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Spain spots mistake in Obama's speech

IANS
Jun 05, 2009 at 08:56pm IST

Madrid: US President Barack Obama made a factual mistake on Spanish history in his keynote speech to the Muslim world in Cairo, Spanish commentators pointed out Friday.

Obama on Thursday described Islam as having a tradition of tolerance, saying: "We see it in the history of Andalusia and Cordoba during the Inquisition."

The President was referring to Moorish Spain, known as al-Andalus, where Muslims, Christians and Jews lived side by side. Parts of what is now Spain were under Muslim rule for eight centuries until 1492.

WORDS THAT HEAL: US President Obama addressed the Muslim world in his Cairo speech.

However, the peak of the Andalusian civilisation, with Cordoba as the cultural beacon of Europe, occurred in the 10th century, long before the Spanish Inquisition was founded in 1478 during the Christian reconquest of the country from Muslims, the daily El Pais observed.

There is also some disagreement over how peacefully people of different faiths coexisted in al-Andalus.

"There were political and military clashes in al-Andalus, but people of different religions lived admirably together on the social level," with quite a few mixed marriages, Moroccan historian Abdeluahed Akmir has said.

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