In the eighth century, a number of Muslims immigrated to Kemr (and to a lesser extent, England), bringing their rich heritage of Greek scholarship with them. As they adapted to their new Roman-British homeland, they became a new sort of culture entirely: the Celto-Moors-- pirates, soldiers, and sages.
|This article is source material
Michael O'Shaughnessy (Conculture 29726):
I'm new to IB, having just recently found it through various browsings on wikipedia, and one thing that disappointed me was a lack of information on the spread of Islam through Europe in the IB timeline, though there were some hints as to Islamic evangelism into Northern Europe, the oldest mosques in Europe having been found in Kemr. That said, where are the source documents on this?
Padraic Brown (Conculture 27928):
The source document for the latter statements is here: http://ib.frath.net/w/Dumnonia
Barry Garcia (Conculture 27940):
Kemr actually has the oldest Mosque in _northern_ Europe, not that it has the oldest mosques in Europe as a whole. The oldest mosques in Western Europe should be on the Iberian peninsula (AFAIK).
Michael (Conculture 27963):
Well it seems to me that calling it the 'oldest mosque in Northen Europe' seems to indicate that it has continually been a Mosque, and has not been destroyed or converted since then. As such, this indicates a continuous Islamic presence in Kemr - however small - since 752, though shrinking in number and importance since the conquest of the Emirate by Wessex. Now given that Kemr is a Christian contry, though a weird sort of Christian, this indicates some level of tolerance for religious minorities, and Islam in particular.
One way this could have happened is an Islamic presence in Kemr similar to the Sarmatian Knights of the past (this would have been known to them, I think, given that they're essentially modern Romano-British). There were a lot of rich trading cities - Tintagel was foremost among them, I think - in southwestern Britain, and so it'd be incumbent upon a strong Cambrian monarch to guard their shipping against pirates and Vikings. As the Muslim pirates proved to be so effective in collapsing the Mediterranean trade that held the Empire together, why not hire Muslim corsairs? Given legal protection, this could establish a small, but influential, Islamic presence in Britain in the port cities. After that the community would sustain itself due to the influx of foreign Muslim sailors and some local converts; I figure that these Celto-Moors would eventually come to occupy a similar niche *there* as the Jews did *here*; that is, merchants, moneylenders, sailors and doctors. The population would be augmented by occasional influxes of refugees from the reconquista'd al-Andalus, with some rich Morisco traders preferring closer and established Kemr to far and alien Mueva Sefarad. This would also have the secondary effect of introducing Muslim scholarship to Western Europe; as ideological purges at home or conquests by foreign powers drove the multitude of Andalusian scholars out, they might hitch a ride on a Celto-Muslim ship and settle in Cambria, introducing the works of Averroes and the Muslim and Ancient Greek rationalists to a philosophy-starved Europe. The Mutazillah (Greco-Muslim philosophical syncretists) were heretics and eventually suppressed by a unified Andalusian dynasty, but with a polyglot trading community in Britain to go to, they could flourish, and they might even enjoy the patronage of a monarch or two. This could help fuel a boom of classical scholarship in the North to parallel that of the South.
Padraic (Conculture 27964):
It remains to be seen what sorts of influence Islam had in medieval Dunein. We know that there was some influence on visual arts (notably ms illumination) and in music. I doubt Islam became too widespread, but some conversions were known even among the nobility. There was probably a crypto-Islam for a while, and it was probably absorbed into Christianity with as of yet unknown results.
Padraic (Conculture 27999):
And its [the Emirate's] subsequent reconquest by the native Cornish.
As for the mosque being in "continual use" since then: probably not. It was probably used _as_ a mosque for a long while after the Moslem emirate was overthrown. But as the direct influence of Islam faded, so would the numbers of actual Moslems. There would likely come a time when there would be no native Moslems.
There's already Jews in Kemr fulfilling that role. A competition or rivalry between the two could be interesting.
Especially given its already rather tolerant nature. If Ireland "saved Western civilisation" *here*, Kemr could do it *there*. Would also explain its history of high level scholarship and research.
It strikes me that with enough heretical Moslems in Kemr in close proximity to Judaism and a more tolerant form of Christianty, we could see the rise of a unique form of Islam. Perhaps even a Bahai like movement that seeks to unify the great religions.
Michael (Conculture 28007):
This was my idea from the beginning - the fleeing of the Mutazillah intact to Kemr, as opposed to dispersing about the Middle-East and therefore diffusing their method and doctrine among the other Islamic schools, could create a uniquely greco-muslim syncretic religion that would be particularly compatible with a Kemr infused and inspired by its Roman past and help drive forward a boom of Classical scholarship.
Padraic (Conculture 28024):
Perhaps it should be called Tawhidism *there*? (They call themselves Ahl al-Tawhid wa al-'Adl.)
I think Kemr would be well off to host them en masse -- or at least many. I'm sure there would still be _some_ scattered around the Islamic world *there*!
So, we have naturalised Moslem mercenary pirates and philosophers. Sounds good to me! I'll invite any comments from readers of the Sessiwn, too.
Michael (Conculture 28036):
On the Celto-Moors: it seems to me that there'd be significant religious tension, even with the added tolerance, until the Celto-Muslims were confirmed to everyone (or at least the aristocrats) to be dyed-in-the-wool loyal subjects of the realm. Perhaps during the Viking invasions, the city of London is invested (with an allied force inside, of course) and our now fully naturalized Muslim sailors' guild rams their way up the Thames to relieve the seige? If the King was in there the commodore of the fleet would get a knighthood on the spot, and Muslim nobles and peers of the realm would go a long way towards acceptance and integration. Similar things happened in the more tolerant bits of al-Andalus, IIRC; there were Christian and Jewish regiments that fought alongside their Muslim countrymen.
Andrew Smith (Conculture 28044):
The thought that keeps going through my head as I read this thread is "So in IB Tirant lo Blanc was a documentary. Who would have thought it!" This is the first time I've expressed it, I've been thinking it for a long time. I've only read Tirant lo Blanc once and found a lot of it epically dull, and its us-v-them sentiment made me queasy.
Padraic (Conculture 28047):
I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts, especially, about such a thoroughly nativised Moslem population in Kemr, along with a nativised and somewhat syncretic denomination of Islam. While they couldn't become _too_ prominent in British history (too many assumptions and too much history might end up needing rewriting), they could add some richness to the place.
How it all got started...
742 AD A group of traders from El Andalus land in Cornwall after being forced into Mounts Bay by a storm moving up the Channel. After stopping for a couple of weeks to make repairs and finding the peninsular a good supply for copper ore, they return to Spain. On their return the legend of Cornwall quickly spreads, and a band of adventurers head off to clain the mines for the Umayyad Caliphate.
750 AD After a brief conquest, the new rulers own much of the Southwest peninsular of England, controlling it from their capital near Falmouth.
By 800 AD the Emirate of Carnual (Cornwall) separated itself from the Caliphate of Cordoba. The Emirate continued to expand aquiring Glamorgan and Dyfed, and fighting the decisive battle of Yeovil (793) against Wessex which guaranteed their dominace of the Cornubian Peninsular. Muslim missionaries have been active along the west coast of Britain and around Ireland. There is a fair sized community of Muslims in Southeast Ireland, centred around Wexford.
Lewis. alt.history.what-if, 06-09-1999; the rest of the discussion is in the archives of that group.