I came across a fun story recently in the Christian Science Monitor about a community in Second Life called Al-Andalus. This virtual community has historical links to the real nation of Al-Andalus—where coexistence between Christians, Muslims, and Jews created a vibrant scientific and intellectual community in the Iberian Peninsula from roughly the 8th to 12th centuries.
Like its historical counterpart, the virtual community in Second Life is “forging new relationships across the chasms of nationality, religion, and language.” See: http://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/Arts/2010/0910/A-virtual-world-that-breaks-real-barriers The article prompted me to go to the library and do some of my own research. While Al-Andalus was a model of collaboration in many ways, others point out that Jews and Christians still had to pay a special tax and there were a variety of other conflicts in Spain at that time (including within Muslim and Christian communities themselves). It wasn’t perfect, but I don’t think that takes away from what we can learn from that time and the efforts being made in our own time to bridge divides in virtual space!