When multiculturalism became the official policy of Western governments -overtly in the late 1990s- a historical example was needed to justify such a suicidal belief system. The example that was first used was Islamic Spain, portrayed in the mainstream media as a medieval ‘multicultural paradise’. This narrative was inserted into textbooks, television documentaries, radio shows and magazines. The problem of course, like the later narrative that claimed the Ottoman-occupied Balkans was also a ‘multicultural paradise’, is that it is entirely false.
Just because different ethnic and cultural populations lived together, that does not mean that they got along. Nor does it mean that they treated each other as equals or liked each other. The Islamic occupation of Iberia (711AD -1492AD) was a time of Islamic supremacism. Muslims were at the top, with Jews coming in a close second and Christians coming last. The idea that Arabs conquered Iberia and then allowed the conquered to have equal rights and privileges is absurdly naïve, yet this opinion is common in the modern world, mostly thanks to liberal propaganda.
Non-Muslims were given the title Ahl al-dhimma which means ‘the people under protection’, with every adult man in a non-Muslim family forced to pay a jizya tax, which was essentially a tribute. Homosexuality, although heavily criticized in Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, was very common in Islamic Iberia. Laws or social norms which discouraged it were usually not enforced or ignored entirely, and the ruling elite were known to regularly engage in homosexual activities. Some rulers, including Abd el-Rahmn III, Hakam II, and Al Mu’tamid, had male harems. Male prostitutes were known to fetch a higher price than females. This had a negative impact on Europeans living in Iberia and in nearby nations at the time as they were overwhelmingly sought after for such a trade.
Jewish slave traders, with networks all over Europe, North Africa, and Central Asia, were one of the main forces capturing, buying and selling white Europeans in Islamic slave markets in Iberia. Agobard of Lyon (779AD-840AD), a Spanish born priest who became Archbishop of Lyon in the Frankish Realm, was highly critical of the Jews and their practices. Jews would as a matter of routine capture, castrate and transport White Europeans over the Pyrenees into Islamic Iberia. European rulers often turned a blind eye to their plight, in return for financial favors from powerful Jews. Islamic raiders also captured slaves, using border raids and piracy on the high seas to capture, transport and then sell their human cargo.
Islam’s intolerance of vocal music (singing/chanting etc.) meant that such music was banned for seven centuries in the areas still held by the Arabs. This contributed to Italy and Germany surging ahead in music, painting, and theatre. Another claim made by contemporary liberal scholars is that Islamic Spain saved the Greco-Roman culture, including all of its history, literature, records, art, and education. This is simply false. It is true that there were cultural achievements in Iberia during the Middle Ages. However, these were actually insignificant in comparison to the later Renaissance, which started in Italy. Also, it was actually the Eastern Roman Empire (395AD -1453AD) -now known as the Byzantine Empire- which preserved the Greco-Roman culture, mainly in Constantinople and Greece. Greek Christian scholars translated the culture of the ancient world for the Arabs; it was very rarely the other way around.
It is not a coincidence that when Iberia was fully reconquered in 1492, just a few months later Christopher Columbus set sail and re-discovered the Americas. This voyage was only possible because joint monarchs King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella were no longer distracted fighting Muslims on the peninsula. The glory brought by grand expeditions of conquest to crown the reconquista was too tempting to refuse. It is also not a coincidence that the Renaissance also blossomed into fruition at the same time in Italy. The European re-conquest of southern Spain meant that goods, services, and ideas could -for the first time in seven centuries- be exchanged freely between Europeans in Italy and Europeans in southern Andalusia. That the Spanish and Portuguese went on to conquer the New World in the next decades is another indication into how much Iberia benefited from the end of Muslim rule.
The Reconquista period was a difficult, prolonged time for the Europeans who lived through such a dark period. Christian states not only fought the Muslims, but they also each other as well. Some Christians even allied with the Muslims in acts that can only be seen as treasonous. Modern liberal society will try to portray any society in the past which had a multi-ethnic or multicultural population as a success story, even though this has never been the case.