Edition: 1 DVD
Featured Scholars: Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, Chris Lowney, D. Fairchild Ruggles
Running Time: 117 min.
Company: Unity Productions Foundation
The documentary Cities of Light: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain tells the story of how this civilization of tolerance, and intolerance, rose and, ultimately, fell.
Over a thousand years ago, the sun-washed land of southern Spain was home to Jews, Christians, and Muslims, living together and flourishing. Their culture and beliefs intertwined, and the knowledge of the ancients was gathered and reborn. Here were the very seeds of the Renaissance.
But this world too quickly vanished … Greed, fear, and intolerance swept it away. Puritanical judgments and absolutism snuffed out the light of learning. Within a few centuries, the fragile union of these people dissipated like smoke. The time of tolerance was lost, forever.
“What this program does is reconstruct the cultural and intellectual accomplishments of the time, marked by religious tolerance, and by a gathering of books and ancient wisdom nourished and preserved until they could become the seeds of the Renaissance. This fascinating documentary is [about] how greed, fear and intolerance, along with puritanical judgments and absolutism destroyed a multicultural paradise of the Middle Ages. The subtheme is that Muslims, Jews and Christians can live together happily if they try....The documentary is at its best as a history of the great flowering that took place [on the Iberian Peninsula] beginning with the caliphate of Abdul Rahman in the early 10th century. The cities of light Cordoba, Seville, Granada and Toledo prospered under Muslim rule in a variety of ways.”
--Wall Street Journal