Ahmed Bensal el-salhi is angry at the denial of Spanish citizenship to those with Moorish ancestors
Following the Spanish government's offer of automatic Spanish nationality for Jews of Sephardi ancestry, Muslims are now demanding equal treatment, according to this Gatestone Institute article :
Muslims are now demanding that the Spanish government grant automatic
citizenship to millions of descendants of Muslims who were expelled
from Spain in the seventeenth century.
Much of the Iberian Peninsula was occupied by Muslim conquerors known
as the Moors from 711 until 1492, when the Moorish Kingdom of Granada
surrendered to Ferdinand and Isabella. But the final Muslim expulsion
from Granada, known in Arabic as Al-Andalus, did not take place until
over a century later, beginning in 1609, when King Philip III decreed
the Expulsion of the Moriscos.
The Moriscos were the descendants of the Muslim population that
converted to Roman Catholicism under threat of exile from Ferdinand and
Isabella in 1502. From 1609 through 1614, the Spanish government
systematically forced an estimated 350,000 Moriscos to leave Spain for
Muslim North Africa.
Today there are an estimated 5 million descendants of the Moriscos
living in Morocco alone; there are millions more living in Algeria,
Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Tunisia and Turkey.
In a December 3 essay published by the Morocco-based newspaper Correo Diplomático,
the Moroccan journalist Ahmed Bensalh Es-salhi wrote that the "decision
to grant Spanish citizenship to the grandchildren of the Hebrews in
Spain in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, while ignoring the
Moriscos, the grandsons of the Muslims, is without doubt, flagrant
segregation and unquestionable discrimination, as both communities
suffered equally in Spain at that time. The decision could also be
considered by the international community to be an historic act of
absolute immorality and injustice…This decision is absolutely
disgraceful and dishonorable."
Bensalh then went on to threaten Spain: "Is Spain aware of what might
be assumed when it makes peace with some and not with others? Is Spain
aware of what this decision could cost? Has Spain considered that it
could jeopardize the massive investments that Muslims have made on its
territory? Does Spain have alternatives to the foreign investment from
Muslims if they ever decide to move that capital to other destinations
due to the discrimination against Muslims?"
Bensalh's article is the latest salvo in an escalating battle being
waged by Muslim historians and academics who are demanding that Spain
treat Moriscos the same way it treats Sephardic Jews.
Jamal Bin Ammar al-Ahmar, an "Andalus-Algerian" university professor
at the Ferhat Abbas University in Sétif in northeastern Algeria, has
been engaged in a four-year campaign to persuade Spanish King Juan
Carlos to identify and condemn those who expelled the Muslims from
Al-Andalus in the fifteenth century. Al-Ahmar is also demanding that
millions of Moriscos expelled from Spain be allowed to return there.
In a letter addressed to Juan Carlos,
Al-Ahmar calls for a "full legal and historical investigation of the
war crimes that were perpetrated on the Muslim population of Andalusia
by the French, English, European and papal crusaders, whose victims were
our poor miserable people, after the collapse of Islamic rule in
The letter speaks of "the injustice inflicted on the Muslim
population of Andalusia who are still suffering in the diaspora in exile
Al-Ahmar wants the Spanish monarch to apologize "on behalf of his
ancestors" and to assume "responsibility for the consequences" that this
would entail. He says it is necessary "to identify criminals, to
convict retroactively, while at the same time to identify and compensate
victims for their calamities and restore their titles." This process
would culminate with "a decree that allows immigrants to return to their
homes in Andalusia, and grant them full citizenship rights and
restoration of all their properties."
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