Much of present-day Spain was once part of a western Islamic empire, centered in Granada. Today, thousands risk rough waters of the Straits of Gibraltar from Africa to enter Spain illegally. Map: Erik Dunham, NPR Online
Feb. 24, 2003 -- Spain is the traditional gateway from Africa to Europe -- and for Muslims in Morocco, a tangible symbol of the lost glory of the Moorish Islamic empire.
Sylvia Poggioli's report begins in Tangier, directly across the Straits of Gibraltar, where the business of smuggling humans into Europe is flourishing. From there she reports from Granada, where the Moors created the Alhambra palace, perhaps the greatest example of Islamic art in Europe.
Centuries after the "Reconquista," the re-capturing of Granada by Christians, Muslim immigrants are returning to the land their ancestors once ruled -- and after many centuries of separation, wars and mutual hatred, Islam is setting roots in Western Europe, a land no longer synonymous with Christendom.