Gatestone Institute: All had been relatively quiet at the Córdoba Cathedral for more than 750 years, until January 2004, when Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden began encouraging Muslims to “reconquer” Spain for Islam by declaring it to be “the lost Al-Andalus.” Many Muslims believe that much of Spain still belongs to them, and that they have every right to return and establish their rule there.
A court in southern Spain has acquitted eight Muslims who were accused of resorting to violence to break a ban on Muslim prayers in a cathedral in the city of Córdoba. The church was once the world’s second-biggest mosque and remains the single most powerful symbol of Islam in Spain.
Some observers say the ruling, which caught Spanish public prosecutors completely by surprise, reflects a desire by local judges to dispense with a highly sensitive case that has the potential to inflame Muslim sensibilities.
But the ruling is likely to embolden the growing Muslim community in Spain and elsewhere, who believe they have a legitimate claim to the historic monument because of its former identity as a mosque.
The trial, held at Criminal Court of Córdoba on February 4, 2013, involved an incident that took place on March 31, 2010 at the Córdoba Cathedral, also known as the Great Mosque of Córdoba, one of the most visited monuments in Spain.