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The fall of the Kingdom of Granada in 1492 coincided with the expulsion of Jews from Catholic Spain, while the Muslims were expelled in 1526. With these ethnic cleansings and forced conversions in place, a single-identity Europe was created. Virtually everything witnessed in 20th century Europe: the secret police, inquisitions, burning of heretics, Jews, gypsies, had all been experienced in late medieval Spain and Portugal. How does all this refract on contemporary Europe with large Muslim minorities numbering 24 million across the continent?

Tariq Ali, one of the important critical thinkers of our time, lives in London and is an editor of New Left Review and director of its associated publishing house, Verso Books. He is also a novelist and filmmaker, and a long-time political activist.

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