Europe and the Challenge of Islam
The Saladin Lecture 2014 by Anouar Majid
Since the defeat of Islam in medieval Spain, minorities in the West have in some ways become reincarnations of the Moor, an enduring threat to Western civilization.
Anouar Majid is one of the U.S.’s leading Islamic intellectuals and this year’s opening speaker for the Saladin Days. In his book We Are All Moors he investigates the historical roots of today’s enmity between the West and Islam, which he claims are to be found in the period when Spanish Andalucía was called el-Andalus and was ruled by Muslims.
If faith is a form of false consciousness that divides Europe and Islam, history is a force that can bring the two cultures closer together, claims Majid. How can actual historical knowledge about el-Andalus be utilised to overcome religious conflicts between Muslims and Christians? What happens when we strive to understand Islam as an essential part of Europe’s cultural and historical heritage rather than an eternal enemy?