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SPAIN: Muslim Spain

John Heelan writes: "Strange then that Muslims, Jews and Christians were able to co-exist reasonably peaceably under Muslim rule in Al-Andalus for some hundreds of years, longer in fact than the US had been in existence. Even more strange, is it not, that repressive conversion to an alternative religious ideology arrived with the Catholic Kings and the Inquisition?" RH: I believe this happy picture was painted by men like Américo Castro and Fernando de los Ríos. The three groups co-existed much as they do in Europe today, in a state of constant tension. The Catholic Kings came to power as Europe was tiring of religious wars and the principle of cuius regio eius religio was established. Hence the persecution of non-Catholics. The growth of the Inquisition is proof that relations had not been too happy. The way to get to the facts on this would be to go through local Spanish archives of the Muslim period. This would require a knowledge of Arabic. This may have been done, but I am not aware of it. I am not in any way excusing the Inquisition.

Ronald Hilton - 2/16/03