hen North African invaders overturned the Germanic kingdoms that had held sway over the Iberian Peninsula since the fall of the Roman Empire.
The Portuguese reconquista gradually forced the Arabs south, driving them from their last strongholds along the Algarve coast in 1249. In the neighboring Spanish region of Andalusia, the Emirate of Granada would hold out for another 250 years.
While seven centuries of Arab rule in Andalusia produced architectural treasures like the Giralda in Seville, Córdoba’s Great Mosque and the Alhambra palace in Granada, the Islamic period in Portugal left few major monuments. The Andalusian cities developed as major centers of Islamic culture to rival Damascus or Marrakesh, but Portugal was always on the outer edge of the Muslim world and its frontier rulers invested little in grandiose construction.
But in recent years there’s been a renewal of interest in Portugal's Arab legacy.
Next year, Tavira will open a much larger museum of Arab culture and the nearby city of Silves - capital of the medieval Muslim kingdom of the Algarve in southern Portugal - has hosted a Center for Portuguese-Arab Studies since 2004.
More generally, there’s been a move by Portuguese scholars and public authorities to re-assess the influence of Arab rule.
“In the old days, the ideology clearly was that the Moors were the enemy,” Nina Clara Tiesler of the University of Lisbon’s Institute of Social Sciences said in a reference to the nationalist dictatorship that ruled Portugal until 1974.
“You still see something of that today. In school books the Moors are still the enemy, the other … but among the elite there has been a re-evaluation of this legacy. Since the late 1990s they’ve tried to show the Islamic heritage as something positive.”
The country’s best-know example of Islamic architecture is in the small, southeastern town of Mértola where the slender columns and outline of a mihrab in the parish church recalls that the delicate white building was once a mosque.
Although the physical remains are few, the intangible influence of those centuries of Moorish rule in Portugal is immense.
The Portuguese language is peppered with words of Arabic origin, often those relating to food, farming and manual work. One commonly used is oxalá - a direct descendent of insha’Allah, the term meaning “God willing.”
“If by magic it was possible to wipe out all the remnants of the Arab legacy from today’s Portugal, our ethnic, cultural, physical and human landscape would be completely different,” writes Adalberto Alves, the country’s best-known expert in the field.
“We might be blond instead of dark, we’d stop speaking the Arabized-Latin that we call Portuguese and we’d loose over a thousand words from our dictionaries. So many of our villages and towns would no longer exist or have to change their names. We wouldn’t know how to name the things we grow and eat. What would we call Jasmin, oranges, dates and pomegranates?”
In his book “Portugal: Echoes of an Arab Past,” Alves goes on to list the areas where his country has been marked by that past: from poetry to pastries; carpet weaving and guitar music; from the minaret-shaped chimneys that still adorn southern homes to the navigational sciences that allowed Portuguese ships to expand the boundaries of the known world and the irrigation systems used to cultivate the Algarve’s olive, fig and almond plantations.
These days, there is much talk in Portugal about a new Islamic presence. The Lisbon Islamic Community estimates there are 40,000 Muslims living in the mainly Roman Catholic nation of 11 million.
Many are Portuguese citizens of Indian origin who moved to Lisbon from Mozambique when the southern African nation became independent from Portuguese rule in 1975. Among the others are economic migrants from the former Portuguese West African colony of Guinea Bissau as well as newer arrivals from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Morocco.
Community leaders complain that their religion is often misunderstood and marginalized, particularly since the 9/11 attacks on the United States. There was much consternation when the Cardinal of Lisbon Dom José Policarpo last year warned Portuguese girls to “think twice about marrying a Muslim” to avoid running into a “heap of trouble.”
However Tiesler, the Lisbon-based sociologist, says the fact that so many of the country’s Muslims are well integrated, middle class, native-Portuguese speakers means Portugal has avoided the tensions seen in European nations with a large influx of workers from Islamic nations.
“It’s not the clash you see in other European countries where you had guest workers,” she said in a telephone interview. “The majority are Portuguese, they are not foreigners."…
taken place, even as the Western “mainstream”—little acquainted with true history or reality—dismisses it as an aberration. Asia News has the details:
Islamist rebels have kidnapped a group of nuns from the Greek Orthodox monastery of St Thecla (Mar Taqla) in Maaloula [an ancient Christian community where Christians were earlier forced to convert to Islam or die]… “Armed men burst in the monastery of St Thecla in Maaloula this afternoon [Dec. 2]. From there, they forcibly took 12 women religious,” Mgr Zenari said …. Neither the nuncio nor the Greek Orthodox Church know [the] reason behind the kidnapping.
Maaloula: ancient Christian site where inhabitants still spoke Aramaic, language of Jesus, before being devastated by the jihad, its nuns abducted, its ancient churches desecrated.
The “reason behind the kidnapping”? Sexual abuse and rape certainly should not be discounted, as these have been the lot of thousands of women abducted by U.S.-sponsored “freedom fighters” in Syria. Indeed, a new report issued by the National Reconciliation Commission in Syria states that some 37,000 women have been raped since the war started.
To keep the jihad in Syria alive, pro-war Islamic clerics have issued any number of fatwas, or Islamic rulings, permitting sexually-frustrated, female-deprived rebels to rape women. Most of these are based on the simple fact that Islam permits jihadis, based on the example of their prophet, to copulate with any captured woman—or, in the words of the Koran, “what your right hands possess” (see “The Jihad on Christian Women: Abduction, Rape, and Forced Conversion,” pgs. 186-199 in Crucified Again for detailed information).
One cleric permitted the abduction and rape of any Syrian woman, provided she is not Sunni. Yet apparently because there are still not enough women for the jihadi hordes, many of whom are foreigners—one Christian child was recently raped by 15 men before being killed—Sunni Muslim women are also being targeted through sex jihad fatwas.
So would such jihadis and their clerics have any special respect for Christian nuns?
The fact is, raped nuns is a phenomenon that goes back centuries. According to Muslim historian Taqi al-Din al-Maqrizi (1364-1442) during his raids on Egypt, Caliph Marwan II (r.744–50) “made captive a number of women from among the nuns of several convents. And he tried to seduce one of them.” The account describes how the enslaved nun tricked him into killing her, by claiming she had a magic oil that make skin impenetrable: “She then took some oil and anointed herself with it; then stretched out her neck, which he smote with the sword, and made her head fly. He then understood that she preferred death to defilement.”
Writing in the 10th century, the Coptic chronicler Severus ibn Muqaffa records that “the Arabs in the land of Egypt had ruined the country…. They burnt the fortresses and pillaged the provinces, and killed a multitude of the saintly monks who were in them [monasteries] and they violated a multitude of the virgin nuns and killed some of them with the sword.”
After the Islamic conquest of Constantinople in 1453, according to eyewitness accounts, “Monasteries and Convents were broken in. Their tenants were killed, nuns were raped, many, to avoid dishonor, killed themselves. Killing, raping, looting, burning, enslaving, went on and on according to tradition.”
Such is history—expunged as it is in the modern West, even as it repeats itself today. Thus, in August 2013, after torching a Franciscan school in Egypt, “Islamists,” in the words of the AP, “paraded three nuns on the streets like ‘prisoners of war’” and “Two other women working at the school were sexually harassed and abused as they fought their way through a mob.”
Indeed, the rise in attacks on Christian nuns throughout the Islamic world further demonstrates that they are no more inviolable than other “infidel” women:
Somalia: In response to Pope Benedict’s historical quotes which, like so many other things—including teddy bears—so enraged the Islamic world, Muslims in Somalia shot Leonella Sgarbati—a 66-year-old nun who had devoted 30 years of her life working in Africa—in her back. Her last words before dying in hospital were: “I forgive; I forgive.”
Pakistan: In September 2012, gunmen on motorbikes dressed in green (Islam’s color) opened fire on the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Cathedral in Hyderabad, murdering at least 28 people. Their immediate target was a nun, Mother Christina.
Libya: In February 2013, after the fall of Col. Gaddafi, Islamic rebels threatened Christian nunsinto fleeing the nation. They had been there since 1921, focused primarily on helping the sick and needy.
Philippines: In an article discussing a Christmas Day church bombing in a Muslim-majority region, we learn that the jihadi group responsible “has been blamed for several bomb attacks on the Roman Catholic cathedral in Jolo since the early 2000s and for kidnapping priests and nuns.”
Guinea: In June 2013, during a mob-led frenzy, Christians and their churches were savagely attacked in the Muslim-majority nation—with some 95 Christians slain and 130 wounded—including “the quarters of the nuns, [which] was looted before being torched.”
The above examples come from five countries that have little in common with one another—neither race, language, culture, nor economics—only Islam.
That alone should say something.
But no matter. Far from discussing Islamic history and doctrine, and how they tie to current events, the predominant Western mentality simply dismisses Muslim violence as the West’s fault, or, in the recent words of ex-nun Karen Armstrong, “We did this.” Armstrong—who quit the nunnery only to engage in pro-Islamic mummery—insists that what’s needed is for us to focus more on “Muslim pain, Muslim suffering.”
Such, according to the leftist mentality, are the “real” reasons why, wherever Muslim-majorities live near non-Muslim minorities, from the dawn of Islam till today, the latter are under attack.
Most Western societies are based on Secular Democracy, which itself is based on the concept that the open marketplace of ideas leads to the optimum government. Whilst that model has been very successful, it has defects. The 4 Freedoms address 4 of the principal vulnerabilities, and gives corrections to them.
At the moment, one of the main actors exploiting these defects, is Islam, so this site pays particular attention to that threat.
Islam, operating at the micro and macro levels, is unstoppable by individuals, hence: "It takes a nation to protect the nation". There is not enough time to fight all its attacks, nor to read them nor even to record them. So the members of 4F try to curate a representative subset of these events.
We hope that free nations will wake up to stop the threat, and force the separation of (Islamic) Church and State. This will also allow moderate Muslims to escape from their totalitarian political system.
The 4 Freedoms
These 4 freedoms are designed to close 4 vulnerabilities in Secular Democracy, by making them SP or Self-Protecting (see Hobbes's first law of nature). But Democracy also requires - in addition to the standard divisions of Executive, Legislature & Judiciary - a fourth body, Protector of the Open Society (POS), to monitor all its vulnerabilities (see also Popper). 1. SP Freedom of Speech Any speech is allowed - except that advocating the end of these freedoms 2. SP Freedom of Election Any party is allowed - except one advocating the end of these freedoms 3. SP Freedom of Movement The government can import new voters - except where that changes the political demographics (i.e. electoral fraud by means of immigration) 4. SP Freedom from Over-spending
People should not be charged for government systems which they reject, and which give them no benefit. For example, the government cannot pass a debt burden across generations (25 years).
An additional Freedom from Religion is be deducible by equal application of law: "Religious and cultural activities are exempt from legal oversight - except where they intrude into the public sphere (Res Publica)"