Today, at the original Cordoba mosque in Spain, there is no call to prayer, only the ringing of church bells. That’s because the former mosque is now a working Catholic cathedral, performing a daily mass.
It’s been a Cathedral since Spain’s Christian monarchy conquered Cordoba in the 13th century, but the site remains significant for Muslims as a symbol of Islam’s golden age of learning and religious tolerance. The Mosque of Cordoba was once famed for allowing both Christians and Muslims to pray together under the same roof.
Now, some Muslims are trying to repeat that history. Mansur Escudero, a Spanish convert to Islam, is leading the movement that is pushing for the right of Muslims to pray at the Cordoba Cathedral.
“I don’t think it’s important for Muslims. I think it’s important for humankind,” Escudero says. “We think this is a beautiful paradigm of tolerance, knowledge, culture. People of different religions living together.”