History of Al-Andalus featured in special “Deep Dive” by the Arab News newspaper
How eight centuries of Muslim rule in what is now Spain led to a golden age of culture and science in the emirates of the Iberian Peninsula. An investigation by Arab News’ new Research & Studies Unit tracks down some of the descendants of families who were expelled when the era came to an end
Arab News Newspaper’s latest online “Deep Dive” feature takes an in-depth look at Al-Andalus, the land on the Iberian Peninsula that was ruled by Muslims for eight centuries, and how its rich heritage has left a lasting effect on modern-day Spain.
The months-long investigation was conducted by the long-form journalism department of Arab News’ new Research and Studies Unit (RSU) as a Deep Dive, which immerses readers in a multimedia report that includes videos and interactive graphics.
“We hope that this Deep Dive contributes to people’s understanding of under-reported minorities in the region, as it seeks to create a more tolerant environment,” said Arab News’ Editor-in-Chief Faisal J. Abbas.
“We also trust that the Deep Dive will serve as a great resource for people looking to learn more about Al-Andalus, which was a golden age for the Arab and Muslim world.”
The Deep Dive looks back to the dawn of Al-Andalus in the 8th century and ends with the stories of families who have traced their roots to those who were expelled with the fall of the empire in 1492.
Mouna El-Haimoud, Arab News’ Madrid correspondent, travelled to Cordoba and Granada, the heartland of Al-Andalus, to speak with people on the ground, including gaining access to the legendary Alhambra, and an interview with one of the last of the Andalusians to be found in Spain, Abd Samad Romero.
“It is fascinating to see the many similarities between our culture in Morocco and Al-Andalus, thanks to the influence of the Moorish and Andalusians that came to Morocco,” El-Haimoud said.
“Since I moved to Spain 23 years ago, I always felt the need to dig more into the history of Al-Andalus and know more about that important period of time.
“After I was asked by Arab News back in August to make a story about the Guadameci art in Cordoba, I felt the connection once again. Then, the idea of finding Moorish descendants came to me to tell their story. The journey was beautiful and full of surprises. It made me understand a lot about our childhood traditions in Morocco, which connected me again with my roots.”
Arab News, the Middle East’s leading English-language daily, launched its Deep Dive documentary series last year as a new way to showcase its most in-depth storytelling on key topics, enlivened by audio, video and animated graphics.
One of its Deep Dives, “The rebirth of AlUla,” was shortlisted for a Shorthand Award for Best Editorial Story in 2019.
Complementing the journalistic heft of its Deep Dives is the Research & Studies Unit (RSU), a new department that will commission papers and host expert debates, based at Arab News’ headquarters in Riyadh.