Blood and Faith: The Purging of Muslim Spain by Matthew Carr

By Matthew Carr

Blood and religion is a riveting chronicle of the expulsion of Muslims from Spain within the early seventeenth century. In April 1609, King Philip III of Spain signed an edict denouncing the Muslim population of Spain as heretics, traitors, and apostates. Later that 12 months, the total Muslim inhabitants of Spain used to be given 3 days to depart Spanish territory, on possibility of death.In the brutal and disturbing exodus that undefined, complete households and groups have been obliged to desert houses and villages the place that they had lived for generations, leaving their estate within the arms in their Christian acquaintances. via 1613, an expected 300,000 Muslims have been faraway from Spanish territory.

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The treatment of these mudéjares (those who remained), who became vassals of Christian kings, broadly mirrored the provisions of the dhimma. Its basic principle was defined in the thirteenth-century legal code known as the Siete Partidas (Seven-Part Code) drawn up by the Castilian king Alfonso X, which declared that “the Moor should live among the Christians in the same manner as . . ” It prohibited Muslims from building mosques in Christian towns or engaging in public acts of Islamic worship, but they were permitted to follow their religion in their own communities.

Since then, the expulsion has become painfully relevant to our own era. In Europe the September 11 attacks and the subsequent international terrorist emergency have generated a toxic climate of fear and xenophobia, which has focused on immigrants in general and particularly on European Muslims. At a time when many European politicians are replacing “failed” multicultural notions of citizenship with an increasingly rigid and monolithic conception of national identity that regards cultural diversity as threatening, the story of the Moriscos is a grim example of the disastrous consequences that can ensue when assimilation is pursued by force.

1 There were some exceptions to this negative iconography, such as the idealized Moorish warriors who often featured in the medieval Christian balladry of the Granadan frontier. The figure of the “noble Moor” was an enduring stereotype in medieval and early modern Spanish literature that many Christians found exotic and appealing. These literary Moors were invariably knights or aristocrats, whose chivalry in love and battle mirrored that of their Christian counterparts, and they were often depicted with a respect and even admiration that to some extent belied the animosity that characterized Christian attitudes toward the Moorish enemy.

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