If al Qaeda did mastermind Spain's bloodiest bomb attacks, its militants could claim to have caused a spectacular election upset in Madrid, but some analysts said the defeated government only had itself to blame...Christopher Caldwell discussing 'Islam Today' by Cambridge professor Akbar S. Ahmed:
"If the al Qaeda network is behind these attacks, then you can certainly say that al Qaeda is responsible for removing the Popular Party from government," said Charles Powell, assistant professor at San Pablo-CEU University...
"If (British Prime Minister) Tony Blair ends up looking lonely (over Iraq) then that's his problem," said Carlos Berzosa, the rector of Madrid's Complutense University. "The Spanish people voted to live in peace."
...for Ahmed the ideal model of an Islamic society is Muslim Spain. Which, incidentally, he seems to want back. It was Ahmed who coined the term "Andalus syndrome" to describe the "sense of injustice, of loss, of the cruelty of the world" that results from the realization that Islam does not now control every single scrap of territory it once seized. Needless to say, what Ahmed is expressing is not the human condition but a kind of irredentism peculiar to Islam. (And perhaps universal to it, if we're to judge from the disproportionate anguish that the very existence of Israel seems to occasion.) For all Osama Bin Laden's moaning about the Crusader impulse, it has probably been eight centuries since a Christian last wept over Islam's subjugation of the historically Christian lands of Syria, Anatolia, and North Africa...(Click 'MORE' directly below to read much more raw material about the "Andalus syndrome")
Saladin's victories marked the turning point in Muslim fortunes because, according to later Islamic historiography, he could be represented as having converted what had merely been a series of fairly small skirmishes between Europeans and Arabs into a grander epic of jihad to repulse "Crusader Imperialism" and extend Islam's borders into the Christians' own backyard. Thus, bin Laden megalomaniacally fantasizes himself a new Saladin, a great captain who will not just repel but will actually crush the Christian West.From this:
Bin Laden is not, as American equivocators would have it, merely annoyed about the America's "colonialist" occupation of Saudi Arabia or Washington's apparent support for Israel. No, his goal is both irrational and unrealistic, which makes it doubly dangerous. Irrational because it cannot be assuaged by "domestic reforms" or US political compromises; unrealistic because it fantasies creating a global Islamist empire. In his historically derived ideological utopianism, if little else, bin Laden is indeed a worthy heir to Hitler and Stalin.
Avenging the defeats of the past centuries and rebuilding the "umma" are bin Laden's central goals. Striking any country aiding the Anglo-American campaign in Iraq is al-Qa'eda's current priority... All these objectives would be served by attacking Spain.
Christopher Jones says: "I remember a televised interview with Osama (very possibly one of the first) where he even had a world map ? la Hitler, in which the Islamic world and its future lebensraum was colored, you guessed it, in green. Al Andalus was very clearly seen in that color. Of course, there has always been some problems with the translation". RH: I am sure that Osama speaks for a lot of people in the Arab world.From this:
What's it have to do with Spain? Virginia Postrel proposes a "Bin Laden Doctrine": "that no Muslim territory should ever become non-Muslim." Bin Laden opened his videotaped statement with this sentence: "Let the whole world know that we shall never accept that the tragedy of Andalusia would be repeated in Palestine. We cannot accept that Palestine will become Jewish." The "tragedy of Andalusia" refers to the conquering in 1492 of the Muslim Kingdom of Granada by the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella. It was a central moment in the Islamic empire's quest for political and military power: Muslim expansion was not just checked; it was reversed. If Bin Laden truly wants to restore the original geographic dimensions of the caliphate, he may eventually look toward Spain. Of course, it's possible that Bin Laden's goals are more modest (modest being a relative word).Here's an excerpt from Akbar S. Ahmed's 'Living Islam':
Muslims have yet to discover how to use the media to project ideas and images of their own culture and civilization. A perfect example comes from Muslim Spain. Although the King of Spain has dutifully apologized to Jews for what his ancestors did to them in the fifteenth century with the fall of Granada, he has not apologized to Muslims. It is known that he is keen to build bridges but still awaits a Muslim initiative on the matter. From this it appears that Muslims who are so acutely aware of the loss of Andalusia in their popular literary culture find it difficult to translate this into realpolitik and international diplomacy. The failure to do so has cost them heavy. They are always lagging behind in the world, and the injustices inflicted on them are barely mentioned.From this:
The real issue, as Bernard Lewis has argued, is that Islamist terrorists and their sympathizers are in permanent and furious denial of the state of the contemporary Muslim world. We are getting close to Al Qaeda's real motivation, I believe, when bin Laden's chief deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, swears that "the tragedy of al-Andalus"--that is the reconquest of Spain by Christians, completed in 1492--must not be repeated. The Islamic world, once a united empire boasting the world's most advanced culture, is today a patchwork of mostly poor, despotic states that lag behind the rest of the world in political, economic, and cultural development. Modern Islamists are drastically out of step with the modern world; they know it and they hate it. They cannot be placated by any change in American policy, whether reasonable or far-fetched. They can only be satisfied by the reestablishment of an Islamic caliphate, governed by sharia, from Morocco to Indonesia. As such, American strategy in the "war on terrorism" (better described as a war on members of Al Qaeda and affiliated groups) is justifiably one-pronged, with that prong being the killing or capturing of Islamist militants.From this:
...on Thursday, a muezzin is calling Spanish Muslims to prayer at the first mosque to be opened in Granada since the reconquista, the culmination of a 22-year-old project that has been plagued by controversy.From 'The Corrosive Hagiography of Muslim Spain':
For those who built the Great Mosque of Granada, which looks out onto the once highly symbolic Alhambra Palace, its inauguration - attended by a string of Muslim and non-Muslim dignitaries - heralds a new dawn for the faith in Europe.
"The mosque is a symbol of a return to Islam among the Spanish people and among indigenous Europeans that will break with the malicious concept of Islam as a foreign and immigrant religion in Europe," says Abdel Haqq Salaberria, a spokesman for the mosque and convert to Islam.
"It will act as a focal point for the Islamic revival in Europe."
...At a time when the Islamic faith is viewed with some suspicion within Europe, Spanish Muslims are hoping to remind the continent of the vast cultural and intellectual contribution made by the Moors, to art and architecture, astronomy, music, medicine, science, and learning.
Their rule is also seen by some historians as an example of religious tolerance in medieval Europe.
The Moorish period in southern Spain saw Muslims and Jews living side-by-side. The city of Cordoba became a cultural centre for both faiths, while universities sprang up in cities across Andalucia. Trade and industry also flourished.
Celebratory announcements July 10, 2003 of a "return of Islam to Spain" marked the completion of the new Granada Mosque. Unfortunately, at a conference entitled, "Islam in Europe" that accompanied the opening of the mosque, some alarming statements were made by European Muslim leaders. For example, the keynote speaker at this conference, Umar Ibrahim Vadillo, a Spanish Muslim leader, implored Muslims to cause an economic collapse of Western economies (by switching to gold dinars, and ceasing to use Western currencies), while the German Muslim leader Abu Bakr Rieger told attendees not to adapt their Islamic religious practices to accommodate European (i.e., Western Enlightenment) values.From Senator Joe Biden's Address to the People?s Congress of Libya:
Consider this: the combined gross domestic product of all Arab countries in 1999 was less than that of a single European country ? Spain. Think about that for a moment. And then think back a thousand years. Spain was part of a great Arab empire which encompassed most of the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Why did you thrive then? It was not your armies alone. It was your ideas, your civilization, your culture, your openness. Why has this one small territory - then called Al Andalus, now called Spain - outpaced the rest of the Arab world combined today.
What are we calling you to, and what do we want from you?Not related to Spain, but informative nonetheless, is 'Bin Ladin: The Man Who Would Be Mahdi':
...The first thing that we are calling you to is Islam.
...You are the nation who, rather than ruling by the Shariah of Allah in its Constitution and Laws, choose to invent your own laws as you will and desire...
The first step in dealing with any self-proclaimed Mahdi would be for the United States and its Muslim allies to rely on Muslim scholars, preferably practicing Muslims themselves, to denigrate Mahdist claims, by portraying Mahdism as a kind of superstition, and by pointing out incompatibilities between the Mahdist claimant and the hadiths.From 'History points finger at revenge for lost Moor kingdom':
Is Osama bin Laden dreaming of exacting revenge for the loss of Al-Andalus, the ancient Moorish kingdom in Iberia?From Mark Steyn:
...While the authentiticy of the message [from the Abu Hafs brigade taking credit for 3/11] is open to doubt, there is no question that it reflects the thinking of Islamists, who hold that any land which has once been part of the Muslim community should forever remain under Muslim rule...
If Islamic terrorism were as rational as Irish or Basque terrorism, it would be easier. But Hussein Massawi, former leader of Hezbollah, summed it up very pithily: "We are not fighting so that you will offer us something. We are fighting to eliminate you." You can be pro-America (Spain, Australia) or anti-America (France, Canada), but if you broke into the head cave in the Hindu Kush and checked out the hit list you'd be on it either way.From Andrew Sullivan:
So the choice for pluralist democracies is simple: You can join Bush in taking the war to the terrorists, to their redoubts and sponsoring regimes. Despite the sneers that terrorism is a phenomenon and you can't wage war against a phenomenon, in fact you can ? as the Royal Navy did very successfully against the malign phenomena of an earlier age, piracy and slavery.
Or you can stick your head in the sand and paint a burqa on your butt. But they'll blow it up anyway.
But there's another obvious reason for the targeting of Spain. It was once in part a Muslim-controlled country. The agenda of bin Laden and other Islamo-fascists is to reconquer those regions in Europe and the former Soviet Empire for a new Islamic Reich.From 'What Does Osama Bin Laden Want?':
Is there anything we can do to persuade Bin Laden to stop? The terror groups Americans are familiar with?Palestinian bombers and hijackers, IRA hard men?have desires we understand. They perform acts of terror in order to gain sympathy or sow fear. That sympathy or fear is a means to their end: political recognition, a state, compensation. They seek to participate in our world.From 'After 500 years, Granada's Muslims get their mosque':
But Bin Laden and his followers are alarming because they don't want anything from us. They don't want our sympathy. They want no material thing we can offer them. They don't want to participate in the community of nations. (They don't really believe in the nation-state.) They are motivated by religion, not politics. They answer to no one but their god, so they certainly won't answer to us.
And history is alive in the memories of Muslims. The yearning for a return to Islam's cherished province of Al-Andalus is often the subject of Islamic poetry.From OBL's 10/03 speech:
Osama bin Laden has frequently mentioned the Muslim claim on the territory that for many symbolises the apex of Islamic learning and culture.
Although widespread Spanish opposition to the project has subsided recently, nonetheless it took 22 years for the Granada city authorities to grant permission for the building, the first mosque built for native Spanish Muslims rather than immigrants since the reconquista.
Looking out across the Sierra Nevada mountains and the Alhambra, Abdul Haqq, 42, a Basque who converted to Islam 12 years ago, said: "Granada has historically been the capital of European Islam. Some people convert because of their search for their roots - others like me joined as a matter of faith."
At first, locals fiercely opposed the project. Proposals for an elegant building at the heart of Granada's oldest district, the old Muslim quarter, resulted in graffiti such as "Moros fuera" ("Moors out!").
"We reserve the right to retaliate at the appropriate time and place against all countries involved, especially the UK, Spain, Australia, Poland, Japan and Italy, not to exclude those Muslim states that took part, especially the Gulf states, and in particular Kuwait, which has become a beachhead for the crusading forces."
Terrorism · Mon, 03/15/2004 - 00:50 · Importance: 4