Algeria – Morocco: new controversy over the origin of Tariq Ibn Ziyad

The month of Ramadan always gives rise to the dissemination of important historical achievements. For this year, among the productions that create the event, we find the soap opera long awaited by the Arab world “Fath Al Andalusia”.

Dedicated to the Muslim conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, the soap opera traces the grandeur and power of the Muslim civilization that has allowed the presence of Islam in Europe for more than eight centuries.

The “Fath Al Andalous” series, which tells the story of Tariq ibn Ziyad, is divisive. Indeed, some Algerian Internet users that the scenario is a real “web of lies”. The Kuwaiti filmmaker Muhamad Sami Al Anzi is thus accused in particular of having “stolen Algerian history”. For not having associated the name of the Andalusian conqueror with Algeria, which is nevertheless his “country of origin”.

“Unfortunately, after watching the first episode, we find that Tarik’s Algerian origin has been obscured, while all sources present him as having Algerian origins,” commented Algerian researcher Smail Benyoub.

The Moroccans reacted very quickly. They “remembered” that Tariq Ibn Ziyad was considered a Moroccan in the school books of several countries. They also specify that the Gibraltar five-pound note still features Tariq Ibn Ziyad as well as the Moroccan five-pointed star in the background. For his part, the Kuwaiti director of the soap opera denounces “a deliberate attack on his series without even knowing the content”.

“It is useless to try to reduce Muslim leaders of the caliber of Tariq Ibn Ziad to territories traced by the Sykes-Picot agreements. Tariq and the other of our leaders are a heritage of the nation of 1.5 billion Muslims and not of a State or a territory”, launched director Mohamed Al Anzi.

It should be noted that in the series “Fath Al Andalous”, there are several Arab actors who play different roles. Among others, the Moroccan Hicham Bahloul, who interprets the role of Chaddad, who is the friend of Tariq ibn Ziyad and who commands his army, as well as the Syrian actor Suhail Jebai, who plays the role of the Muslim leader.

The Berber origins of Tariq ibn Ziyad

One thing is certain: the main protagonist who participated in the Muslim conquest of Andalusia is a Berber who was born in the 7th century in the Maghreb region. He died in 720 in Damascus, in present-day Syria.

Tariq ibn Ziyad notably occupied an important place in the operations of conquest of Spain, which marked the long period of Muslim Spain. Indeed, he was, according to historians, the freedman of Musa ibn Nozair, who ruled North Africa under the aegis of the Umayyad Caliph of Damascus, and was a commander in his army.

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