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The Islam of “Our” Ancestors: An “Imagined” Morisco Past Evoked in Today’s Andalusian Conversion Narratives

The Islam of “Our” Ancestors: An “Imagined” Morisco Past Evoked in Today’s Andalusian Conversion... Abstract Spain has the highest rates of conversion to Islam in the European Union. A significant proportion of converts live in Andalusia, which was once part of medieval Muslim Spain ( al-Andalus ). The “Muslim past” is looked to with a burgeoning sense of nostalgia, yet little is known about this romantic longing. Some converts perceive al-Andalus as a glorious epoch marked by religious co-existence ( convivencia ) and the flowering of Arabic culture, remembering those medieval Muslims who were exiled from Spain or who stayed and practised Islam secretly, and viewing themselves as heirs of these medieval Muslims. Conversion for them is not conversion but a rediscovery of the “truly Muslim nature” of Andalusia. Fundamental to this Andalusian convert discourse is the claim that Islam is not an “imported” religion but a local, indigenous one. An analysis of these Andalusian converts’ narratives will contribute to a more nuanced understanding of the current ideological battles over national and religious identity. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Muslims in Europe Brill

The Islam of “Our” Ancestors: An “Imagined” Morisco Past Evoked in Today’s Andalusian Conversion Narratives

Journal of Muslims in Europe , Volume 2 (2): 137 – Jan 1, 2013

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
2211-792X
eISSN
2211-7954
DOI
10.1163/22117954-12341261
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract Spain has the highest rates of conversion to Islam in the European Union. A significant proportion of converts live in Andalusia, which was once part of medieval Muslim Spain ( al-Andalus ). The “Muslim past” is looked to with a burgeoning sense of nostalgia, yet little is known about this romantic longing. Some converts perceive al-Andalus as a glorious epoch marked by religious co-existence ( convivencia ) and the flowering of Arabic culture, remembering those medieval Muslims who were exiled from Spain or who stayed and practised Islam secretly, and viewing themselves as heirs of these medieval Muslims. Conversion for them is not conversion but a rediscovery of the “truly Muslim nature” of Andalusia. Fundamental to this Andalusian convert discourse is the claim that Islam is not an “imported” religion but a local, indigenous one. An analysis of these Andalusian converts’ narratives will contribute to a more nuanced understanding of the current ideological battles over national and religious identity.

Journal

Journal of Muslims in EuropeBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2013

Keywords: Islam in Spain; conversion to Islam; Moriscos; al-Andalus

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