Al-Andalus Rediscovered: Iberia's New Muslims (Columbia/Hurst)

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9780231702744: Al-Andalus Rediscovered: Iberia's New Muslims (Columbia/Hurst)

Iberia is a place of historic and symbolic significance to all three of the world's major religions. Myths concerning Islam's origins collide with the story of the Christian reconquista, the subsequent Spanish Inquisition, and the massive expulsion of Muslims and Jews some five hundred years ago. Yet Muslims have made a significant comeback in this region, which now hosts one of Europe's fastest growing Muslim communities.

This volume recounts the "retaking" of Al-Andalus by Iberia's new Muslims, which include groups as diverse as students, boat workers, female professionals, and clerics, and their successful integration into a strongly Roman Catholic culture. Marvine Howe shares not only the experiences of Iberia's Muslims but also the reactions of Spanish and Portuguese officials, academics, NGOs, and ordinary citizens, who have found ways to incorporate Muslims and other immigrants into Iberian society despite domestic and European pressure to do otherwise. She also revisits the events of March 11, 2004, when Muslim extremists launched a devastating attack on Madrid's transportation system, and investigates these events in relation to Al-Qaeda's stated intent to reclaim Al-Andalus for Islam. Howe pursues several basic threads, such as whether Iberia's humane immigration policies can be exported to other European contexts and whether the Andalusian spirit of tolerance and diversity will prevail over a troubled economy and heightened radicalism -- in both the Islamic world and the West.

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About the Author:

Marvine Howe is a former correspondent for the New York Times in Africa, Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East. Her latest books are Turkey: A Nation Divided Over Islam's Revival and Morocco: The Islamist Awakening and Other Challenges.

Review:

A superb and remarkably comprehensive account of the recent transformation of Spain and Portugal into 'immigrant-receiving' countries, with a particular emphasis on Muslim immigrants. This is the first book-length analysis of the contemporary resonance of Moorish Iberia in Spanish and Portuguese society and the different responses of both countries to that historical legacy in the context of a new era of Muslim immigration. Marvine Howe is a skilled and remorseless reporter who has clearly brought all her years of experience to bear in her research. The result is authoritative, illuminating, and indispensable.

(Matthew Carr, author of Blood and Faith: The Purging of Muslim Spain)

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Howe, Marvine
Published by Columbia University Press (2012)
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