Far-right circles urge expulsion of Muslims from Spain

Far-right circles urge expulsion of Muslims from Spain

There has been a surge in anti-Muslim rhetoric in Spain, with the far-right urging the expulsion of Muslim “invaders” from the country.

Sergio Gracia, the president of the Center for Research on the Far-Right (CINVED) in Spain evaluated the far-right’s anti-Muslim rhetoric for Anadolu Agency (AA).

Gracia said the far-right uses the historical concept of “Reconquista,” or reconquest of Andalusia, and related historical events to justify reclaiming Spanish lands from Muslims and expelling them.

“The extreme right usually refers to historical figures like Don Pelayo or El Sid, also using terms like reconquer, referring to battles such as the battle of Covadonga, the battle of Alarcos, the battle of las Navas of Tolosa or the takeover of Granada.

“They usually give you key dates alluding to the battles that they carried out at the local level, such as Malaga 1487 or Alcala 1247. These are two examples of social movements that have been in Spain working and today they are under the umbrella from a far-right political party as Hacer Nacion,” he said.

Gracia noted that far-right figures like Don Pelayo, the Christian king who established the Kingdom of Asturias in northern Spain after rebelling against Arab rulers, are used as symbols.

“The far right sees Muslims as invaders and they sell it that way. You can read on social media references such as expel the invader or you can hear a politician of extreme right talk about Troy horses, Islamization or that demographics are changing in Spain — referring to the construction of religious centers such as mosques, as Sergio Macian and Rocio de Meer have done.”

Hundreds of thousands of Muslims expelled from Iberia during the Reconquista

Gracia added that during the Reconquista, Muslims in the Iberian Peninsula faced the choice between Christianization, death or exile.

“Moriscos were the descendants of the Spaniard Muslims who had remained in the Iberian Peninsula after the fall of the Nasrid kingdom of Granada in 1492 and who were forced to choose between conversion or exile. Not wanting to sacrifice either his land or his faith, the vast majority converted to Christianity but clandestinely maintained their fidelity to Islam.

“In 1502, an edict was published that required all subjects of the crown to baptize – were they Christians or not. Later, other prohibitions that could be identified with Islam were carried out – like the way of dressing or the use of the Arabic language. After the expulsion decree, they had no other option but to hide their convictions,” he said.

Gracia stated that during this period, Moriscos were pressured to consume pork and wine and faced bans on fasting and prayer but they used strategies to avoid suspicion.

Despite ineffective evangelization, they resisted imposed practices during significant life events, according to him.

Gracia added that the exile decision faced opposition in areas with large Morisco populations but between 1609 and 1613 about 300,000 Moriscos were expelled from the Iberian Peninsula.

Morisco cultural heritage continues to live in Spain

Gracia emphasized that despite the expulsion of Moriscos, the historical artifacts and cultural elements left by Muslims remain part of Spain’s cultural heritage.

“Spain, unlike its neighboring countries, keeps and conserves its history brilliantly, both in the monuments, such as the Cordoba Mosque, Medina Azahara, the Alhambra of Granada or the Aljaferia Palace in Zaragoza, among others, and in documentation.”

He noted that the use of figs and “almonds,” certain “recipes, dances, Morisco baths in Ronda, and narrow streets from that period are prevalent throughout Spain, especially in Andalusia.”

Gracia also stressed the importance of “civil society” activities in countering far-right hate campaigns and crimes, calling for continued action “through congresses, seminars, condemning hate crimes, and promoting open days in Islamic communities,” ensuring respect for the “law granting rights and freedoms to all citizens.”

European Parliament elections and far-right in Spain

In the Spanish leg of the European Parliament (EP) elections, the new far-right party, “The Celebration is Over,” surprised many by securing 4.6% of the vote and three MEPs, disrupting the political balance.

Led by 34-year-old Luis Perez, the party that was recently founded, gained approximately 800,000 votes and sent three MEPs to the EP.

The Vox Party, representing the far-right for the last decade, secured six MEPs with a 9.6% vote share in EP elections.

Perez, known for his harsh anti-Islam and anti-immigrant rhetoric, said the party came to “destroy the political system” in Spain.

“Spain has become a country of criminals, corrupt people, mercenaries, pedophiles and rapists, and this is a sad situation. Many Spaniards suffer from this every day,” he said.

Perez defined all irregular immigrants as “criminals” and refused to live in Brussels as an MEP, calling it “the capital of a failed country full of Islamists, insecurity and rape.”

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