There’s a reason why anti-Muslim ideology hasn’t found a home in Portugal

Monastry in Lisbon

The Jeronimos Monastery is one of the most prominent examples of Late Gothic Manueline style of architecture in Lisbon AP. The Muslim heritage and promotion of secularism are the best defense against Islamophobia and we have the best collection on these themes

Source: Independent

By Robert Fisk

The Arabs were regarded as exotic and educated peoples whose own culture was never erased from the streets of Portugal’s cities

The ramparts of the Portuguese Castle of the Moors – “Castelo dos Mouros” – fell to the Christians of the Second Crusade in 1147, a bunch of thieves and drunkards, according to local reports, which included a fair number of Brits. There’s a story that a huge fortune in gold and coins still lies beneath the castle’s broken and much-restored walls, hidden there by the Moors when Afonso Henriques’ thugs were climbing the hills above Sintra. My guess is there’s none. Our relations with the Muslims have always revolved, it seems to me, around money and jealousy. Besides, the Crusaders looted their way across Lisbon – after a solemn agreement with the King that they could do so – and then massacred and raped their way through the panic-stricken Muslim population.

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Suggested reading

How Islam Taught Medieval Christian Europe Religious and Political Tolerance

How Europe came to forget about its Arabic heritage

Former mosque in portugal.jpg

View of Mértola; the Main Church, formerly a mosque, is on the foreground.

3 replies

  1. Robert Fisk writes about the monastery shown in this article:

    “The Manueline monastery cloisters which I walked through next door, however, are dripping with Arab-style archways and Arabesque tiles (which you might find today in Algeria and Tunisia).”

  2. Robert Fisk is a top journalist and one of my favourites. I have yet to read the articles, but a quick comment now. The time of the Muslims in Portugal and Spain was certainly one of the high points in their history, as was that of the Ottomans and in India under the Moghuls. However, their greatness was in already fairly highly developed areas which they colonised. And there, like with most empires, they rose and fell. It has happened with more recent colonialism too. Was the colonialism by Arabs any more ethical than that of the British, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Belgians, Italians, etc? In all cases it was a matter of conquer and rule. And in most cases the episode of power ended, although the Europeans remained in North America, Australia and New Zealand, as well as their on-going attempts of control in South Africa.

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