Descendants of Persecuted Jews Granted Citizenship in Portugal (RELS 348)

I have chosen an article by the Associated Press in Lisbon titled “ Portugal to grant citizenship to descendants of persecuted Jews,” The Guardian, 29 January 2015. To summarize the article looks at the upcoming law being enacted by the Portuguese parliament granting citizenship rights to the descendants of Jews who were persecuted 500 years ago. It looks at the history of the Jewish people who were driven out of Spain and crossed the border into Portugal where they were taxed so that they could take shelter in Portugal. The article goes on talk about how they were further oppressed and forced to convert or leave and even when they chose to leave a decree was issued that prohibited their departure and forced them to embrace Roman Catholicism. The reason I chose this article is because I believe it relates well to our studies of colonialism, imperialism, and religion. The way the Jews were oppressed and pushed around from Spain to Portugal and forced to change their religious beliefs throughout that time I believe is a great example of how colonialism and religion at work. The article and the background history it provides is a great example of a governing influence extending its rule of authority over a certain peoples within its land. Although the original Jews who were oppressed are now gone I’m sure they would be happy to know that their descendants are gaining some compensation for what was done to them with enactment of this new law.

-AKN

#348 #uwreligions

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