For about six months I lived in Turkey, shortly before the XXI century. I learned a lot, but two things caught my attention. The first was that the average Turk knows the battle of Covadonga. A battle between the independent Northern Kingdom of Asturias in Atlantic Spain and the Umayyad Muslim that were expanding the new Caliphate into Europe.
The average Turk interprets, from what I heard, that the battle was just a skirmish and considers Asturian Christians lost much more than they gained, if they gained anything at all. Their opinion is based on the fact that out of the 300 aprox Christian warriors, only 11 survived, according to both Chistian and Muslim chronicles.
Yet Pelayo, the Christian King, survived. Muslim chronicles also forget to mention that the Umayyad were about 1.400 strong, more than four times as many. Their leader, Al Qama, was killed in the battle. Surviving soldiers were attacked and decimated by villagers wielding sickles and clubs and stones. Some Christian texts elevate the figure of Muslim warriors to 10.000, some to an improbable 100.000.
Yet, even if we admit Muslim figures and what they wrote after the battle (thirty infidels (jackasses) left, what can they do?”), the case, I told the Turks, is the Moors never again attacked the region. They said “what for?” and I said “because they could not win and they knew it”
The second thing I learned is that Muslim extremists still want Andalucia, that other land so far from Asturias. From Turkey, where I was, I could easily listen to Radio Iran, broadcasting in Spanish. Several hours a day. Most of their time was spent on reminding their “brothers” in Al-Andalus (Spain, of course) that the caliphate will return. “Al-Andalus was ours and will return to be.” No kidding, Radio Iran really insisted on that several hours a day.
From the vantage point where I write now, years later, I feel that even an agnostic like myself, should wield the cross and King Pelayo with it, as there are enemies within and without. The same enemies as before, for centuries.