Christian soldiers take a beating over battle with Moors





CHRISTIAN and Muslim armies clash in Spain today in a titanic battle for control of the Costa Blanca, just miles from the tourist towers of Benidorm.

After a spectacular Moorish landing on the beaches the Christians will emerge victorious, as they did in Calpe in 1240. But there will be no crowing, and the end of the “battle” will be accompanied by speeches about civilisations living together in harmony.

Welcome to Spain in the era of cultural nervousness.

Throughout the country towns and villages are toning down traditional fiestas of “Moors and Christians” to avoid offending Muslims.

The fiestas — some dating back hundreds of years — celebrate the final “reconquest” of Spain by Christian armies from the Moors in 1492 after 781 years of Muslim rule. Villagers divide into rival “armies” of Moors and Christians to re-enact the conquest of their towns. But rows in Denmark and Germany over the depiction of the Prophet Muhammad, and the Madrid train bombings in March 2004, have caused Spanish towns to think again. Several have stopped parading giant effigies of Muhammad.


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