The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain: by Maria Rosa Menocal

Once again the lines are blurring between my different identities, and by that I mean in every sense. Today I was approached by a former mentor and a former employer to begin a task that requires all my past and current experiences to merge together. The task is to tutor a group of Pakistani scholars from Burnley (England) through two comparative texts regarding Muslim Spain. Now, Muslim Spain has been piquing my interest for a good number of years, simply for the sizable debt that we in the West owe to it for developing modern civilisation into education and knowledge sharing focused peoples, but also because of my own Muslim heritage and the fact that the novel and creative writing probably owes its existence to Muslim Spain too.

Also bare in mind that the setting for Red Dawn (my swash-buckling heroic fantasy for adults) is a pseudo post-Muslim Spain kind of world too, so this will provide interesting details for me to weave into my world-building. I’m also playing with the idea of writing a historical novel set in Muslim Spain, but perhaps will wait for my writing skills to mature a little more before I handle that particular genre; even David Gemmell waited until he had a few Drenai and Sipasstri novels under his belt before tackling the Lion of Macedon and his Troy saga.

The other elements that are in my consideration are that I need to work with the this group of scholars any way, so it will no doubt bring us closer as partners in developing an understanding of interfaith, which was the reason why I’ve applied to study an MA course at the University of Central Lancashire that looks at the development of Interfaith in Muslim Spain. At the moment I’m going to play it by ear, but I get the feeling that this is one of those opportunities that God sends our way, only we’re not always smart enough to recognise them for what they are; a gift horse.

The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain: Maria Rosa Menocal: Books

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