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Expert says Europe's identity loss could aid Islamic 're-conquest'

A Jesuit professor in Beiruit has said the apparent Muslim desire to 'regain' the Mosque of Cordoba - a Cathedral since 1236 - is a sign of the Muslim desire to "re-conquer" Europe.

AsiaNews reports that 68 year old Fr Samir Khalil is one of the world's greatest experts on the Islamic and Arab world. He divides his time between teaching duties in Beiruit and at the Pontifical Institute of Oriental Studies in Rome.

He sais the support given by certain Spanish government leaders in Cordoba "makes it all the more manifest just how much Europe has 'lost its identity', widespread now across the continent".

Fr Samir said "many Spanish Muslims have the idea of re-conquering Europe, reaffirmed "months ago by the Imam of Granada, at the laying of the first stone ceremony at the city's new mosque before the King of Spain!"

AsiaNews asked Fr. Samir how many churches have been converted into mosques and whether Christians, imitating Muslim faithful in Cordoba, would want to "win them back".

"There not (even) capable of responding," he said. "I can say with absolute certainty that there are hundreds (of such converted churches) and that this has frequently happened throughout history. Just think of Santa Sophia in Istanbul, the Ummayade mosque in Damascus and the Ibn Tulum mosque in Cairo built with remains of destroyed churches."

"To this end I would like to point out one fact: the famous mosque of Cordoba - originally a church before it became a mosque is still almost entirely intact, thanks to the Christians who took care to preserve it. In other cases, the buildings immediately underwent so much violence that the church's original structure is now almost unrecognizable."

Fr. Samir says Islamic "re-conquest" is possible thanks to Europe's loss of identity ( 29/4/04)

Muslims seek to use Cathedral alongside Catholics ( 29/4/04)
Vatican says no to churches used as mosques ( 29/4/04)
Muslims divided over request for use of Cathedral ( 29/4/04)
Cordoba's Mosque-Cathedral (profile) ( 29/4/04)
Christian churches converted to mosques (profile) ( 29/4/04)

30 Apr 2004