Al-Andalus Muslims demand Spain citizenship rights
One of Bin Laden's core demands was a "return" of Spain. In this tortured story from Spain, it appears that mainstream Muslim groups want the same thing
Muslims of Spanish descent are up in arms about a decision by the Spanish government to grant citizenship to Jews expelled hundreds of years ago without doing the same for Muslims, the English language Spanish website, The Local has reported.
Jews and Muslims were pushed out of Spain in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries at the behest of the Catholic Church. While Jewish groups have accepted that past-is-past the demand for Spain, or parts of it, to be returned to Islam after the Islamic invasions of the first millennium and subsequent expulsions, extremist Muslim groups such as al-Qaeda have made "Al-Andalus" a centre-piece of their ideology.
The local said:
"Although they were allowed to remain in Spain for over a century longer than their Jewish counterparts, King Philip III decreed the Expulsion of the Moriscos in 1609, forcing them all to flee to neighbouring Muslim North Africa.
"Now that Spain’s Justice Ministry has decided to grant citizenship to the descendants of the Sephardi Jews who were kicked out 522 years ago, associations fighting to keep the memory of Muslim Spain alive are calling for the same civil code changes for the Moriscos."
Bayi Loubaris, President of the Association for Historical Legacy of Al-Andalus was quoted as telling Spanish news agency EFE:"The Spanish State should grant the same rights to all those who were expelled, otherwise their decision is selective, if not racist."
While Mr. Loubaris is regarded as a moderate, his views echo those of Osama bin-Laden who made the issue of "Al-Andalus" something of much greater significance than widely popularised Islamist concerns such as the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Diplomats and analysts contacted by The Commentator say that the move towards Jews is almost entirely symbolic since Sephardic Jews have either made a life for themselves in Israel or live happily in countries such as France. They doubt that the Spanish state will risk public opposition by granting equal rights to Muslims who live in poverty-stricken countries such as Morocco.
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