The lack of teachers blocks Islamic religion classes in the schools of Álava

14 June 2012

Álava has yet to achieve the formation of an Islamic religion class even though there is an increasing demand from prospective students. Schools in the region do not have teachers for this course, a question that the Islamic community blames the Basque Government for, since they have high requisites for the admission of new teachers.

The Union of Islamic Communities of the Basque Country, calls for more flexible requirements. They explain that the implementation of Muslims in Euskadi/Basque Country is a “relatively recent” phenomenon so there are people who have not yet a recognized qualification in Teaching. As a result, and despite the significant increase in demand from families who want their children to learn the Koran in school, “the whole process is stopped.”

In view of the complexity that is taking place to incorporate this subject into formal education, the consulate of Morocco has organized extra Koran classes in some cultural centers  with the assistance of the City Hall authorities.

Neighbors ask judge in Bilbao to stop construction of mosque

21 May 12

The neighbors of Bilbao La Vieja following their battle against the local Mosque construction permits have now called for a precautionary measure to suspend these works. The City Council, in the other hand has granted permission to the Alforkan Mosque to take over 605 square meters and build there an oratory for circa 398 people.

The dispute arises at a critical time for centers of worship in the Basque region. Bilbao City Council has suspended for a year the construction licenses to draft its new regulations, giving special attention to its location.  However, the Regional Basque Government has a different opinion considering the precautionary measure as “extemporaneous” and not necessitating the halt of construction works. The two institutions are moving in parallel, with serious differences over how to manage religious diversity and to decide about the requirements to be met by the promoters of places of worship.

Azkuna adverts that opening Praying Centers without a permit could damage the coexistence

08 May 2012
The mayor of Bilbao, Inaki Azkuna has adverted the Basque Government that the Law of the Praying Centers (allows religious groups under the number of 300 people to be able to edify their own Praying Center without the City Hall permission) will generate more security and integration problems. Also Javier Maroto, Vice-President of the Eudel (Basque City Halls Association) has affirmed that his organization will not keep quiet in front of a norm that will allow “mosques to be open like mushrooms”.

One in four Basque citizens reject the idea of a mosque in their neighborhood

Most people show attitudes of respect and tolerance towards those who profess a religion other than Catholicism, but a significant part of the Basques held prejudices towards other faiths, including Islam. A survey by the Executive Basque Government executed in February with 1,400 interviews has come to confirm this impression. One of the main conclusions of the study is that one in four citizens rejects the opening of a mosque in their neighborhood, while 16% would not want a Muslim as a neighbor.

The Basque Government informs the Islamic community about the drafting of a new religious freedom law

July 14, 2011

Last Thursday a meeting between the Regional Counselor for Justice of the Basque Government, Idoia Mendia, and members of UCIPV (Islamic Communities Union of the Basque Country) was held. In this meeting, the Regional Counselor informed  the members of UCIPV about a bill of religious freedom that the Basque Government is preparing in order to “ensure the conditions necessary for full effectiveness” of religious freedom and “the full development of human values,” Idoia Mendia said.

This is the first meeting officially held by the UCIPV members and the Basque Authorities. The UCIPV is delegation of the Union of Islamic Communities of Spain (UCIDE), which is integrated into the Islamic Commission of Spain since its formation in 1992.