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Morocco and the Iberian Peninsula have traditionally been inseparable from each other via the narrow Strait of Gibraltar. Today, Morocco is one of the few countries that keeps the traditions of al-Andalus alive. This history has a special place in the historical, cultural and spiritual heritage of the country. Located in the far west of the Islamic world, Morocco is known around the world as a unique country with its geographic, historical and cultural diversity.


On January 2, 1492, the city of Granada falls with the surrender of the last ruler Abu Abdallah Muhammad XI, better known as Boabdil. This brings a definitive end to al-Andalus and the political power of the Muslims in the Iberian Peninsula. In the now united Catholic Spain of Ferdinand and Isabella there is no longer any place for dissenters. On March 31, 1492, the Edict of Expulsion is signed in religious euphoria. All Jews are forced to convert to Christianity or are given four months to leave. Ultimately, between 1609 and 1614, the last Moriscos have to leave the country.


The Andalusian Muslims and Sephardic Jews are building a new life in North Africa. They bring new influences to Morocco and enrich the already existing traditions. The refugees of the Iberian Peninsula experience similar feelings in exile, remembering their homeland, ancestors and past in a common way. They gradually integrate into Moroccan society, while retaining their unique traditions and culture. Andalusians often marry within their own communities formed in Morocco. Their heritage is passed on from generation to generation. To this day, the awareness of their Andalusian identity has remained alive among their descendants. They are the Children of Al-Andalus.


Rick Leeuwestein and Hicham Ghalbane have captured forty different stories in Morocco at different locations. Beautiful Moroccan-Andalusian families have shared their personal stories, memories and history through encounters and moving conversations. An official film will follow soon.

Morocco has been known for a long time across the globe as a beacon of tolerance and an example of successful Amazigh-Jewish-Arabic and Andalusian coexistence. Today Morocco is one of the few countries that has kept the traditions of Al-Andalus alive. The Andalusian history has a specific place in the historical, cultural and spiritual heritage of the country. 


With our photo book and movie "Children of Al-Andalus" (in collaboration with Marmoucha) we hope to promote mutual knowledge and inter-cultural relations among the Andalusian Muslims and Jews and understanding towards these people. Especially about how these two groups are trying to preserve their common legacy and cultural heritage. A fascinating journey through five centuries of history in Morocco, staring from their expulsion from Spain and Portugal in 1492. 

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