More than 70 years after the Spanish civil war, a new film is laying bare the discriminatory treatment of thousands of Moroccan fighters following the conflict.
"Moroccan fighters were neglected, just because they were Muslims," producer Dris Deiback has said.
"Other foreign fighters who took part in the war were rewarded and naturalized."
Deiback's film "Los Perdedores" - meaning "The Losers" - shows the neglect Moroccan fighters were subjected to following the war.
"The film shows important sides of the Muslims' participation in the Spanish civil war."
Moroccan historian Mohamed Ben Azouz said Moroccan fighters were forced to fight because Spain was controlling northern Morocco at the time.
Northern Morocco was under the Spanish occupation from 1912 to 1956.
He insists that the Moroccan fighters had tip the balance in favor of the nationalists.
"The war would not have ended in the nationalists' victory without the Moroccans," he told IslamOnline.net.
Azouz said the Spaniards played the faith card to mobilize the Moroccans into joining the war.
"They circulated rumors that the nationalists were fighting the unfaithful communists and that they were fighting for the faithful," he said, referring to the Catholic Church.
He notes some rumors also said that Gen. Franco had embraced Islam.
"Rumors claimed Franco was seen performing hajj and that he would have returned Andalusia to Muslims."
Al-Andalus refers to both the Emirate (ca 750-929) and Caliphate of C?rdoba (929-1031).
In 1236, the Spanish Reconquista led to the subjugation of the last Islamic stronghold of Granada under Mohammed ibn Alhamar to the Christian forces of Ferdinand III of Castile.
From there on Granada became a vassal state to the Christian kingdom for the next 250 years until January 2, 1492, when the last Muslim leader Boabdil of Granada surrendered complete control of the remnants of the last Moorish stronghold Granada, to Ferdinand and Isabella.
The Moriscos, the name given to Muslims who were living in Spain after the fall of Granada, were subjected to an array of persecution, torture, mass killings, forced conversions to Christianity, the notorious Spanish Inquisition and mass exodus that started in February 1502.
Morsicos's descendants in Morocco mark every year the fall of Granada.
Source: Islam Online (English)