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Juan Assad (World of Sultans)

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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 Andalusi Roman Catholic priest, and military leader, who took part in the famous Toledo-Jaén Offensive Operation. 

Juan Assad later represent the Catholic branch of Sultan Omar II's Order of Religious Cooperation, in which leaders that represented all faiths in Al-Andalus were part of, to ensure the peace and coexistance between religious groups, as well as to mediate disputes between religious groups.

Childhood

Juan Assad was born in Seville to Trinidad Assad and Gloria Sarraf on August 15, 1881. He belonged to the prominent Assad family. His mother and father worked in the Royal Court of Sultan Omar I.

The family were devoutly religious Roman Catholics, with both Morisco and Mozarab descent, and Assad spent most of his time in religious education. His father hailed from a prominent Morisco lineage, and his mother is a native Iberian, or Mozarab, both lineages were honored in the family.

In 1932, Omar I passed away and his son Omar II became king (emir) of Andalusia. 

Priesthood

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. 

Marriage

In 1921, Juan Assad rejected a request from Sultan Omar II to court and eventually marry his daughter Princess Nicole bint Omar ibn Omar. Sultan Omar II 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 Omar II. Afterwards, Assad fled to Málaga. There, he eventually left priesthood.

In the city of Málaga, Juan Assad met his wife Angelina Shadid who was a prominent political and royal family in the city. The Shadid family agreed to take Juan Assad and hide him from Omar II.

Eventually, Juan Assad and Gloria Shadid ended up getting married in 1922.

Moorish Civil War

Influenced by Spain's civil war in 1935, socialists were beginning to form militant groups in Al-Andalus. Despite his fallout with Omar II, Assad decided to join the Royal Andalusian Forces to fight the militants. 

Second Andalusian-Spanish War 1942-1944

In 1942, Assad's family was forced to flee Malaga, and retreat into southern Al-Andalus. At this point, Juan Assad used his position in the Catholic clergy, calling for Christians and Catholics of Al-Andalus to join their Muslim and Jewish brethren, to fight the Spanish invasion. 

He stepped down from his position, and enlisted to join the Royal Andalusian Forces, a move his wife was adamantly against. 

He fought in the Southern Command, and was later chosen by Salim Abu-Nasrallah to lead the 7th Army to liberate Albacete.

Stance on the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Out of all the Arab states, Andalusia was one of the most neutral 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.

Death

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 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.

Legacy

Juan Assad remains an everlasting legacy in the history of the Andalusian people and seen as a war hero. He is also revered within the Morisco and Mozarab communities.

There are memorials dedicated to Juan Assad in various Andalusian cities. The Seville 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.

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