Maghreb-Andalusia: A cultural bridge over the Mediterranean

Anxious to strengthen the dialogue between civilizations, cultures and religions, the Academy of the Kingdom of Morocco has organized, during the last two years, a series of scientific and reflection meetings around Africa, Asia and of America as horizons of thought.

On the occasion of its 47th annual session, scheduled for 2021, the Academy is continuing this work of geographical, historical, identity and cultural exploration by focusing on “The Mediterranean as a horizon of thought” and this week hosted a conference on the historical and identity relationship between Andalusia and the Maghreb, given by Prof. Mhammad Benaboud.

Speaking as a prelude to this conference, Abdeljalil Lahjomri, Permanent Secretary of the Academy of the Kingdom of Morocco, considered that “this space is not a simple maritime expanse on the edges of which live African, European or Arab societies. . It is also the cradle of the three monotheistic religions as well as the starting point of great human civilizations, to such an extent that the Mediterranean was considered, in the past, as the center of the world ”.

Corresponding member of the Royal Academy of History in Madrid and of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Seville, Professor Benaboud addressed the subject of the “Cultural Bridge crossing the Mediterranean and which has always linked Andalusia and the Maghreb ”.

Recalling that “the Mediterranean has always been one of the most strategic and geographically and culturally rich regions in the world. It also constituted a cultural bridge which allowed different cultural tendencies to interact with each other ”, the speaker indicated that“ the waters of the Mediterranean Sea have both separated and connected Andalusia and the Maghreb. They have never been an oasis of peace and good understanding between the different cultures and civilizations that have lived around ”.

“Their relationships have changed dramatically over the centuries. They sometimes clashed. They have cohabited or have been part of the same empires ”, he said, noting that“ the history of the Mediterranean is thus full of contradictions which must be accepted as part of the historical reality of the region ”.

Despite this changing environment, and the wars that have sometimes broken out in the region, opportunities for exchange and communication have never been lacking.

“The Mediterranean region was a common area of ​​navigation, trade and exchange and cultural interaction (…) To get to Mecca and Medina in the Middle Ages, the Andalusian and Maghrebian populations had to cross a part from the Mediterranean Sea, whether by sea or land. This spiritual contact has also led to a variety of contacts, especially between academics and lawyers in search of new knowledge, ”he underlined.

At the cultural level, continued Prof. Benaboud, “the Arabic language has played a key role in communication between scientists and theologians from both shores. The Malikite was certainly born in Medina during the second century of Islam, but it was in Al Qaraouiyine that it developed to take its final form. Many scholars of Al-Andalus, originally from Cordoba, Seville or Granada, have lived part of their life in Fez or Marrakech ”.

This is to say the strength, in spite of the dissensions and the fractures, of the “unifying factors” between the two shores of the Mediterranean and which allowed the construction of this cultural bridge between Andalusia and the Maghreb.


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