Islam In Italy

Sicily, an island that is part of Italy today, was ruled by Muslims for more than 2 centuries. Here is a brief look at that period:
Muslims came in 827. Under Muslim rule the island's population doubled as dozens of towns were founded and cities repopulated. The Arab’s scientific and engineering achievements were remarkable. Bal'harm (Palermo) was repopulated and became one of the largest Arab cities after Baghdad and Cordoba, and one of the most beautiful. It was described as the city of 300 Mosques. Arabs introduced superior irrigation systems; some of their channels still flow under Palermo. They established the Sicilian silk industry, and at the court of the Norman monarch Roger II great Arab thinkers like the geographer Abdullah al Idrisi were welcome. Agriculture became more varied and more efficient, rice, sugar cane, cotton and oranges were introduced. Many of the most popular Sicilian foods trace their origins to the Arab period.
Under the Arabs, Sicily and Spain found themselves highly developed compared to the rest of Europe. Developments such as paper, compass and Arabic numerals arrived. So did Arab inventions, such as henna. Sicily was at 50% Muslim by 1060. Arabic language had a major influence on Sicilian. Literacy among Sicilians was higher in 870 under the Arabs and than it was in 1870 under the Italians. Palermo's Cathedral still has verses from the Qur’aan on the columns. Internal Muslim dissention allowed the Normans to conquer Sicily. Advanced Muslim civilisation in Sicily, France, Portugal and Spain led to the rebirth of Europe from the Dark Ages.

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