieval Spain by Dario Fernandez Morera is a polemic against the proponents of La Convivencia The Coexistence the belief that Muslims Christians and Jews lived in relative peace and harmony in southern and central Spain under Islamic rule between the years 711 and 1492 This book is also secondarily a polemic against the claim that Medieval Spain under Islamic rule was the crucial transmission bridge for Greco Roman philosophy and science to reach the rest of Europe A polemic can play an important role in our search for a deeper understanding of a topic A polemic is intentionally one sided It doesn t try to give the whole story It tries to make the strongest possible case for or against a particular view It can help clarify issues Of course the risk of a polemic is that it can set up a Straw Man opponent and then proceed to take down that opponent I haven t read any of Morera s opponents books so I don t know if he has fairly characterized their claims I can say he has written a thought provoking book Yet I think this book would have been even better if Morera had cast the material into a people s history mold instead of a polemic mold More about this idea below The book has a bit of a courtroom feel As a reader you are a member of the jury The defendant on trial is Islamic ruled Spain The defense attorneys are the proponents of La Convivencia and the transmission bridge theory The names of the proponents and their specific claims introduce every chapter and main section of this book These claims are then shown to be false by the prosecutor Morera And the verdict Guilty In my opinion Morera s strongest point is that the paradigm of colonialism should be applied to Islamic ruled Spain Like British colonialists in India and European colonialists in the Western Hemisphere Muslim colonialists invaded conuered and ruled the Indigenous peoples Christians and Jews of Medieval Spain Once you acknowledge the paradigm of colonialism most if not all of Morera s points make sense The majority of the book explores the difficult daily life of the Indigenous peoples under Islamic rule and the poor treatment of Christians Jews and women Ultimately no matter how many examples of good treatment of the Indigenous peoples can be found they nevertheless remained under colonial subjugation For the majority of Indigenous peoples Medieval Spain under colonial rule was closer to a Dystopia than to a Utopia The colonialism paradigm also implies if I understand Morera correctly that the period after 1492 should be regarded as a period of decolonialization in Spain and Portugal A process of decolonialization can involve a period of misery suffering and movements to extremes in the decolonized region think of some of the former European colonies The decolonialization of Spain and Portugal in the 1500s and early 1600s saw the expulsion or conversion of the remaining colonialists their collaborators and the Jews by the Spanish Inuisition Morera s secondary polemic is against the claim that Islamic ruled Spain was the transmission bridge that provided Renaissance Europe with the ancient Greco Roman world s science philosophy and culture Morera makes two points against this claim First he demonstrates that the Visigoth culture that existed in Spain in the year 711 was advanced than the culture of the colonial invaders and if anything the Indigenous culture s development was slowed down and stifled during the period of Islamic rule Any positive cultural achievements of Islamic ruled Spain were based in large part on the pre existing Indigenous culture Morera s second point is that Renaissance Europe didn t need to rely on a transmission bridge through Islamic ruled Spain to reach Greco Roman culture because it had an eight lane super highway my analogy between Rome and Constantinople during the Medieval period Morera s decision to cast this material into a polemic mold means this book is also about the agendas subjectivity and pre conceived notions of historians including Morera And it s about battles and Groupthink among academics The disadvantage of a polemic is that it divides people and puts them on the defensive Morera has put his hand into a hornet s nest I wonder if any of the defense attorneys named in this book will take the time to consider and address Morera s arguments This book highlights that a positive or negative history book can be written about any country empire religion or group that has ever existed I am reminded of Winston Churchill s uip History will be kind to me for I intend to write it Which brings me to the people s history idea Instead of writing a polemic Morera could have written basically the same book minus the defense attorney uotes with a title like A People s History of Islamic Spain using most of the same information According to Wikipedia A people s history history from below is a type of historical narrative which attempts to account for historical events from the perspective of common people rather than leaders There is an emphasis on the disenfranchised the oppressed the poor the nonconformists and otherwise marginal groups If Morera had taken the people s history approach I think this book would have been even better A final thought on the year 1492 The year 1492 is pivotal for Spain and Portugal for at least three reasons First it marks the end of a several hundred year period of Islamic colonialism Second it marks the beginning of a hundred plus year period of decolonialization And third it marks the beginning of a several hundred year period of Spanish and Portuguese colonialism over the Indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere The formerly oppressed became oppressors This book is an important contribution to the discussion about Islamic ruled Spain I enjoyed it and learned many things I recommend this book to anyone interested in Medieval Spain colonialism or battles among historians Rating 4 out of 5 stars Notes Audiobook Narrated by Bob Souer Length 9 hours and 30 minutes Release Date 2016 06 28 Publisher Tantor Audio

Darío Fernández-Morera å 4 Free read

Scholars journalists and even politicians uphold Muslim ruled medieval Spain “al Andalus” as a multicultural paradise a place where Muslims Christians and Jews lived in harmonyThere is only one problem with this widely accepted account it is a mythIn this book Northwestern University scholar Darío Fernández Mo. Fernandez Morera strips away the veil created by politically correct modern historians to look at the real face of Muslim Spain based on contemporary predominantly Arab sources Conscious that he is taking on the entrenched academic establishment Professor Fernadez Morera documents his book meticulously uoting numerous sources for each assertion and providing than 100 pages of notes What emerges is a hideous image of brutal aggression consciously humiliating oppression and intolerance on all sides Muslim Christian and Jewish This book is not a diatribe against Islam Rather it is a bitter and biting attack on Western historians who in their search for an example to justify their own fantasies about multicultural harmony inside Islam have ignored or consciously distorted the facts For example Fernandes Morera uotes the following passage from another contemporary historian It is important to understand that medieval Islamic civilization had a different attitude toward slavery than that seen in Western Europe Slaves were much better treated and their status was uite honorable Further there were many career opportunities open to a skillful mamluk slave soldier and the higher standards of living available in the Islamic Middle East meant there was often little resistance to being taken as a slave in Central Asia and south eastern Europe Fernandes Morera replies One can certainly imagine the throngs of girls and boys in Greece Serbia and Central Asia clamoring to be taken away from their families to be circumcised to become sexual slaves or to be castrated to guard harems as eunuchs or in other cases to be raised in barracks with the sole purpose of becoming fearless slave soldiers Fernandez Morera systematically debunks the allegations of a relaxed Islam and multicultural euality He does so by uoting Arab sources which among other things brag about the wholescale destruction of churches and the slaughter of Christian prisoners praise the crucifixion of apostates and texts advising Muslims how to collect the tax from non believers Make them stand before Muslims sitting on a raised platform call them enemy of Allah and then push them around for the amusement of any Muslim who wants to enjoy it He also documents the extent to which Islamic Spanish society was dependent on slaves For example Abd al Rahman had 3750 slaves in his court 6300 sexual slaves in his harem and 13 750 slave soldiers Further he notes that slaves were a major export of the kingdom particularly eunuchs castrated Christian males He documents the racism that characterized all blacks as fickle foolish and ignorant and valued white slave girls at almost 15 times that of black slave girlsFernandez Morera reminds readers that in Islamic Spain sharia law was the law of the land and he goes into considerable detail on the specific form of sharia law applied namely the Maliki school of Islamic jurisprudence He points out that the Maliki school far from being particularly liberal and tolerant is one of the conservative schools though not the most conservative an honor that corresponds to the Habali school predominant in the Arabian Peninsula Fernandes Morera p 96 Fernandez Morera points out that Maliki sharia law included many niceties like female genital mutilation even for adult sexual slaves counted a woman as half a man and banned musical instruments and singing altogether as well as painting and sculpture of course The law even went so far as to order a man who bought a non Muslim sex slave and discovered she was a singer to return her p 108 Obviously as Fernandez Morera admits the elites in Muslim Spain as all over the world often ignored the law Non Muslim slave singers and dancers are tolerated and even coveted However he is right to remind his readers that lapses in the application of law do not constitute a positive culture much less a shining example of paradise In short Fernandez Morera uses the Arabic sources to create his picture of Islamic Spain and he applies logic and common sense ruthlessly to expose political correctness masuerading as history This book is important not just to those interested in learning about Medieval Spain but as a lesson in how ideology can pervert allegedly scholarly writing I recommend to everyone with an interest in history and historiography


10 thoughts on “The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise

  1. says:

    Fernandez Morera strips away the veil created by politically correct modern historians to look at the real face

  2. says:

    Edited on 12920 to add Here book chapter based on the blog post on 7619 to add On the basis of my blog post about this book I was invited to contribute a chapter to a volume on extreme right historiography which is forthcoming and which offers a detailed walk through the materials discussed on the blog in greater detail and depth I'll share a link for the full chapter once it appearsAlthough this book claims t

  3. says:

    A while back I was watching a well known travel show on You Tube about the Andalusian area of Spain Once they started going

  4. says:

    The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise Muslims Christians and Jews Under Islamic Rule in Medieval Spain by Dario Fernandez Morera is a polemic against the proponents of La Convivencia The Coexistence the belief that Muslims Christians and Jews lived in relative peace and harmony in southern and central Spain under Islamic rule between the yea

  5. says:

    Excellent reading for people with islami phobic tendencies but little of historical value for anyone else The very broad brush taken by the author to paint the Spanish conuest as an Islamic holy war is ridiculous reason when he himself concedes that the very first raids by the Berbers yielded much booty and many beautiful captives which prompted further attacks Jihad was cited as a reason because Islam was the majority religion of

  6. says:

    The author DESTROYS the myths by John Esposito and other so called Islamic scholars about how wonderful Spain was supposed to have been under Islamic ruleThis book has so many footnotes that you finish reading the epilogue at 49% through the Kindle versionIf you are tired of the kowtowing to Islam by professors whose jobs are endo

  7. says:

    This books re examines and re interprets the depiction of the historical territory of Al Andalus – medieval Spain under Islamic rule The author asserts that historical facts have been molded to suit modern political agendas That is he asserts that the unpleasant realities of history have been downplayed in order to advance a liberal agenda He asserts that the notion of Muslims Jews and Christians living in

  8. says:

    This book is ferociously erudite but tinged with obsession True nearly all modern academic and popular mention of Muslim Spain endorses an easily disproved falsehood—that Muslim Spain was a golden land of toler

  9. says:

    Please give my review a helpful vote Myth of the Andalusian Paradise by Dario Fernandez MoreraThis is a detailed well supported and highly engaging book The thesis of the author Dario Fernandez Morera is that Spain prior to the Muslim conuest was a civilized society that was conuered by barbarians who thereafter usurped the benefits of the higher civilization and impressed their own repressive social structure on the s

  10. says:

    This is a great book that really has me wondering about what passes as scholarship at many of our institutions of higer learning Author Dario Fernandez Morerra begins each chapter with a uote or two from a notewort

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