The name behind the Muslim community center and mosque planned for the neighborhood around Ground Zero in Manhattan has figured only partly into reporting that largely covers the controversy of its placement.
But the writers over at GetReligion, who do exceptionally fine work on matters of media and faith and culture, fine tune the focus a bit more here, on the history behind the name. Putting “the religious identification of Cordoba in larger context.”
Cordoba has been in the news a bit recently because it’s the proposed name of the proposed mosque that’s had everyone from Hamas (pro) to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (con) weighing in. Or at least it was the proposed name. I’m not sure if the plan has changed on account of some Americans finding the name too provocative.
On the other hand, imam Feisal Abdul Rauf wrote that he chose the name “after the period between roughly 800 and 1200 CE, when the Cordoba Caliphate ruled much of today’s Spain, and its name reminds us that Muslims created what was, in its era, the most enlightened, pluralistic, and tolerant society on earth.” So you have two wildly different views.
If you are interested in the topic, I think this Tablet (a daily online magazine of Jewish news, ideas, and culture) piece has some interesting things to say about how neither interpretation may be fully accurate…
A good read there, at the Tablet.
And a good wrapup by GetReligion.
It’s great to see the current conflict used as a hook for a deeper exploration of some important themes. And it’s a good reminder that the current conflict isn’t being seen for the first time, even if many of its aspects are new. A good understanding of religious history could go a long way to helping find resolution.