Results of the Expulsion

The architectural glory of Islamic Spain can still be seen and appreciated, as today's tourists recognize: the great monuments of Seville, Cordoba, Toledo and Granada stand as silent witnesses of past splendour. Judgments vary, according to whether the narrator is liberal in his outlook, or conservative and Catholic (as occurs with don Marce­lino Menendez y Pelayo's 6‑volume Historia de los heterodoxes espanoles, Madrid 1911).

This phase of human history has been rarely assessed dispassionately by Muslims, except possibly by Sir Mubammad Iqbal, the philosopher and poet of Lahore, and the Egyptian poet Ahmad Shawqi, both of whom made their pilgrimage to Cordoba. The Spanish scholars of the past century, Pascual de Gayangos, Juan Ribera and Eduardo Sasvedra, tried to recover this heritage in the last century, but more research remains to be clone, and by scholars sympa­thetic to the Islamic cause.

Two future dates are worth mentioning now: in 1999 we shall celebrate the half millennium of Ximenez de Cisneros' brash intrusion into Granadine affairs that sealed Spain's good fame in international circles for three centuries. This is a date by which these cruel laws and decrees should be formally rescinded.

Then in 2009‑2014, ten full years later, we shall celebrate (or deplore) the four hundredth anniver­sary of the final Expulsion practised by Philip III, the Duke of Lerma and the "infamous" Jaime Bleda. By that date, we should see what can be salvaged from these ruins, especially in places like Ceuta on the African continent, which should never have been affected by such tyranny.

The holocaust of the Palestinians shows the continuation of such illegal practices even in this century. Another example we have in the imams we meet from Central Asia, who are so happy to have their mosques back, and to be able to build new ones. Their statistics sound like those from another century.

The New Jersey off the Lebanese coast in 1982 continued this anti‑Islamic policy when it shelled Druze and Shi'ah villages but spared the Maronite or Catholic ones. Who inspired this policy? Was it an expression of malice, or did it occur through prejudice and ignorance?

I have been a "Moor on the coast" for more than half a century in the North American academic environment, without visiting Spain too often, but observing it from the coast of Morocco and Algeria, where so many of these refugees landed and founded families who often hold the keys to their long abandoned homes in Andalusia. But Islam is alive and well once more, and its heritage reviving.