Islamic leader requests that the Portuguese law for Sephardic Jews be extended to Muslims

The dean of the largest Islamic university in the world argues that Portugal should give descendants of Muslims, expelled after the Christian reconquest, the same rights as those that are granted to Sephardic Jews

Mértola Mosque, Portugal

In an interview with Lusa, Ahmed Mohamed Al-Tayyeb, Sheikh of Al-Azhar University, Cairo, argued that the facilitated access to Portuguese citizenship granted to descendants of Jews expelled from Portugal should be extended to Muslims, whose ancestors were expelled from the country in the past.
“Muslims that are descendants of Muslim families from that time also have the right to appeal to entities and claim their rights”, stated the dean of Al-zhar, in an interview with Lusa.
During the XII, XIII and XIV centuries, many Muslims and Mozarabs were massacred in or expelled from the Iberian Peninsula, in the context of religious radicalization of the Catholic Church to the time, which also led to the expulsion of Jews that continued to profess the Jewish faith.
In recent years, Portugal apologized for expelling the Jews, and, in March 2015, the country issued an order granting the right to citizenship to the descendants of these families.
According to data from the Institute of Registration and Notary Affairs, since 2016, a total of 2.160 Sephardic Jews from the Iberian Peninsula, which were expelled from Portugal during the XVI century, have acquired Portuguese nationality.
For Al-Tayyeb, “there should be citizenship justice, regardless of religious or ethnic origin of the person concerned”.
On Thursday, the dean of Al-Azhar university, Cairo, the largest normative reference of Sunni Islam, met with the President of the Republic, and several Portuguese officials.
While commending the meetings, the dean expressed belief that the Portuguese state will extended the reach of the legislation.
“I think it should be the same for everyone. Citizenship is based on a social contract, which does not recognize discrimination of any kind”, he said.

Translated from the original in Portuguese found here

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