|Surrender of Grenada, the last Muslim city, to Catholic Monarchs|
The passage of a law in Spain that provides for citizenship to descendants of Sephardic Jews who were expelled in 1492 has resulted in demands, on behalf of Muslims who live in North Africa, that are the descendants of Moors removed from southern Spain, during the Christian Reconquest, to be granted Spanish citizenship. Moroccan and Algerian journalists and academics have been calling for citizenship rights, an apology from the King of Spain, criminal convictions for those who removed the Moors, monetary damages, and restoration of Moorish properties lost at that time.
Those making the demands have threatened that Muslim countries will withdraw their massive foreign investments in Spain, and to remove their capital from the country, unless Spanish citizenship is granted.
However, if you know Spanish history, you know that the Moors were colonial occupiers of Andalusia, who were expelled by military force. Their removal was a decolonization, ordered by the Spanish monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella. On the other hand, the Spanish Jews, whose presence predated Christianity in Spain, were removed due to bigotry and persecution. Assertions that Moors of the fifteenth century were the victims is not supported by historical fact. There have been no ties for 500 years, and the Moors, who had conquered Spain, lost their European territory to the original inhabitants. Objectively, they have no colorable claim.*
Spain has not agreed to the Moroccan Muslim demands. Nevertheless, should this issue ripen into some sort of punitive economic action, on behalf of the Arab countries of North Africa and the Middle East, the impact upon Spain's tottering economy could be severe. there could also be terrorist actions against Spanish interests, and property, both in Spain and abroad.
In the event that either of the two above scenarios occur, it is suggested that you raise Country Risk for Spain, examine your present financial exposure, and pending matters, and reduce them as much as possible.
* Obviously, the Moroccans who are asserting this "right of return" are copying the claims of
Arabs, who have been referring to themselves as Palestinians since 1964, to return to homes in what is now Israel, that they abandoned in 1948, during the war. Those claimants were told, by a number of Arab countries that were engaged in combat, to leave, to aid in a successful military campaign, and that they could return after an Arab victory. When Israel won the war, they became refugees, as the neighboring Arab countries refused to allow them to be assimilated, and become citizens. Their descendants, sixty five years later still refer to themselves as refugees.
More history lesson: In truth and in fact, Arab nationals, who entered the region only in the early 20th Century, attracted by the economic development of previously infertile lands by Jewish settlers, were not long-term inhabitants, and have no historical claim. The Jewish presence goes back thousands of years. In fact, even the term Palestinian was exclusively used, until 1948, to refer to the Jewish residents of the British Mandate. The Muslim residents then insisted on referring to themselves as Arabs. It was the PLO, the Palestinian Liberation Organization, that began using the term to refer to Muslims, after it was formed in the 1960s.
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