On Facebook, a Muslim group is calling on fellow members of Islam to make their home in Spain. Over 1,300 years ago, a Muslim warrior -- Tariq ibn-Ziyad -- landed at Gibraltar and soon controlled nearly the entirety of the Iberian Peninsula. Not satisfied with the gains there, Muslim armies swept north into France but were finally defeated by a Christian king, Charles Martel, at the Battle of Tours in 732. But technology has advanced since 711 A.D., and Facebook can now aid in a second conquest of Spain.
 
Muslims in Spain and elsewhere are particularly focused on Andalusia, the southernmost part of Spain, which is rich in olive and orange groves, rice fields, and orchards. Andalusia got its name from the Germanic Vandals who invaded Spain more than a thousand years ago. However, Muslim jihadi doctrine claims it for Islam, calling it “Al-Andalus.” It was in Cordoba that Muslims established a kingdom or emirate that lasted for hundreds of years, pulling down churches and robbing them of carved pillars to build the famous mosque there.
 
The return to Al-Andalus” is the name of the Facebook page, which has as its motto: "Returning holiness to Al Andalus.' It serves as the guiding motto of an electronic invasion of Spain in what Muslims call their “right of return.” “Al Ándalus was and continues to be our home;” “We are not foreigners: this is our country;” “Conceding citizenship to all descendants of moriscos (Moors) is a cultural debt Spain owes to us;” “We have not lost the hope of returning to our home after five centuries,” are among the other demands being placed by Muslims before the Spanish people on a Facebook account.
 
Similarly, Mexican nationalists, both in Mexico and the United States, continue to assert that Mexicans entering the United States illegally from its southern neighbor are merely returning home. Much of what is now the United States was ceded by Mexico as a result of the Mexican-American War of the 1840s. Ethnic solidarity groups such as the National Council of La Raza (which receives federal funding) and the Moviemiento Estudiantil Chicano (MeCha) have long opposed U.S. immigration laws and have advocated for open borders. According to Mecha:  “Chicano is our identity; it defines who we are as people. It rejects the notion that we…should assimilate into the Anglo-American melting pot…Aztlan was the legendary homeland of the Aztecas … It became synonymous with the vast territories of the Southwest, brutally stolen from a Mexican people marginalized and betrayed by the hostile custodians of the Manifest Destiny.” (Statement on University of Oregon MEChA Website, Jan. 3, 2006). Mexican nationalists seek the separation of so-called Aztlan from the rest of the United States.
 
 
The "Restore Holiness in Andalusia" Facebook page has almost 40,000 followers or “likes” and calls on Muslims to establish themselves in Spain and find work in Spain, where in 1492 the forces of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella conquered the last Muslim stronghold and Muslims fled the country. 
 
The authors of the Facebook page define themselves as descendants of Moriscos who were expelled from Spain by King Philip III at the beginning of the 17th century. At the time, there were approximately 300,000 so-called Moriscos who were actually Catholics. The modern Moriscos say they are on a mission to maintain their Moorish heritage and “strengthen our ties with our dear Al Andalus,” while demanding the right of return. 
 
The Facebook page, which is written in Arabic and Spanish, says ambiguously: “In order to preserve Arabic identity and language in Al Ándalus, we must be certain that our children begin religious education at the earliest age. Inshallah [Allah willing], soon we will have enough religious centers where we can share the teachings of the Koran, our language, and the history of our forebears in  Al Ándalus. While it is important to integrate into Spanish society, it is even more important to preserve our identity.”
 
The authors of the Facebook page are anonymous. Also, while there is a link to a website, that website appears to be an Asian dating service rather than a Arabic language website. alandalusislamica.com/ 
 
According to the Actuall newsite in Spain, the Spanish Ministry of Interior has no information about the Facebook page or the associated website. 
 
Among the points raised on the Facebook page is the issue of multiculturalism. Spain’s government has long referred to the country as one of three cultures: Christian, Jewish, and Muslim, for the purposes of the tourism industry. Indeed, it was in Spain that the three major religions long lived side by side but not always in peace. Muslim law makes second-class citizens of Jews and Christians, for example. Wars between Christians and Muslims went on for centuries, while Muslims sometimes sided with Christians in defeating Muslim rulers. “Al Ándalus is a multicultural country: its central government and Autonomous Communities defend religious pluralism, making it the most propitious place for settlement.” 
 
According to Actuall, there are entire neighborhoods in the cities of Granada, Cordoba, and Barcelona where police do not dare enter. The website said that Spanish law does not apply there, but Muslim religious law (shariah) does. This is a phenomenon that has been observed elsewhere in Europe, in places such as London, Paris, Copenhagen, and Stockholm, says the website.
 
 
Here are some messages found on the Facebook page:
 
In referring to the defeat of the Emir of Granada by Christian forces in 1492, 524 years ago, it says: “Even though the wait has been almost 524 years, we have not given up the hope of returning to our home. From the shores of the [Ibhttp://www.actuall.com/democracia/una-pagina-de-facebook-islamista-anima-a-los-musulmanes-a-establecerse-en-su-hogar-espana/erian] peninsula to the heights of the Pyrenees, we shall return to take back our lands, the same lands that our ancestors once cultivated and where we will soon settle down with our families. We shall honor the legacy of our ancestors and bring back sanctity to Al Ándalus.”
 
“At the moment, the majority religion in Al-Ándalus is Christianity, but this should not concern us because...soon there will be inaugurated new mosques, educational and cultural centers, and Muslim culture throughout Al-Ándalus.”
 
Al Ándalus was and will be our home: 
 
“We can say today that there no feelings of nostalgia. Al Ándalus was and will continue to be our home.”
 
We are not foreigners: our children will be born here
 
“In order to live in harmony, what is most basic is that they should no longer see us as foreigners, as if we are from beyond Al Ándalus. Our ancestors were born here and our children will be born here: this is our country in the same way that it is your country. Therefore, we demand the cooperation of city authorities to bring out initiatives in the public sector that will best accomodate the rights and traditions of the Muslim community.”
 
 
The descendants of Moors demand Spanish citizenship: 
 
“The granting of Spanish citizenship to all Moorish descendants is the cultural debt owed to us by Spaniards. It is time to keep promises, time to pay debts.”
 
Moors, who were unjustly expelled, have the right of return: 
 
“Moorish roots are evident in Spanish customs: flamenco [dancing and music], cooking with olive oil, the use of perfume, are just a small part of the symbols of our community that marked the lands that were our home for centuries. We call on those of Muslim lineage to begin their journey to Al Ándalus in order to integrate themselves into the society of their origins. The right of return represents the right of our people to self-determination.”
 
The Facebook page expresses approval of the government’s decision to offer classes on the Koran in public schools: 
 
“Thankfully, the education of your children will finally be in good hands. The right to receiving Muslim religious education is guaranteed in public schools, and where requested by private schools. Teachers specialized in Islam are being hired who can provide the basics of the Koran to elementary school students. Islamic education during this stage is crucial because it is then that children can be molded.”
 
Muslims are encouraged by the Facebook page to consider moving to Barcelona. Half a million Muslims have been accommodated in Catalonia. In Barcelona, specifically, municipal authorities are promoting the incorporation of the Muslim community in society. Wearing hijab, praying in a mosque, having halal [food prepared according to shariah], are part of day to day life in Barcelona. 
 
“It is therefore that we recommend settling in Barcelona. Conveniently, the municipal government is working to prepare 31,000 unoccupied public housing units.”
 
In Madrid, Muslim neighborhoods (Spanish: moreria)  are growing: Carabanchel, Villaverde, San Pascual, Ciudad Lineal, La Latina, Bravo Murillo, and Vallecas: 
 
“Today, we present neighborhoods in the Madrid area where Muslims are the majority, and where they can count on facilities and institutions to enable them to lead a Muslim life. Together let us exercise our right of return. Al Ándalus is our home.”
 
للاخوة الذين شرعوا بعودتهم الى ارضهم، الاندلس، نوفر لكم بالمعلومات حول اماكن الإقامة المفضلة في البلاد التي تعطيكم أحسن إمكانية للاندماج الناجح. نوصيكم ونعرضكم حارات مدريد الأكثر مأهولة بالمسلمين والتي توجد فيها جميع الخدمات والمؤسسات اللازمة للحياة الإسلامية. مارسوا حق عودتكم فان الاندلس بيتنا.
 
African migrants, who are largely Muslim, continue to cross the narrow Straits of Gibraltar in frail watercraft, or they scale razor wire fences at Spain's outposts in North Africa at Ceuta and Melilla to seek asylum. Spain has also seen a rise in the number of migrants of Middle Eastern Muslims. Muslim birthrates are several times greater than Spain's, where the native population birthrate is not enough to surpass the mortality rate.


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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author only, not of Spero News.

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