Torrejon, Spain: Divided by a Mosque

01 July 2012

The Islamic community in Torrejon, with about 200 members, has been installed for more than a decade in a central garage two blocks away from the Plaza Mayor. They have purchased land and they have the architectural plans for the facade of its new building composed of two floors and a small minaret. But the new mosque of An Nur (The Light), is not welcome.
The neighbors (who have collected over 2,000 signatures, according to the City Council) say it is not racism, but a question of space. The story follows a common pattern. “The problem is to fit places of worship of minorities, such as Islam, in areas where they are already present,” says Jordi Moreras, member of the Research Center for Risk Governance at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. Moreras, a mediator in conflicts recommends priority to the “legal dimension” of the case against “unfounded rumors and fear of the neighbors of having to down the price of their homes or to be involved in violence.” He asked for an effort by the municipal officials of Torrejon, “Managing the coexistence sometimes entails to be contrary to what you have voted for.”