(All emphases by Always On Watch)
From 712 until 1492 (when La Reconquista
, the centuries-long process of reclaiming the Iberian Peninsula as Christian territory, was completed), much of Spain was under the boot of the Moors, Muslim tribes from northern Africa. The invasion commenced in 711 and consisted of a combined force of Africans, Berbers, and Arabs landing at Gibraltar and moving northward; these combined forces are commonly referred to as the Moors. By 714, the name of Hispania had been changed to Al-Andalus, a name which reflects that this particular geographical area was a part of the Caliphate.
This period of history was the Age of Feudalism, lacking in central government and effective military defense. Beginning with Agila's
surrender of his lands in 712, the fiefdoms of the Iberian Peninsula surrendered one by one until the northward-moving Moorish forces had subdued all of Hispania. The Moors continued their expansion into France until they were defeated by Eudes of Aquitaine (near Toulouse in 721) and Charles Martel (the Battle of Tours in 732). The Frankish military-defeats of the Moors and the natural barrier of the Pyrenees Mountains, the passes of which were fortified under Charlemagne, thus confined the Moors to the Iberian Peninsula, where the Muslim tribes established an Emirate originally subordinate to the Caliph in Damascus. Because of the large distance from the Damascene Caliph, Muslim rule in Spain was more or less an independent and isolated governance, yet in keeping with the oppression of Christians and Jews according to the Code of Umar
Muslims are presently demanding an apology from the Pope. As Jose Maria Aznar, the former prime minister of Spain, has pointed out,
in this article dated September 23, 2006, no Muslim apology is forthcoming with regard to the Muslim rule of Spain:
"Bush and his war on terror, said the West is under attack from radical Islam and must defend itself. 'It is them or it is us,' Aznar said. 'There is no middle ground.'
"Muslims should apologize for occupying Spain for 800 years and a U.N.-backed program to encourage dialogue between them and West is stupid, former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar has said. Aznar made his comments Friday night in a speech at the Hudson Institute, a thinktank in Washington, D.C., as he discussed Pope Benedict XVI's recent remarks on Islam and violence. Aznar, a firm ally of U.S. President George W. Bush and his war on terror, said the West is under attack from radical Islam and must defend itself. 'It is them or it is us,' Aznar said. 'There is no middle ground.' He did not elaborate. Aznar said he found it surprising that Muslims have demanded an apology from the pope over his Sept. 12 remarks.
"Aznar noted the nearly 800-year Moorish occupation of Spain that began in the year 711 with an invasion from North Africa. He said Muslims had never apologized for this but still demand apologies whenever they feel offended by remarks by non-Muslims. 'It's absurd,' Aznar said.
"He also criticized an initiative launched last year by his Socialist successor, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, to encourage dialogue between the West and Muslim countries."
In at least one of his videotaped speeches, Osama bin Laden referred to "the Andalusan atrocity," meaning the success of La Reconquista
in re-establishing Christian rule on the Iberian Peninsula. Why the mention of events which occurred centuries ago? For one thing, Arabic does not have a past tense in the sense we understand it: what's over is not over and done with. For another, according to Islamic beliefs, once a territory has been claimed for Allah, that territory must forever remain Muslim. Should Muslim rule be overthrown, as was the case in Spain, it is the duty of Muslims to reclaim that territory for Allah.
Now, toward the beginning of Ramadan, the Pope has met with Muslims to discuss their offended sensitivities and has asked for reciprocity with regard to religious tolerance? What was the outcome of a previous similar meeting many centuries ago? Agila, the first Iberian Visigoth to surrender to the Moors, found dialogue ineffective
, even after his uncle's previous alliance with the Moors:
"Agila's uncle, Oppas, bishop of Toledo, solicited the aid of the Moslems of Morocco against Roderic and it was this which led to the conquest of the peninsula in 711. When Roderic died in battle against the Moors, Agila was probably crowned in Toledo.
"In 712, he [Agila] travelled to Toledo to meet the Moslem leader, Tariq ibn Ziyad. He received no mercy for his conquered subjects and lands."
Granted, the Pope's meeting with Muslim leaders has not come about because of a military defeat. But there are other kinds of defeat as well, including ideological defeat. Ideological defeats are often a matter of subtle perceptions. From such perceptions, beliefs and ideological movements grow stronger or weaker. Western civilization is, once again, at the crossroads of two opposing ideologies.
[Hat-tip to Gravelrash of Democracy Frontline
for alerting me to the above article about Jose Maria Aznar]