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Al-Andalus, also known as Muslim Spain or Islamic Iberia, was a medieval Muslim territory extending at its peak over most of what are today Spain, Portugal, and a small part of southern France. It existed between 711 and 1492, though the boundaries changed constantly as the Christian Reconquista progressed.

Al-Andalus as a claimed multicultural utopia

Lacking any good example of a current multicultural utopia, supporters of multiculturalism have instead often claimed that Al-Andalus was one, before being destroyed by White Christians.

The publisher description of the 2016 book The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise states that "Scholars, journalists, and politicians uphold Muslim-ruled medieval Spain—“al-Andalus”—as a multicultural paradise, a place where Muslims, Christians, and Jews lived in harmony. There is only one problem with this widely accepted account: it is a myth. In this groundbreaking book, Northwestern University scholar Darío Fernández-Morera tells the full story of Islamic Spain. The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise shines light on hidden features of this medieval culture by drawing on an abundance of primary sources that scholars have ignored, as well as archaeological evidence only recently unearthed. This supposed beacon of peaceful coexistence began, of course, with the Islamic Caliphate’s conquest of Spain. Far from a land of tolerance, Islamic Spain was marked by religious and therefore cultural repression in all areas of life, and by the marginalization of Christians and other groups—all this in the service of social control by autocratic rulers and a class of religious authorities. As professors, politicians, and pundits continue to celebrate Islamic Spain for its “multiculturalism” and “diversity,” Fernández-Morera sets the record straight—showing that a politically useful myth is a myth nonetheless."

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