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Juan ibn Trinidad Assad (Arabic: خوان بن ترينيداد الأسد, born August 15, 1881), also known by his Spanish name Juan de Trinidad Assad y Sarraf and his Anglicized name John Assad was an Andalusian Roman Catholic priest, revolutionary and later politician who is credited as one of the founding fathers of the Republic of Andalusia.
Juan Assad was the founder of the Catholic Republican Army, an observant group of Roman Catholics that overthrew emir (King) Boutros Humeya of Andalusia, along with collaboration and merging with the Muslim Republican Army led by Islamic imam Abd-Rabbu al-Saab.
After the republic was formed, Juan Assad assumed the role as President of Andalusia, becoming its first president. Throughout the state's early foundations, Juan Assad became the Commander in Chief of the Andalusian Armed Forces, and led the state's armies through its war with Spain and later Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany during World War II.
Juan Assad was born in the city of Al-Sabil (Seville) to Trinidad Assad and Goria Sarraf on August 15, 1881. He belonged to the prominent Assad family. His mother and father worked in the Royal Court of King Aboo Humeya.
The family were devoutly religious Roman Catholics, and Assad spent most of his time in religious education.
In 1900, Aboo Humeya passed away and his son Boutros Humeya became king (emir) of Andalusia. Unlike Juan's view of King Aboo, he had a bitter hate for Boutros Humeya who was a very strict king unlike Aboo's passive behavior.
Boutros was also known to be very pro-Spanish, and reflected the Reconquista attitudes of Ferdinand and Isabelle. Boutros spoke extensive Spanish, and was said that a commoner in Andalusia spoke better
In 1917, Juan Assad was influenced by his family's religious background and opted to take religious studies to become a priest. He preached in the Iglesia de Seville. King Boutros paid him to go on a religious crusader program to convert Andalusia's Muslims to Roman Catholicism.
Disagreeing with the King, he "pretended" to convert Muslims and forged conversion certificates to the King.
In 1921, Juan Assad rejected a request from King Boutros to court and eventually marry his daughter Princess Nicole bint Humeya. King Boutros was angered and threatened to send troops to Juan Assad's home if he did not comply. Assad still refused, and fought the soldiers sent by King Boutros. Afterwards, Assad fled to the city of Al-Malaha (Málaga). There, he eventually left priesthood.
In the city of Al-Malaha, Juan Assad met his wife Angelina Shadid who was a prominent political family from Al-Malaha. The Shadid family agreed to take Juan Assad and hide him from King Boutros.
Eventually, Juan Assad and Gloria Shadid ended up getting married in 1922.
Andalusian Civil War
Influenced by Spain's civil war in 1935, Juan Assad eventually decided to form a militant group of his own. Assad met with other Roman Catholic and former Roman Catholic priests who were "tired" with the policies of King Boutros.
Assad formed the Catholic Republican Army (Arabic: الجيش الجمهوري الكاثوليكي) (Spanish: Católico Ejército Republicano). Not too long afterwards, an Islamic imam by the name of Abd-Rabbu al-Saab formed the Muslim Republican Army.
During the early parts of the civil war, the CRA fought against the King's state armies as well as the MRA. However in 1938, Assad and Saab merged to unite against the Royalist armies, the Catholic and Muslim factions would unite under the United Republican Army of Andalusia. After the defeat the Royalists, Juan Assad and al-Saab's armies surrounded King Boutros's palace in Cordoba. Juan Assad allowed King Boutros Humeya to peacefully exile to Spain along with his family.
President of Andalusia
In 1939, Juan Assad assumed the role as President of Andalusia, assigning the vice presidency to Abd-Rabbu al-Saab and the role of Prime Minister to the Jewish leader Alberto ibn Maymun.
Second Andalusian-Spanish War 1940-1945
During the Second Andalusian-Spanish War, Juan Assad led the nation's armed forces against the Italian and German-backed Spanish armies. Along with his comptratiots al-Saab and ibn Maymun, he led the Andalusian forces to numerous victories against the armies of Spain, despite not having the updated technology to par with Spain's. In 1942, Assad eventually called for American aid. Franklin D. Roosevelt sent Assad a telegraph message, approving the request and Roosevelt sent supplies to Andalusia via French Morocco which allowed Andalusia's army to add the finishing touches to its final World War II victory against Spain.
Andalusian-Spanish Friendship 1945
After King Carlos of Spain was overthrown by Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, Juan Assad and Franco both made moves to mend relations between the republics. Assad and Franco shared much interests, including the disgust for their monarchs. In 1950, Assad and Franco both opened up international student programs for their countries, which benefitted education in Andalusia and Spain. Franco and Assad also worked to pursue secular ideals in Spain and Andalusia, limiting religious activity and at one point, even threatening to expel the Roman Catholic Church's authority from Spain. In 1956, a supranational union was formed between Andalusia and Spain and use of Spanish was more encouraged in Andalusia.
Stance on the Arab-Israeli Conflict
Out of all the Arab states, Andalusia was one of the most nuetral towards Israel. While Andalusians did not necessarily support Israel, they had no intentions to declare war against them. However, many Andalusians did volunteer to help Egypt and Syria against Israel and Juan Assad considered these voluntary positions. Also, Andalusia was also the only Arab state to have a high Jewish population (931,211) even after Israel's creation. Andalusia's government does permit migration of Jews to Israel. Out of a population of approximately 1,000,001 Jews - only 103,000 made the aliyahs to Israel, giving Andalusia the world's fourth largest Jewish population.
Assad died in 1967, of old age. He died while at a hospital in Granada, and his body was flown to his home town of Al-Sabil (Seville). Francisco Franco and his son attended Assad's funeral along.
Several Arab leaders visited his funeral as well, including Gamal Abdel-Nasser of Egypt and Yasser Arafat of the Palestinian National Authority.
Juan Assad remains an everlasting legacy in the history of the Andalusian people and seen as a hero and a founding father of Andalusia.
There are memorials dedicated to Juan Assad in various Andalusian cities. The Al-Sabil Tomb and Memorial of Assad is a mauseleom and memorial dedicated to Juan Assad in his home city. The Seville Church of Assad is a Roman Catholic Cathedral in Al-Sabil. The Catholic Church was built on the original site of the church that Assad once preached in as a priest, which now a chapel within the cathedral.