Following are excerpts from an interview with Saudi author Hani Nakshabandi, which aired on Decision Makers TV and was posted on the Internet on June 26, 2013.
Interviewer: You drew a lot of fire with your comments about Spain. You said that the Arabs should apologize for what you described as "occupation." This was not received well by most people. Don't you think that you exaggerated?
Hani Nakshabandi: I believe that we, who oppose occupation, practiced the same kind of occupation ourselves. We fought against the French occupation of North Africa, and against the French and British occupation of the Levant, but we practiced the same type of occupation in Spain.
Interviewer: Yes, but Islam spread there during the Dark Ages in Europe.
Hani Nakshabandi: Everything that is written in our history books should be reexamined. We present Europe as if it had been immersed in darkness and ignorance, until we came along and ushered in an era of light.
My friend, in Saudi Arabia, we still have villages with no electricity. Wherever you go in the Arab world – in Egypt, in Morocco – you see villages where people still live like cavemen, yet you say that we ushered civilization into Europe?!
Interviewer: What about Cordoba?
Hani Nakshabandi: What about it?! My friend, I lived in Spain… Well, I didn't really live there, but I visited there a lot, and I went to the museums and libraries. What kind of civilization did the Arabs leave behind in Andalusia?
You mentioned Cordoba. It is a Spanish city. What new things did [the Arabs] leave there? Even the Umayyad Mosque was a church they turned into a mosque, just like the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, which still bears the hallmarks of a church to this day.
Interviewer: So we teach erroneous history in our schools?
Hani Nakshabandi: Absolutely. Who created the image of Andalusia that we have in our minds? People attack me because their image of Andalusia is the Andalusia of songs and of dancing women or the Andalusia that they see on TV soap operas – with water fountains, trees, and beautiful women.
This is not Andalusia. Andalusia was a real political tragedy. It is not true that the Arabs spread Islam there. Is Spain a Muslim country? It is the pinnacle of Catholicism in the world.