Tuesday, 15 April 2014

I mentioned before that I was leaving Cordoba but, in the event, decided to stay a bit longer. For those who don't know, Cordoba has a giant mosque constructed in the early Middle Ages. This was built on an earlier Christian temple and, following the reconquest of the city from the Muslims, the mosque was re-christianised by constructing a cathedral inside it.

The cathedral actually takes only a very small proportion of the space inside the mosque structure (which is the size of a football stadium), but the complex is now officially referred to as "the cathedral, formerly mosque" although, in less formal contexts, everyone refers to it as "la Mezquita". The complex is formally registered as being the property of the Catholic church. But, recently, a campaign has got underway to "expropriate" the building, meaning to dispossess the church of its ownership. Some of these campaigners also demand that the complex should be referred to as the "Mezquita-Cathedral" [Mosque-Cathedral], while others demand that it be called simply the Mezquita [Mosque]. The campaigners are a diverse group of Muslims and leftists. They use noble-sounding rhetoric, claiming simply that the "mosque" is part of the "patrimony of humanity" and as "an example of convivencia" should not be controlled by the Catholic church.

It is clear, though, that their long-term goal is to open the Cathedral-Mezquita as a place for "joint worship", so that it can serve as a functioning mosque again. In fact, some of them have openly declared this position in the past, although they are now more coy about expressing it. So the "expropriation" initiative is just the first-part of a multi-stage campaign. They have already achieved a great deal of publicity in Cordoba, have collected lots of signatures supporting their campaign and are pushing the issue at the UN and in Middle-Eastern countries. Today a Spanish newspaper reports that many of the organisations involved in this campaign are being subsidised by the local government of Andalusia.
Junta Islámica [Islamic Council] e Instituto Halal [Halal Institute] have relied since the time they were founded with the support - direct and indirect - of the Junta de Andalucía [Regional Government of Andalusia] by means of direct subsidies and collaboration programs, as well as the constant presence of prominent members of the autonomous regional government in acts organised by these organisations. In addition, the spokesman for Plataforma Mezquita-Catedral de Córdoba [tn: one of the organisations behind this agitation], Miguel Santiago Losada, leads an organization that also receives significant subsidies from the Junta de Andalucía.
Source: larazon.es

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