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08/06/2008 01:29:59 Ã£
Spainâ€™s Relations with the Muslim Communities
By Jose MarÃa FerrÃ© de la PeÃ±a*
Spain had a very keen interest in nothing nasty happening after the 11-M. It was the biggest terrorist attack Spain had ever suffered and anti-Muslim reactions could have developed. The Spanish society was shocked. It was for the judges to decide. The judges have already pronounced sentence on the the terrorist attack. The intention was never to run after anyone because of his/her faith or culture.
At the same time, a large Muslim community had consolidated in Spain (specially in Madrid, Andalusia, Catalonia and Ceuta and Melilla). This new phenomenon was linked to a big increase in population due to immigration. The Spanish Muslim community has about one million members, 2/3 of them from Moroccan origin. Some of them also come from Asia (specially Pakistan) and the Middle East. Many are still foreigners, but Spanish nationality can be obtained after ten years of legal residence in Spain. All strands are represented (Tabligh, Muslim Brotherhood, converts, foreign influences, sufi...). Relation with country of origin: first generation looks to country of origin; second generation looks to nationals and feels discriminated.
European Muslim diaspora. Our Muslim community is beginning to have an associative framework, but the initiatives are still not important. We think that in the near future Spanish Muslims will give a good and useful contribution to our society and they will be involved in every social activity. We look at what takes place in Europe because we know we can learn from it. We do not have a debate about multiculturalism or citizenship. We work so that everyone has the same rights and duties.