Franco's Hajj: Moroccan Pilgrims, Spanish Fascism, and the unexpected journeys of modern Arabic literature

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Journey to Mecca ( The Greek passage); al-Rihla al-Makkiyya; 1941), by the distinguished Moroccan historian and legal scholar Ahmad al-Rahuni, recounts a hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, sponsored by the fascist Spanish dictator Francisco Franco in 1937. Franco's support for the hajj was part of a vast propaganda efort to cast Franco's Spain as a friend of Islam and a defender of the cultural heritage of al-Andalus (medieval Muslim Iberia). Al-Rahuni's travel narrative blurs the line between Mecca and Spain by casting Spain's Islamic heritage sites as a metaphoric Mecca to which Muslims should make pilgrimage. he account thus highlights the collaboration between Spanish fascists and Moroccan elites. It also complicates the dominant scholarly narratives about modern Arabic literature, which have tended to focus on Egypt, the novel, and secular epistemologies. Al-Rahuni's text speaks, instead, to the persistence of Arabic prose genres that do not conform to a Eurocentric notion of literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1097-1116
Number of pages20
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2017


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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