Correspondence

Cathedral or Mosque-Cathedral?

On March 10, 2010, a group of tourists, reputedly “students from Austria,” entered the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption in Córdoba and started a Muslim prayer.  Private guards and, later, police arrested them.

One of the students apologized, saying they had “no intention to offend.”  The students’ organization in Austria apologized as well, but condemned the “disproportionate force” used by the Spanish authorities and claimed that one of the guards had said to the students, “This is war, and we are going to kill you.”  It may not be irrelevant to this incident that the president of the Islamic Junta of Spain, the Córdoban Mansur Escudero, had for a number of years insisted that the Catholic authorities should allow Muslims to pray inside the building, and that in 2006 he announced that Muslims would do so with or without the Church’s consent.  In response to the March 10 incident, Catholic ecclesiastical authorities declared the actions of the Muslims “a planned provocation,” since clearly and explicitly only Christian prayers are allowed in the cathedral.

The problem with the Catholic authorities’ position is that most tourist guides and travel agencies, as well as official publications of the city of Córdoba, refer to the building either as the “mosque of Córdoba,” or as the “mosque-cathedral”...

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