ME: in Times Lit Supp

Cordoba’s mosque-cathedral

a reply to my letter of June 18 2021
published June 25 2021
F. W. Nunneley writes (Letters, June 18) that the Cathedral of Cordoba is “officially” called the Mosque- Cathedral, which is an understandable mistake. Even though it’s described that way even on the official website, the Catholic church has so far refused to change its official name in public and internal church documents, where it remains “cathedral” only. The rationale is that it’s been a cathedral for most of its history, and almost certainly sits on the site of a former church (it would be a rare medieval Spanish mosque indeed that doesn’t sit on the site on an ancient church). Regarding the issue of prayer, I know of no cathedral in the world where Muslims regularly pray, but perhaps F. W. Nunneley can correct me. As a former correspondent with the Wall Street Journal in Spain, who wrote extensively on the subject, I can report that the Muslim community in Cordoba has no interest in praying inside the Cathedral(-Mosque) for various reasons, notably avoidance of controversy and a public spat with the Catholic church, as the head of such a community told me himself. I can also report that Cordoba has an official mosque, built decades ago under Generalissimo Franco, which is pretty small and still rarely cramped.

David Roman
Washington DC