Corporate Social Negligence!

An Islamic History of Europe – Rageh Omaar

Posted in Europe, Islam, politics, Spain by clash on July 15, 2008

Washington Post’s Scud Stud – Rageh Omaar became a household name during the Iraq war. He was the BBC correspondent in Iraq, when the invasion started.

Iraq was a theater of wars and a magnum opus for a war journo.  Though we enjoyed most of his reports, for him, it would have been an unending torpor. As a Muslim reporting from a war torn Muslim nation,  it wouldn’t have been too difficult for him to discern the politics behind that war. That religion was the underlying bare fact upon which that blatant aggression was set up, was too obvious.

So, Rageh Omaar  embarked on a journey to find a thread in common with these warring religions; his quest led him to the discovery of a Golden Age of Islam in Europe. (Now, i had a heard about Cordoba, probably as a venue for the WRC but i never knew that it had a considerable Arab population once.) His journey now stands here –  An Islamic History of Europe, a superb documentary, a piece of information that i feel everyone should know. I really should thank my dear father for letting me know about this gem of a documentary.

American War of Independence, French Revolution, Sepoy Mutiny…these dominated  the “historic dosages” fed to me during my school days. Nothing about the Spanish revolution. I wonder why! Of all these, i remember Boston Tea Party the best, but for what, i have no clue. There was nothing about the soviet revolution or the Nazi occupation. French Revolution was one of its kind and as an Indian,  Sepoy Mutiny was something we needed to be taught and expected to be known.

But, when I watched, An Islamic History of Europe, I had a feeling that our history text books seriously missed out on a lot of interesting history and concentrated on names – French, American and filled the books with a lot of regulation stuff.

Spain was ruled by Muslims, then known as “Moors”, for some years. Simply put, that’s all i knew about Islam in Europe before watching this documentary. I had no clue about the extent of Islamic influence that Europe underwent, the kind of achievements the Islamic rule in Europe made during a very short time span.

In his marvelously directed documentary, Rageh Omaar visits Spain, Sicily and France tracing a trail of Islam in Europe. In due course, we get to know that in  the 10th century, London was a dungeon of parched huts and settlements, when Cordoba in Spain had 1,13,000 houses, 700 mosques and 300 public baths, spread throughout the city and its twenty-one suburbs for a population of around half a million. Some structures in Cordoba shown in the documentary are simply breath taking.

The Islamic kingdom in Spain did not just stop at making wonderful structures, but their influence in astronomy, literature and science were outstanding. After all Christopher Columbus who set out to East Indies, set on his voyage with the help of maps and astronomical notes devised by the Arabs who were driven out by Ferdinand and Isabella of Portugal.

In his documentary, Rageh Omaar tries to understand a peaceful co-existence that existed between various communities like the Christians, Jews and the Muslims in medieval Europe. He finds  out that, to an extent, these religions did have a peaceful co-existence in Spain or the Iberian peninsula.

It was not the true-blue secularism that we are talking about but it is said that Jews and Christians paid taxes to worship their gods but they were not forced to convert overtly or covertly, as it happens in today’s world.  Followers of all religions had a say in the local governance and the ruler even built churches and synagogues  and collected tax on them too.

This is an interesting and absorbing piece of work as it helps you to discover a thread of history that we often tend to forget or is forcefully made to forget. But as in the case of  certain ages or empires in history, somethings are to be forgotten. But it is always a good thing to get back to history, harp on the good things and move on. Probably a documentary like this might not solve the problems plaguing the world, but it is definitely an eye opener to all of us, who are happy and content in accepting the facts that have been made to believe, textbooks or otherwise.

Watch the Documentary here :

The above youtube link might get deactivated because of copyright infringements but you can always take youtube’s parent company – google’s help to find the video. So, if the link is deactivated, dont get demotivated but do a google search.

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  1. Bookmarks about Corporate said, on August 4, 2008 at 1:15 am

    […] – bookmarked by 1 members originally found by june29 on July 17, 2008 An Islamic History of Europe – bookmarked by 1 members […]

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