While writing MUSLIM: What You Need to Know About the World’s Fastest-Growing Religion, one of the most impressive scholars Hank discovered was Dr. Dario Fernandez-Morera, author of The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise: Muslims, Christians, and Jews under Islamic Rule in Medieval Spain. His book, a finalist for World Magazine’s Book of the Year,  reveals the myth of the Andalusian Paradise, a supposed time of religious tolerance in Islamic Spain that in reality was a repressive era reflective of the true tenets of Islamic belief and practice. Today, academics and politicians alike are pushing a politically correct cultural narrative when it comes to Islam and courageous scholars such as Dr. Fernandez-Morera stand as beacons of truth and light in the face of propagandists intent on pulling the wool over our eyes.

 Topics discussed include: why studying Miguel de Cervantes led Fernández-Morera to realize that the narrative of a peaceful Islamic rule in Spain was wrong (4:00); the resistance he faced regarding his book The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise: Muslims, Christians, and Jews under Islamic Rule in Medieval Spain (7:20); reasons behind the resistance to his research and the positive, politically correct narrative of Islam (10:15); examining the possible reasons behind academic bias and Islam as follows: linguistic ignorance, stakeholder interests and incentives, motivated blindness, intellectual innocence, shoddy research, and cultural agendas (16:40); several motivations for a cultural agenda promoting Islamic principles (30:30); the importance of rhetoric in creating cultural narratives and why our culture seems more concerned with Islamophobia when in reality it is increasingly Christophobic (33:10); examining several rhetorical tricks devised to develop desired narratives (36:30); misapprehension of the real, main meaning and practice of Jihad in Islam (40:25); Islam has always progressed by shahada, subjugation, or the sword (most often the sword, as Muhammad invoked his followers to do) (47:10); the differences between Islamic Jihad and Christian Crusades (1:03:45); did Osama bin Laden choose September 11 for a reason? (1:11:25); Fernandez-Morera notes that many historians are not religious and why this lack of religiosity might impact the mindset of academic assessment of the historical motivations of religious individuals (1:16:15); is Islam really a religion? (1:18:45); the different approaches that academics take when examining Christianity and Islam (1:24:20); the myth of the Dark Ages (1:29:00); and the Armenian genocide as an example of the collective amnesia of the modern world and the fundamental importance of historical literacy (1:33:00).

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