Spain cracks down on converts to Judaism

In the Middle ages, Spain had a substantial Jewish population. Eventually, however, they were given the choice of "Leave, convert or die". Many fled to other Mediterranean countries while others converted to Catholicism. So many Spaniards (descendants of the "conversos") now have some Jewish ancestry.

And throughout the Hispanic world that ancestry is being rediscovered -- with some of the people concerned interested in returning to their ancestral Jewish religion. Information is scarce but it would appear to be one such group that Spain is now persecuting: "The more things change, the more they remain the same ..."
"My friend Angel Martín has alerted me to a disturbing affair in Spain, which involves a small religious group known as the Congregación del Olivo. More than six years ago, the Spanish legal authorities and police undertook to treat this peaceful group as if it were a terrorist conspiracy or similarly dangerous band, charging it with various crimes. The group categorically denies every charge made against its members. The media have reported on this affair in a completely one-sided way, not even bothering to solicit the views of the accused persons and repeating the claims lodged against them without confirming the truth of these accusations.

Martín, who has followed this story for some time, is seeking to bring greater public scrutiny to the matter, which on its face appears to involve oppressive state action against inoffensive people who have violated no one’s rights and who seek only to live in peace according to their religious convictions.


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