Muslims expelled from Spain in 1609 deserve citizenship, group says

Feb. 18, 2014 at 3:57 PM

SEVILLE, Spain, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Descendants of Muslims exiled from Spain in the 17th century have decried the granting of citizenship to descendants of exiled Jews as racist, a spokesman said.

Spain's Justice Ministry recently extended citizenship to those who could prove familial relationships to Sephardi Jews who were expelled from Spain in 1492, but withheld a similar grant to descendants of Moriscos, Spanish Muslims who converted to Christianity but were expelled to North Africa in 1609.

"The Spanish state should grant the same rights to all those who were expelled. Otherwise their decision is selective, if not racist," Bayh Loubaris, president of the Association for Historical Legacy of al-Andalus, told the Spanish news agency EFE.

Loubaris called the grant of citizenship to Jewish descendants "very positive" and an acknowledgement of the "guilt of the Spanish state in expelling its own citizens."

Associations continue to promote the heritage of Muslims in Spain, the Spanish news website TheLocal.es said Tuesday, noting the Muslim influence on architecture, food and music which typifies the autonomous community of Andalusia in southern Spain.

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