The Spanish Federation of Islamic Religious Entities (FEERI), the second largest Islamic organization in Spain, held its first meeting in twenty years. FEERI and UCIDE (the other major Islamic organization in Spain), form the Islamic Commission of Spain (CIE), and both have contributed in equal measure to its virtual paralysis and ineffectiveness. However, after a series of internal conflicts, the current direction of FEERI (in which Morocco has great influence), has started a series of moves to gain influence over the other Islamic organizations in Spain. This meeting should be understood in this context.
During the meeting, the direction of the FEERI has defended the need for change in the CIE and the independence of Islamic organizations vis-à-vis the Spanish government, to whom the FEERI accuses of interfering in the internal affairs of Islamic organizations.
The Spanish Ministry of Justice considers a reform of the Islamic representation in
Spain to be necessary for the application of the future Law of Religious Freedom.
Currently there are 28 Islamic federations officially registered, but only two are part of
the CIE (The Spanish Islamic Commission). The government is threatening to cancel
the CIE financing as a measure to force the unification of the Islamic representation.
Currently in Spain, there are only 46 instructors who teach Islam in public schools. Such Islamic instruction is financed by the Spanish government in accordance with the CIE (Comisión Islámica de España), who chooses the staff that provides the Islamic lessons. According to the estimations of the CIE, there are approximately 120,000 students in Spain, who could be interested in taking Islamic studies courses. If this data is accurate, then the public demand would be much higher than what is currently being offered. However, according to a lecturer of ecclesiastical law, Ricardo García, the insufficient offerings of Islamic courses are a result of the Islamic community’s internal problems. With such an argument he absolves the Spanish government of any responsibility to remedy the situation.
One day before the EU-Moroccan summit, the PRUNE – Partido Renacimiento y Unión de España (Spain’s Renaissance and Union Party) is officially presented in Granada. It’s founder, a Spaniard of Moroccan origin (former delegate of the Spanish Islamic Commission – CIE – and Vice-president of the FEERI – Spanish Federation of Islamic Religious Entities) relates the parties’ principles – which include the promotion of political participation, of justice, equality, solidarity and respect for the Spanish Constitution and legality – and regrets the negative public reaction claiming a potential islamicist and pro-Moroccan tendency of the Party. PRUNE shall run for the municipal elections in the year 2011 and for the general elections in 2012. So far the PRUNE is present in Granada, Málaga, Madrid, Barcelona, Asturias, Valencia and Murcia.
The Spanish Muslim Federation, or FME, has requested admission into the Spanish Islamic Commission, or CIE, the organization that represents Muslim communities throughout Spain.
The CIE was created in 1992 when the two oldest Muslim federations in Spain, the UCIDE and FEERI, signed an agreement of cooperation with the Spanish government.
The FME is an Islamic federation primarily composed of coverts and was created in 2006 as a result of a FEERI breakup.
Elections in the Islamic Commission of Spain (CIE) will hold elections concerning the consideration of five Muslim federations to join the CIE. The CIE is the highest organ of communication and representation of Muslims in the Spanish government. Currently, they include only two federations – the Union of Islamic Communities in Spain (UCIDE) and the Spanish Federation of Islamic Organizations (FEERI). However, not all Muslims in Spain feel represented by these two entities, hence the consideration of including five more federations (The Federation of Muslim Spain, Islamic Council of Catalonia, the Islamic Federation of Murcia, the Belearic Federation, and the Higher Islamic Council of the Community of Valencia).
MADRID – Nearly one hundred thousand students wish to receive classes on Islam, according to numbers issued by the Comision Islamica Espanola (CIE). According to a 1992 agreement with the Ministry of Education, instruction in the subject must be provided if at least a tenth of the students request it. To date, 28 teachers of the subject work in Spain, mostly in Andalusia, Ceuta and Melilla. However, budget appropriations for teaching staff in the Canary Islands and Aragon have already been approved, and the same is expected in Madrid, Valencia and Catalonia.
The Islamic Community of Spain (CIE) rejected that Islam be taught in schools “with an exposition similar to the classes of catholicism.” According to the accepted leader of the Muslim community, Malik Ruiz, “the most appropriate system is not to give lectures of one or two hours of Islamic religion each week, since it is not an education subject but a form of life”.