AL-TANZIL
The
Revelation
 
[26:192]

Morisco Muslims From Spain Expelled
Rabbi Allen S. Maller
Explained By Rabbi Emeritus Allen S. Maller
Temple Akiba, Culver City, CA
Website: http://www.rabbimaller.com/ 

Spain’s recent initiative to offer Sephardic Jews a path to Spanish citizenship has stimulated some Morisco descendants to call on Madrid for similar treatment.

Moriscos are Muslims who were forced to convert to Catholicism rather than be killed or expelled from Spain and Portugal in the early 1500s, and who were then later expelled from Spain in 1609. They are scattered across North Africa.

They are cultural cousins of Marrano Jews who were forced to convert between 1391 and 1492. Those Jews who would not convert were finally expelled from Spain in 1492 and from Portugal in 1497.

Like Sephardic Jews, the much larger number of Muslims were an integral part of Spain’s society for centuries before being forced to convert; and then later painfully uprooted by Spain's Catholic rulers in 1609.

Just as was the case for Marrano Jews expelled from Spain in 1492 and from Portugal in 1497; large numbers of Moriscos expelled in 1609, perished at sea.

Those Moriscos, who made it to a port of call. “were not well-received,” said Hassan Aourid, author of a popular historical novel, “Le Morisque,” or The Morisco, set in that period.

“Many locals looked down on them for being bad Muslims, and indeed they were,” said Aourid. “They were neither good Christians nor Muslims; most drank wine but did not eat pork.”

Like Marrano Jews who secretly held on to some Jewish religious rites and to a Judeo-Spanish language, called Ladino, most of the Moriscos, including those who had been coerced into becoming baptized, retained an awareness of their Muslim ancestry.

When they were expelled, most Moriscos settled in North Africa and returned to the religion of their fathers.

Like most Sephardic Jews, descendants of Moriscos, especially in Rabat, married only within their community and most continue to do so to this day, according to Gil Shefler who wrote about them in the June 5, edition of Religious News Service.

Recently, more Morisco descendants are rediscovering their Iberian heritage.

“We think we deserve some respect for the suffering Moriscos experienced,” said Najib Loubaris, president of the Association for Andalusian Remembrance.

Loubaris is one of those who became aware of his Morisco roots late in life, thanks in part to an abundance of books that have appeared on the subject. His surname is a version of Olivares, a Spanish town near Seville.

After their expulsion from Spain, his ancestors were among those who founded the city of Sale opposite Rabat, where they sought retribution against Christendom by engaging in piracy.

“My sister explored our family heritage and discovered we were descendants of Ibrahim Bin Loubaris, a pirate who fought against the Americans in the Barbary Wars,” he said.

A few years ago, Loubaris formed an association with others that he said counts hundreds of members in Rabat, Tetouan, Marrakech, Fez and other Moroccan cities.

Loubaris does not know how many Muslims of Spanish ancestry live in Morocco but says there are some 500 surnames of Morisco origin in the books.

The president of the association said Spain’s methods of determining Sephardic Jewish identity were vague, and by not applying them to Moriscos it exposed a double standard.

Aourid, the novelist, pointed out the differences between the expulsions of Spanish Jews in 1492 and of Muslims in 1609.

He said that while Jews were expelled solely for their religious beliefs, Moriscos were also considered a fifth column at a time of tremendous Spanish struggle with the Muslim Ottoman Empire.

Also the oppressed Moriscos in Spain had violently rebelled on two separate occasions.

And while the number of Sephardic Jews seeking citizenship is not expected to be high, there may be millions of Morisco descendants in Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and beyond who might apply.

Aourid suggested an alternative way to right the wrongs of expulsion and build bridges between the faiths: by allowing Muslims to pray at the famed Mosque-Cathedral in Cordoba, originally a Muslim place of worship that was converted to a church.

Of course, then the Spanish would have to do the same for all the Jewish tourists who visit the famed Synagogue-Church in Toledo, originally a Jewish place of worship that was converted to a church; and the Turks would have to allow Christians to pray at the many Church-Mosques of Istanbul.

Not a bad idea of atonement for a world increasingly suffering from sectarian conflict.

Rabbi Maller's web site is: rabbimaller.com

  Morisco Muslims From Spain Expelled
Rabbi Allen S. Maller
Spain’s recent initiative to offer Sephardic Jews a path to Spanish citizenship has stimulated some Morisco descendants to call on Madrid for similar treatment.
Moriscos are Muslims who were forced to convert to Catholicism rather than be killed or expelled from Spain and Portugal in the early 1500s, and who were then later expelled from Spain in 1609. They are scattered across North Africa.
They are cultural cousins of Marrano Jews who were forced to convert between 1391 and 1492. Those Jews who would not convert were finally expelled from Spain in 1492 and from Portugal in 1497.
Like Sephardic Jews, the much larger number of Muslims were an integral part of Spain’s society for centuries before being forced to convert; and then later painfully uprooted by Spain's Catholic rulers in 1609.
Just as was the case for Marrano Jews expelled from Spain in 1492 and from Portugal in 1497; large numbers of Moriscos expelled in 1609, perished at sea.
Those Moriscos, who made it to a port of call. “were not well-received,” said Hassan Aourid, author of a popular historical novel, “Le Morisque,” or The Morisco, set in that period.
“Many locals looked down on them for being bad Muslims, and indeed they were,” said Aourid. “They were neither good Christians nor Muslims; most drank wine but did not eat pork.”
Like Marrano Jews who secretly held on to some Jewish religious rites and to a Judeo-Spanish language, called Ladino, most of the Moriscos, including those who had been coerced into becoming baptized, retained an awareness of their Muslim ancestry.
When they were expelled, most Moriscos settled in North Africa and returned to the religion of their fathers.
Like most Sephardic Jews, descendants of Moriscos, especially in Rabat, married only within their community and most continue to do so to this day, according to Gil Shefler who wrote about them in the June 5, edition of Religious News Service.
Recently, more Morisco descendants are rediscovering their Iberian heritage.
“We think we deserve some respect for the suffering Moriscos experienced,” said Najib Loubaris, president of the Association for Andalusian Remembrance.
Loubaris is one of those who became aware of his Morisco roots late in life, thanks in part to an abundance of books that have appeared on the subject. His surname is a version of Olivares, a Spanish town near Seville.
After their expulsion from Spain, his ancestors were among those who founded the city of Sale opposite Rabat, where they sought retribution against Christendom by engaging in piracy.
“My sister explored our family heritage and discovered we were descendants of Ibrahim Bin Loubaris, a pirate who fought against the Americans in the Barbary Wars,” he said.
A few years ago, Loubaris formed an association with others that he said counts hundreds of members in Rabat, Tetouan, Marrakech, Fez and other Moroccan cities.
Loubaris does not know how many Muslims of Spanish ancestry live in Morocco but says there are some 500 surnames of Morisco origin in the books.
The president of the association said Spain’s methods of determining Sephardic Jewish identity were vague, and by not applying them to Moriscos it exposed a double standard.
Aourid, the novelist, pointed out the differences between the expulsions of Spanish Jews in 1492 and of Muslims in 1609.
He said that while Jews were expelled solely for their religious beliefs, Moriscos were also considered a fifth column at a time of tremendous Spanish struggle with the Muslim Ottoman Empire.
Also the oppressed Moriscos in Spain had violently rebelled on two separate occasions.
And while the number of Sephardic Jews seeking citizenship is not expected to be high, there may be millions of Morisco descendants in Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and beyond who might apply.
Aourid suggested an alternative way to right the wrongs of expulsion and build bridges between the faiths: by allowing Muslims to pray at the famed Mosque-Cathedral in Cordoba, originally a Muslim place of worship that was converted to a church.
Of course, then the Spanish would have to do the same for all the Jewish tourists who visit the famed Synagogue-Church in Toledo, originally a Jewish place of worship that was converted to a church; and the Turks would have to allow Christians to pray at the many Church-Mosques of Istanbul.
Not a bad idea of atonement for a world increasingly suffering from sectarian conflict.

 Rabbi Maller's web site is: rabbimaller.com

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