International relations should be what the words say: the study of relations between nations. By this definition Spain's Muslims could have no “international” relations during the period 1500 to 1614. But is the definition appropriate in their case? There is a dimension of the history of the final phase of the existence of Muslims in the Iberian Peninsula. This cannot be understood adequately unless, alongside their community life inside Spain, the Spanish Muslims' network of relationships is taken into account with the rest of the Islamic world and with other states in Europe, too: a distinctive network of international contacts. In the eyes of the Old Christian majority, the Moriscos, as new converts, ought to be subject, were subject, to rules laid down for them both by the Church (especially by the Inquisition, but not solely by that body) and by the Spanish state. Either the Moriscos were, after the conversions, subjects of the Crown, in which case unauthorized contacts with other states, especially with Islamic ones, were treasonable, or else, if they were not true subjects, they were rightly to be treated as enemies. These “newly converted” ex-Muslims were thus trapped by the system in which they found themselves. There can be no doubt that they were much in need of someone to speak up for them. It is hardly surprising that they made efforts to get their views heard.
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