End of the II Inter-religious Iberian-American Summit in Barcelona

30 June 2012

 

For three days, leaders, experts and representatives of different religious denominations coming from America, Spain and Portugal met in Barcelona.
The Director General of Religious Affairs has emphasized in his speech “the ability to dialogue and listening and the importance of interreligious dialogue.” In the closing ceremony was also discussed and approved a document called the Barcelona Declaration which will be given to the heads of states participating in Cadiz, in November at the XII Iberian-American Summit.

3.000 euros fine for 4 councilors of the Plataforma per Catalonia after attending a soccer match wearing a burka

20 June 2012

The Department of Interior has fined 4 councilors and 19 supporters of Plataforma per Catalonia (PxC) with 3,000 euros each, for going to a match of FC Barcelona and L’Hospitalet in burqas. The incident occurred during a match of the Copa del Rey on November 9, 2011 when a group of people appeared in the area of L’Hospitalet wearing burkas and a banner reading ‘First the home ones’.
PxC leader whose hallmark is the radical fight against illegal immigration, has insisted that the protest is directed specifically to criticize the sponsorship of ‘Qatar Foundation’ to the soccer team FC Barcelona.

Catalonia will receive the II Iberian-American Interreligious Summit

21 June 2012
Starting on Monday, the 25th of June, Barcelona hosts the II Iberian-American Interreligious Summit.
Among others, the program will address issues such as freedom and human rights, brotherhood and solidarity, dialogue and coexistence, inclusion and equity. The findings aim to provide the XXII Iberian-American Summit with proposals to achieve stable and equitable funding of the states, improving social cohesion and strengthening public safety. Also, this second summit wants to consolidate the Iberian-American Interfaith Network as a forum for exchange between the confessions and to follow up the conclusions and recommendations of the Iberian-American Interreligious Summit.

Salafist Propaganda in Germany: Mass Conversions in Public Places

The Salafists are distributing copies of the Quran in Germany and making a big noise on the Internet about converting new followers to their cause. The country is now high up on the list of priorities for the Salafist movement, writes Josef Croitoru

Three hundred years ago, the Germans developed a custom of hailing the conversion of Muslims to the Christian faith with public church ceremonies. Today, the Salafists are doing the same thing – but the other way round: They are filming the conversion of Germans to Islam and posting the videos on the Internet as a sign of the victory of the “only true religion.” That’s what happened a few weeks ago in the Tauhid Mosque in the German town of Wiesbaden.

A number of Salafist preachers from Egypt and Kuwait traveled there to take part in a conference entitled, “Youth in the West: Hopes and fears.”

One of the high points from the hour-long YouTube video of the occasion is the conversion of a 26-year-old “German brother,” Fabian – it’s unclear whether or not he belonged to any faith beforehand. Fabian was apparently moved to convert by a book he’d been given about the prophets. He took the Islamic statement of faith from none other than Muhammad al Zoghby.

The Egyptian religious scholar is one of the most influential Salafist preachers. He travels constantly around the Gulf States and other Arab countries, and he presents his own show on the conservative Saudi religious channel “Al-Khalijia”. He also regularly visits the west. On his website he writes about his latest European tour, which took him to Frankfurt and to Barcelona, and he claims to have converted “numerous Christians” along the way.

The Muslims of the Nous Catalans Foundation/CDC asked to build a large mosque in Barcelona

The Union of Islamic Cultural Centers of Catalonia (UCCIC)-currently coordinates
some 70 mosques and oratories of Catalonia, and the NousCatalans Foundation/CDC have agreed, “to facilitate the granting of licenses to build a large mosque in Barcelona
to fight and isolate the fundamentalist movement that spread in small
oratories.” The agreements also provides for” improving the current situation of some
oratories to avoid situations of conflict. “Both entities have agreed to “the organization and representation of Muslims in Catalonia through democratic elections to enable the Muslim community to have valid and representative interlocutors, to promote the training of imams in Catalonia, a training that responds to the values of Cataluña, promoting dialogue and coexistence as tools for participation in Catalan society and building a
common future in Catalonia and to enable burial spaces according to Muslim ritual.”
They also agreed to “promote dialogue, visits and meetings with Catalan institutions, the
Halal certification procedure, the quality assurance process applied to food,
products and services according to Halal Standards and other pre-documents and work
for the creation in the near future of the Catalan Council of Muslim Faith grouped
by a democratically elected board and voted and representative of all
Muslims in Catalonia ”

Spain: The European heart of Salafism

La Razon – 31 March 2012
Police forces explained to La Razon that Salafism is implemented in Catalonia. According to police source, Imams of this branch of Islam lead three mosques in Barcelona and Terrassa, whose leader Abdeslam Laarusi will surely be charged with inciting violence against women. ((In the lawsuit, submitted to the chief judge of Terrassa, the prosecutor of Hate Crimes and Discrimination in Catalonia, Miguel Angel Aguilar, accused the imam of inciting to violence against women in his sermons in the mosque of Terrassa. After making the necessary investigations and analyze the recordings of sermons, the Office has considered that Abdeslam L. “I would be taking advantage of its status as a religious leader within the Muslim community in Terrassa to utter clearly discriminatory posts that make vulnerable the principle of equality and the right to physical and moral integrity of women,” describes the complaint.
http://www.lavanguardia.com/vida/20120321/54275839401/fiscal-querella-iman-terrassa.html
)) In Tarragona Salafi Imams alone control five mosques. Islamic terrorism in Catalonia seems controlled, but it is a latent danger. The numbers show it. According to La Razon, Catalonia has more than 400,000 Muslims and 20% of them follow the most radical precepts.
The leader of the Cultural Association Al-Hilal of Salt, Rachid Menda, ((Rachid Menda, Imam of Salt is aggregated to Salafism, in Spain, which preaches non-integration of Muslims in the “corrupt” Western society and allies also in the spread of the radical stream of Islam namely through the online dissemination.
Rachid Menda is has not yet attained age 30 and he is the Imam of Salt, which has 30,000 inhabitants where about 5,000 are immigrants of Muslim origin, most of them Moroccans.
In his radical discourse, Menda often leads to ask for the “Mujahideen” fighting in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq to the troops in Europe and America.
http://juandeherat.blogspot.com/2011/03/mohammed-attaouil-y-rachid-menda.html
)) is considered one of the leaders of Salafism in Spain. All these data make Catalonia’s largest stronghold of Salafism in Europe.
Another significant fact is that one of the masterminds of the bombing of the Twin Towers and one of his executors, Mohamed Atta, spent time in Tarragona.
The Salafist imam of the mosque of Reus, Tabdelhamid Aim The Hyat, ((The Imam with more followers of Reus, Tabdelhamid Aim The Hyat, aligned with the current Salafi, has threatened to remove the Muslim population into the streets, “in the province of Tarragona” if the Government fails to rectify and remove fines upon North Africans immigrants who had incorrectly used a subside designed to promote their integration in Spain.The Hyat has appeared in various media as one of the more radical Imams working in Spain. Of Dutch origin, he frequents Salafi conferences that proliferate every year in Spain.
http://www.abc.es/20120227/espana/abci-cataluna-detecta-cobros-ilicitos-201202270954.html
)) was denounced by moderate Muslims, who testified that he coerced and made them pay a “revolutionary tax” in the style of ETA.
He is not the only radical Salafist imam controlled by security forces. The more mediatic is Houzl Abdelwahab, ((Salafist Imam of the mosque of the Lerida Street Nord, Abdelwahab Houzi, known for its radicalism, has managed to bring together more than 3,500 Muslims to close the Ramadan. Speaking in Arabic, the imam of Lerida, which maintains frequent conflicts with local authorities, has managed to use the end of Ramadan to become a reference of Salafism in Spain, a current reactionary reformist shared by terrorist groups like Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
Ana Ortiz, an analyst at Strategic Studies Group, described the presence of this fundamentalist stream in Spain:
“The common denominator of those who are supposedly involved in jihadist terrorism in our country responds to the profile of male, between 26 and 40 years, legal immigrants of North African origin. They are located in Madrid, Barcelona and Levante.
It should be clear that the vast majority of Moroccan immigrants, both in Catalonia and the rest of Spain, practice a more tolerant and open Islam than the Salafist groups.
The work of the new Imams that are settling in the area is to try to radicalize these groups to be locked in their community and their religion, and demonize any form of integration in society.
The police estimated that only in Catalonia there are between 12 and 15 Salafist mosques, considered very active.
The security forces claim that the modus operandi of these new Salafist Imams is to discredit the local imam.
http://www.hazteoir.org/node/32678
)) Imam from the mosque of Lerida. He is accused by the police of having promoted a kind of “religious police” who controls the “good behavior” of every Muslim. Houzl frequently send messages in their sermons of hate for Spain and the West. He is accused by the police of physical abuse and polygamy. ((Lérida’s imam Abdelwahab Houzi is promoting the deployment of “religious police” in various municipalities, including Olot, similar to the one he created in the city under his fanatic preachings. He uses that police to monitor and, where appropriate, punish, even physically, those Muslims who do not meet his fundamentalist interpretation of Islamic law.
Mr Houzi has also defended polygamy and has made it clear he wants to take advantage of independentist parties to make Islamism grow in Catalonia.

http://www.abc.es/20101223/espana/iman-lerida-quiere-extender-20101223.html ))

Mohamed Mrabet Fahsi is the imam of the mosque in Vilanova (Barcelona) and spent seven years in prison. He was arrested in “Operation Jackal,” which dismantled a cell linked to terrorist attacks. The National Court accused him of funding jihadist networks and recruit young suicide individuals.

Seminar of the European Council of Moroccan Ulema held in Barcelona

Under the title “Islam and European values”, was held in Barcelona a seminar organized by the European Council of Moroccan Ulema and the Union of Islamic Cultural Centers of Catalonia. The seminar aimed to analyze and discuss ways to promote dialogue and communication between different cultures and religions within European societies, respecting their historical, cultural and spiritual baggage. The seminar covered topics such as religious freedom and secularism, Muslims and European values, Islam and public spaces, European Muslims and their contribution to European societies and the role of the authorities in promoting inter-religious understanding.

Commemoration of Ashura in Barcelona

December 17, 2010

On Friday December 17th, about 200 people celebrated the Ashura day in the Arc de Triomphe in Barcelona (near the downtown). The day of Ashura is a Shia Islamic holiday that commemorates the martyrdom of Imam Hussein. The most important Islamic Shia community is the islamic center Al Qaim is located in Barcelona although Muslims Shia have a minority presence in Catalonia. This community is formed mostly of people from Pakistan.

The City Council allows this holiday’s public celebration since 2004. However, new rules were imposed. For instance, city government not allows the participation of children, show the back naked or the use of swords or whips that could produce blood. All this things are common during the celebrations in public spaces of many countries where Shiites have a significant presence.

Spanish police arrest eight members of terrorist cell in Barcelona

November 30 to December 2, 2010

Counterterrorism police detained eight suspects with links to a banned Pakistani Muslim militant group blamed for the deadly 2008 attack in the Indian city of Mumbai. The Spanish Interior Ministry explained that the working methods of those arrested involved stealing passports and travel documents from tourists visiting Barcelona and then were sent to Thailand, copied and then passed on to terrorist groups linked to al Qaeda. The operation was carried out in coordination with Thai and European police forces.