Renee Ellmers — you might remember her as the opponent of Bob “The Manhandler” Etheridge — is running her first TV ad. You can see the internet version here.
She should do some fact-checking on that ad – she got the wrong name on all three mosques, the wrong date for the conquest of Constantinople, and then she showed a picture of a building that predates the fall of Constantinople by eleven centuries, and called it the “victory mosque” that they supposedly built. She’s right in the broad strokes on her history, but the details need some serious work.
my knowledge of history is a weak as hers. my first response to the ad was, “right on!”. my second, based on your comment was, “if she gets that much wrong, can i trust the rest?” so my question to you, alsadius, is the “victory mosque” true islamic tradition? is that the “broad stokes” to which you refer?
Every culture builds big, impressive buildings celebrating major victories, and conquering cities like Jerusalem and Constantinople were certainly big victories for Islam. Every religion builds temples in areas where a lot of people are of that religion, and in the pre-modern era, a religion conquering an area usually led to massive conversions(and not always voluntary ones). The three she lists are all fairly different stories.
The Dome of the Rock, in Jerusalem, isn’t so much a victory mosque as it is a building celebrating a holy site. The “rock” in question is inside the temple, and it is supposedly the site where Mohammed ascended to heaven. It’s generally considered the #3 holy site in Islam. The building is certainly flashy and impressive, quite surprisingly so for the oldest Islamic building in existence, but I’d regard it as being a closer parallel to the Church of the Nativity or St. Peter’s Basilica than anything else.
The Great Mosque of Cordoba started as a Christian church a couple centuries before the Muslim conquest, but it wasn’t very significant then. The Muslim conquerors bought it and greatly expanded it. It’s probably the one of the three that’s most accurately termed a “victory mosque”.
The Hagia Sophia, in Constantinople, is the third building of its name. The first was built during or slightly after the reign of Constantine himself, and later destroyed in riots, as was the second. The third, that survives today, was built in the 500s by Justinian. All three served as the central church of the Byzantine empire, and seat of the Patriarch of Constantinople for over a millennium combined. When the Muslims took over in 1453, they converted it to a mosque on the spot, and did some assorted conversion work over the subsequent centuries. Certainly a big victory for them, but the verb “built” is nonsensical.
Overall, it’s certainly true that mosques spread behind the wave of Muslim conquest over the centuries, but that can hardly be a surprise. Christianity’s spread was less violent than Islam’s, but the churches certainly followed the converts. Victory led to mosques, but it’s not like victory mosques were a particular thing that they did. They just wanted places to pray, and they made them fancy because that’s what people do with churches when they have the money.
thank you, alsadius
She’s running against Bob “Who’reyou?!” Etheridge, and this is her first TV ad? Color me unimpressed.
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