FRENCH INQUISITION! IT IS ABOUT TIME

The Spanish Inquisition in 1492 The Inquisition was originally intended in large part to ensure the orthodoxy of those who converted from Judaism and Islam. This regulation of the faith of the newly converted was intensified after the royal decrees issued in 1492 and 1501 ordering Jews and Muslims to convert or leave Spain. Alhambra Decree, which ordered the expulsion, was issued in January 1492. Historic accounts of the numbers of Jews who left Spain have varied enormously. Historians of the period give extremely high figures: Juan de Mariana speaks of 800,000 people, and Don Isaac Abravanel of 300,000. Modern estimates, based on careful examination of official documents and population estimates of communities, are much lower: Henry Kamen estimates that, of a population of approximately 80,000 Jews, about one half or 40,000 chose emigration. The Jews of the kingdom of Castile emigrated mainly to Portugal (whence they were expelled in 1497) and to North Africa. However, according to Henry Kamen, the Jews of the kingdom of Aragon, went “to adjacent Christian lands, mainly to Italy”, rather than to Muslim lands as is often assumed. The Sefardim or Anusim descendants of Spanish Jews gradually migrated throughout Europe and North Africa, where they established communities in many cities. They also went to New Spain, the Ottoman Empire and North America (the American Southwest), Central and South America.

The Inquisition not only hunted for Protestants and for false converts from Judaism among the conversos, but also searched for false or relapsed converts among the Moriscos, forced converts from Islam. The Moriscos were mostly concentrated in the recently conquered kingdom of Granada, in Aragon, and in Valencia. Officially, all Muslims in the Crown of Castile had been forcibly converted to Christianity in 1502. Muslims in the Crown of Aragon were obliged to convert by Charles I‘s decree of 1526, as most had been forcibly baptized during the Revolt of the Brotherhoods (1519–1523) and these baptisms were declared to be valid.

Many Moriscos were suspected of practising Islam in secret, and the jealousy with which they guarded the privacy of their domestic life prevented the verification of this suspicion.[30] Initially they were not severely persecuted by the Inquisition, but experienced a policy of evangelization without torture,[31] a policy not followed with those conversos who were suspected of being crypto-Jews. There were various reasons for this. Most importantly, in the kingdoms of Valencia and Aragon a large number of the Moriscos were under the jurisdiction of the nobility, and persecution would have been viewed as a frontal assault on the economic interests of this powerful social class.[32] Still, fears ran high among the population that the Moriscos were traitorous, especially in Granada. The coast was regularly raided byBarbary pirates backed by Spain’s enemy the Ottoman Empire, and the Moriscos were suspected of aiding them.

In 1609, King Philip III, upon the advice of his financial adviser the Duke of Lerma and Archbishop of Valencia Juan de Ribera, decreed the Expulsion of the Moriscos. Hundreds of thousands of Moriscos were expelled, some of them probably sincere Christians. This was further fueled by the religious intolerance of Archbishop Ribera who quoted the Old Testament texts ordering the enemies of God to be slain without mercy and setting forth the duties of kings to extirpate them.[35] The edict required: ‘The Moriscos to depart, under the pain of death and confiscation, without trial or sentence… to take with them no money, bullion, jewels or bills of exchange…. just what they could carry.’[36] So successful was the enterprise, in the space of months, Spain was emptied of its Moriscos

France today:

The country’s radical secularism clashes with many Muslims’ desire to publicly display their faith

With news that the chief suspects in the massacre on Wednesday at the offices of the French satirical newspaperCharlie Hebdo are French citizens, a new mystery emerges: how could the land of liberty, equality and fraternity have produced men hell-bent on destroying all three? While the attack may evoke comparisons to earlier tragedies in New York, London, or Madrid, France’s relationship with its Muslim citizens is particular — and particularly fraught. What sets France on a particular collision course with Islamic practices is the country’s radical brand of secularism — and this ideology’s impact on French Muslim life.

With more than 5 million Muslims, France may have Western Europe’s largest Muslim community, but its relationship with Islam has been tenser than, say, Britain’s or Germany’s. An older generation of French Muslims has been alienated by memories of the Algerian War in the 1950s, when local groups battled for independence from more than a century of French rule, with its heavy-handed disdain for local customs. Their children and grandchildren frequently feel excluded from mainstream society because of their Arabic names or the color of their skin.

With news that the chief suspects in the massacre on Wednesday at the offices of the French satirical newspaperCharlie Hebdo are French citizens, a new mystery emerges: how could the land of liberty, equality and fraternity have produced men hell-bent on destroying all three? While the attack may evoke comparisons to earlier tragedies in New York, London, or Madrid, France’s relationship with its Muslim citizens is particular — and particularly fraught. What sets France on a particular collision course with Islamic practices is the country’s radical brand of secularism — and this ideology’s impact on French Muslim life.

With more than 5 million Muslims, France may have Western Europe’s largest Muslim community, but its relationship with Islam has been tenser than, say, Britain’s or Germany’s. An older generation of French Muslims has been alienated by memories of the Algerian War in the 1950s, when local groups battled for independence from more than a century of French rule, with its heavy-handed disdain for local customs. Their children and grandchildren frequently feel excluded from mainstream society because of their Arabic names or the color of their skin.

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