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Writings

Farewell to the last Morisco

كتب : Akif EMRE 30/10/2010 23:18:26

 

When I saw from a distance the village close to Qurtoba, one of the Islamic civilization’s most magnificent capitols, I felt a fantastic inner emotional explosion. On the banks of a river, a fortress built during the Middle Ages on a high hill over-looking the plain dominated the horizon. No, it was an Andalusian fortress. With its walls and towers, there was an Andalusian fortress in front of me. Even though some places were deformed by elements added during the Spanish Middle Ages, it could be seen at first sight that it was a work of Muslim Andalusia. When I passed through the village and met Hashim just under the fortress, I had another surprise. Appearing to have just come from his garden, Hashim -as an artist and intellectual- was like a trust remaining today from Andalusia. His outer appearance was fully contradictory to the pictures in his workshop and his published theoretical books on art and Islamic art.
When a few minutes later we arrived with Hashim at Mansur Escudero’s home situated among the trees outside the village and which faced the fortress that reminds one daily of that magnificent Andalusian past, concepts like modern Spain and Andalusia took on different meanings.

When I heard that Doctor Mansur Escudero passed away last Sunday while performing the morning-prayer, I put aside the half-finished article I was writing. For me nothing could be more meaningful than mentioning the heirs of Andalusia as a debt of loyalty. His house among the greenery was like a community center. He arranged part of his house as a masjid, and he was working both on the national and international levels with Spanish Muslims around him.

We talked about the Spanish Andalusian heritage, the situation of Spanish Muslims and, of course, Moriscos. At a later visit I had the opportunity to make a long interview. As a group comprised of Spanish Muslims with an artistic and intellectual heritage, they are very active. They are at the same time interested in the Islamic world and give messages to the Spanish society and intervene in developments.
I want to remember Mansur Escudero by sharing some of his views on the Andalusian heritage and Moriscos.

“When the event that Christians call the ‘reconquista’ began, Muslims living on land taken by the Catholic armies either had to convert or leave Spain. These Muslims were called Morisco; but in spite of their forcibly accepting Catholicism, they tried to secretly maintain traditions from Islam.

“This is a very painful subject in Spanish history. For centuries they lived under oppression in Spain. A real genocide was lived… Perhaps it can be called the worst genocide in Europe’s history, because a people had to abandon their beliefs, traditions, languages and property and behave for a period like they were Catholics or they were exiled from their homeland. They dispersed throughout the world, in fact, some even went to America. They also went to Europe; the city of Sarajevo was founded by Andalusians or Andalusian Moriscos.

“The reason for this hatred was not just cultural; it was a religious, political and economic problem. This matter is very important: in Spain Islam’s image is made to appear as if Muslims came from outside, as if they were foreigners and Arab. The idea is put forth that they were exiled back to where they came from after 8 centuries. In the common perception of the Spanish people the idea that Muslims are foreigners is maintained. This comes from that time. They were not foreigners; they were Andalusians… like me. I was born in Malaga. Hashim and our Muslim friends are all from here. This is like exiling us because we are Arabs. We are not Arabs; we are Andalusians… Similarly, they were Spaniards who accepted Islam.

“Spain is a crucible of cultures. There is no term such as Spanish culture; it appeared from different states.

“Of course, the Andalusian culture or Islamic culture remained on its feet in spite of the heavy oppression of the Inquisition. As Spaniards our genes have been affected.
“In my opinion, we can call this genetic memory. We are the grandchildren and carry hidden traces of those who stayed here but hid their Muslimness. We are the invisible traces of Muslims remaining from Andalusia…”

Now the children of Andalusia have begun to leave visible traces; may Allah have mercy.

لا تذهب وتتركنا نسعد بإعجابك بصفحتنا على الفيس بوك ... إضغط هنا



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