Meanwhile, Muslims are now demanding that the Spanish government grant automatic citizenship to millions of descendants of Muslims who were expelled from Spain in the seventeenth century.
Much of the Iberian Peninsula was occupied by Muslim conquerors known as the Moors from 711 until 1492, when the Moorish Kingdom of Granada surrendered to Ferdinand and Isabella. But the final Muslim expulsion from Granada, known in Arabic as Al-Andalus, did not take place until over a century later, beginning in 1609, when King Philip III decreed the Expulsion of the Moriscos.
The Moriscos were the descendants of the Muslim population that converted to Roman Catholicism under threat of exile from Ferdinand and Isabella in 1502. From 1609 through 1614, the Spanish government systematically forced an estimated 350,000 Moriscos to leave Spain for Muslim North Africa.
Today there are an estimated 5 million descendants of the Moriscos living in Morocco alone; there are millions more living in Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Tunisia and Turkey.
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