Refugees under the Almoravids

Sunday, January 9, 2011: 8:30 AM
Room 111 (Hynes Convention Center)
Juan Camilo Gómez-Rivas , American University in Cairo, New York, NY
This paper explores the image and legal status of Muslim refugees from al-Andalus during the first half of its territorial contraction between 1085-1232. The Taifa and Almoravid periods witnessed a wave of migration from territories newly conquered by the Christian kingdoms of northern Iberia as well as the displacement of populations within.  The period was also characterized by vigorous interaction between al-Andalus and the Maghrib along with a more forceful articulation of an ideology of defense against an ascendant Europe by Muslim states both in the western and eastern Mediterranean.  The concomitant militarization of the Iberian frontier had a profound impact on both Muslim and Christian societies. This paper argues that the concept of refuge-taking and asylum, within the broader discourse of inter-religious conflict, became more developed as a result of this impact.  The paper will analyze legal debates concerning the need for Muslims to emigrate to Muslim-governed lands, the implicit obligation to receive those displaced, their material circumstances, and their representations in the contemporary literature. Of special interest will be the evolving interaction between representation and legal status. The paper will focus on one or two case studies that highlight this interaction. The texts will be selected from Mālikī case literature (from the fatwā collections of al-Wansharīsī, al-Burzulī, Ibn Rushd al-Jadd, and the nawāzil of Qāḍī ʿIyāḍ) and will be contextualized by other Andalusi and Maghribi sources (primarily histories and biographical dictionaries).  The paper is part of a larger comparative project on understanding the predecessors of the modern concepts of refuge, sanctuary, and asylum through a study of displaced religious minorities in the Mediterranean during the time of the Crusades and the Reconquista.
Previous Presentation | Next Presentation >>