Granada's New Mosque Revives Memories Of The Moors

October 16, 2006

Author: Habeeb Salloum

Source: Mathaba

"There is no more beautiful city in the world than Granada. Not even Cairo, Baghdad or Damascus with their wealth and splendour can compare with Granada."

These words inscribed on the emblem of one of the last Arab royal families in Granada well describes this Moorish city at the end of the 15th century, just before its occupation by the armies of the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella.

In July 2003, in that once magnificent city of the Moors, the first mosque opened since Grenada fell to the Christian armies 512 years ago. This splendid new mosque, overlooking the reddish 14th century Alhambra and located in the Albaicín Quarter of Granada, has raised some Spanish eyebrows, but pleased others who are proud of the Muslim civilization the Arabs established in Spain. For 22 years the mosque-building project was plagued by local controversy and opposition, but all ended well with its successful completion, heralding a new dawn for the Spanish Muslims.

Since the Catholic monarchs captured this last stronghold of the Moors in 1492, putting an end to 800 years of Arab/Muslim presence on the Iberian Peninsula, Muslims from all over the world have mourned the loss of al-Andalus - the Arab name of their paradise in the Iberian Peninsula. It began when the last Moorish king, Boabdil (Abu Abd Allah), rode out of Granada, after his defeat. He turned to view his beloved city for the last time saying, “When did misfortune ever equal mine.”