Muslims in Spain.. A legacy of challenge, struggle

By Hanadi Watafa

MADRID, June 25 (KUNA) — Since the golden days of Islamic caliphate in Al-Andalus, Muslims have been an integral part of the Spanish community despite the various challenges they have faced since the Spanish inquisition in 1478.
Although Muslims were present there for centuries, their numbers do not come near their counterparts in other European countries with the last census in 2015 numbering Muslims citizens at 1.8 million.
Speaking to KUNA on the matter, chairman of the Islamic societies’ federation in Spain Riyaj Tartari said that the current Spanish community was very welcoming of Muslims in general with some small acts of Islamophobia occurring here and there.
The common problem is that Muslims fear that such acts would increase due to influences from nearby countries, said Tartari who affirmed that the federation continued on its part to denounce acts of terrorism carried out in the name of Islam.
Other challenges include the struggle to teach Muslim children Islamic oriented material in schools, a fact which contradict privileges given to other minorities in several other regions of Spain, said the official, stressing that Muslims were also citizens of the country with rights similar to others.
Tartari also noted that the struggle also followed Muslims even in death especially with the difficulty of establishing Islamic cemeteries. He added that the federation was looking into means to assign at least one Muslim cemetery in each province in Spain.
According to the federation, the most prominent Muslim community in Spain gather in the Catalonia region with some 510,500 Muslims followed by Andalusia, Madrid, and Valencia with 300,500, 279,000, and 200,600 respectively. (end) hnd.gta