Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Spanish Muslims at crossroads - integration or exclusion?

Madrid - Will Spain have a liberal or conservative type of Islam? Could fundamentalism soar? Will Muslims blend in, or will there be youth riots like in Paris in 2005? Can Spain find a third way between French-style assimilation of immigrants and British multiculturalism?

As the first modern generation of Spanish-born Muslims is coming of age, the country's Islamic communities stand at a crossroads.

The question of the integration of Muslims has come under a heated debate after the opposition conservatives announced they would ban Muslim headscarves in most schools if they win the March 9 elections.

The proposal sparked criticism from the governing Socialists and the far left, which slammed the conservatives as xenophobic racists.

'Immigrants should never become a cheap electoral merchandise,' Kamal Rahmouni, president of the Moroccan immigrants' association Atime, said in an interview with Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

Spain needs to develop 'solid elements' to deal with problems related to immigration when they arise, Rahmouni stressed, calling for a 'state pact' between the two main parties.

Spain is estimated to have more than a million Muslims, making Islam the country's second biggest religion after Roman Catholicism.


Pertinent Links:

1) Spanish Muslims at crossroads - integration or exclusion?

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