Al-Andalus Rediscovered

Iberia's New Muslims

October 2012 9781849041614 240pp


Iberia is a special place of colliding myths over its Islamic past and the Christian reconquista, the Inquisition and massive expulsion of Muslims and Jews some five centuries ago. Long a land of emigrants and explorers, it has now become home to Europe’s latest, rapidly growing Muslim communities.

Al-Andalus Rediscovered focuses on Iberia’s new Muslims, and their lives in a largely Roman Catholic region. Also featured are the Spanish and Portuguese officials, academics, NGOs and ordinary citizens who are trying to find better ways to integrate Muslims and other immigrants, despite domestic and European pressures for tougher counter-measures.

This book seeks to answer the basic questions: whether an Iberian model of a humane immigration policy is possible in ‘fortress’ Europe and whether the partisans of the Andalusian spirit of tolerance and diversity can prevail at this time of economic hardship and heightened radicalism in both the Islamic World and the West.


‘… a thorough and accessible primer on Islam and migration that will be of interest to a broad nonacademic readership and of use to students and scholars new to topics such as Islam, migration, or Mediterranean Europe.’ — H-Net Reviews in Humanities and Social Sciences

‘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. There is really nothing like it. … 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. 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

‘An important addition to contemporary studies of Portugal and Spain. The noted New York Times correspondent writes evocatively on an oddly neglected but increasingly vital, topic: roles of Muslims in Iberia in history and today, following recent migrations. The range of her sources is impressive: personal interviews with leaders, the media, diverse publications and the author’s travels and observations of fifty years. This is the new ‘culture history’ at its best.’ — Douglas L. Wheeler, Professor of History Emeritus, University of New Hampshire, and author of Republican Portugal and Historical Dictionary of Portugal

‘Marvine Howe, within the context of her deep love for the land where Christians, Muslims and Jews once lived together in harmony, gives us a surprising look at today’s Spain and Portugal, and their struggles to rebuild on historical foundations a multicultural society that fits the modern world. Her work is not nostalgia but “rediscovery,” combining her own experiences with sound scholarship to address economic and social problems that are central to our age.’ — Milton Viorst, author of Storm from the East: the Struggle Between the Arab World and the Christian West

‘Unlike most European countries, Spain and Portugal are enriched by architectural wonders built many centuries ago by an advanced Islamic civilisation, and an influx of Muslim immigrants has prompted a revival of interest, sometimes conflicted, in that distant past. Marvine Howe, a writer rooted in both Iberian and North African cultures, explores the connections, looking at Muslim integration and Islam’s place in Europe from an entirely new perspective in this very timely book.’ — Barbara Crossette, former New York Times foreign correspondent and author of So Close to Heaven: The Vanishing Buddhist Kingdoms of the Himalayas

‘A quick and rewarding read about the presence of Islam in the Iberian Peninsula. The transformation of Spain as a home for immigrants from the other side of the Mediterranean is presented as a new episode in the common history of the two shores of the Mediterranean. Howe’s work is an accomplished look at this story, from the time of Tariq bin Ziyad to the Alliance of Civilizations. An excellent guide to this long history of engagement.’ — Miguel Hernando de Larramendi, Professor of Arab and Islamic Studies at the Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha

‘”Iberia” — Spain and Portugal — is reliving an important moment in its history with the arrival of a new immigrant population. Descendants of those who were once driven from the peninsula, their presence causes many questions and debates: How can they live as Muslims in Europe? What is their relationship with their country of origin? And are they a threat? Marvine Howe’s book demonstrates her extensive knowledge of the phenomenon. Intelligent analysis and a huge variety of sources make this a must-read title.’ — Ana I. Planet, expert on Islam in contemporary Spain, Workshop on Mediterranean International Studies, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

‘The author … presents a complete and up-to-date frieze of the reality of Iberian Islam, with its internal contradictions, detractors and supporters’ — Afkar/Ideas

‘Al-Andalus Rediscovered is a powerful and effective intervention in the increasingly strident debate over the role of Islam in Contemporary Europe. Howe’s book provides a positive antidote to the increasingly gloomy prognostications about the future of interfaith relations on that continent.’ — Amy Remensnyder, Brown University, Journal of Levantine Studies


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 (OUP).

Request an academic inspection copy Request a press review copy
Inspection Copy Request
Review Copy Request
Join our mailing list

Subscribers receive exclusive discounts and early access to new books from Hurst.