Saturday, 18 May 2013

Did Ferdinand and Isabella Get It Right?



To this day, the Muslims of the world lament the loss of Andalus, the Arabic name for their Spanish Kingdom. While every Muslim knows what a mortal blow the loss of Spain was, few in the West are aware that even after the fall of Granada, the Spanish were not so easily rid of Islam.
On January 2, 1492, the Islamic Kingdom of Granada was surrendered to the Catholic majesties of Ferdinand and Isabella. After 781 years, Spain was free. However the capitulation was negotiated. Ferdinand and Isabella did not want a bloodbath of a frontal assault on a fortified city, and so granted generous terms.
Muslims who remained in Spain were to be given religious freedom. They were to be exempted from all taxes for a number of years. No one was permitted to insult a Muslim. Christians were to be punished for laughing at muezzins. Muslims were only to be judged by their own laws. (Essentially sharia). No Christian could enter a mosque. The pope was required to agree to these terms. (Though that was never acted on) (Click here for a list of the terms)
Even in the midst of defeat and collapse, the Muslims insisted on maintaining some aspects of Islamic supremacy. One also wonders at the mindset of the Muslims that they could insist on such outrageous exemptions. One wonders why Ferdinand and Isabella agreed to these terms at all; or whether they ever had any intention of keeping them.

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