Austrian elections pave way for populist government, making Muslims apprehensive

The elections to the National Council, the lower house of the Austrian Parliament on October 15, have marked a firm shift to the right in Austrian politics, particularly on matters of immigration, integration, and Islam.

Sebastian Kurz headed for an ÖVP-FPÖ coalition

After an electoral campaign dominated by at times vicious diatribes against Muslims and foreigners, the conservative Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) with 31-year-old Sebastian Kurz at the helm managed to secure 31.5 per cent of the popular vote, making it the largest group in parliament.

The Social Democrats (SPÖ), who had previously led a ‘grand coalition’ with the ÖVP as junior partner, took second place, with 26.9 per cent. They are followed closely by the third-largest political force, the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ), which gained 26 per cent of the ballots cast. Liberals and an offshoot of the Green Party obtained 5.3 and 4.4 per cent of the vote, respectively.

With no party gaining an absolute majority, the most likely option for putting together a government appears a right-wing coalition between ÖVP and FPÖ. This would bring the Austrian populists into the government afte all, less then a year after they narrowly failed to clinch the country’s Presidency.

A campaign focused on immigration, integration, Islam

An ÖVP-FPÖ government is all the more likely since the obvious alternative – another grand coalition between Conservatives and Social Democrats – is despised by the electorate and viewed with weariness by party bosses. Against this backdrop of dissatisfaction with the status quo, the youthful Sebastian Kurz has not only stylised himself as a figure of radical political renewal since taking control of his ÖVP party; he has also steered a course of rapprochement with the FPÖ.

Throughout the electoral campaign, Kurz presented himself as the guarantor of a restrictive immigration policy – he claimed that it had been his initiative that had secured the closure of the refugee route across the Western Balkans in 2015.

Kurz also pushed the topic of “Islam” into the limelight of the campaign. Among other things, he called for a hijab ban in schools (while demanding that the Christian cross continue to be displayed prominently in every classroom).(( http://www.fr.de/politik/wahlkampf-in-oesterreich-sebastian-kurz-entdeckt-das-thema-islam-a-1337052 ))

Study on ‘extremist’ Islamic nursery schools falsified

Similarly, the ÖVP politician insisted on the need to close nursery schools run by Islamic organisations, claiming that they were hotbeds of Salafist radicalism.(( https://kurier.at/politik/inland/sebastian-kurz-im-kurier-gespraech-islamische-kindergaerten-abschaffen/271.008.503 )) Confessional educational institutions are widespread in Austria, with the Catholic Church running the vast majority of them.

Kurz justified his stance by pointing to a study on Islamic kindergartens that he had commissioned while serving as Austria’s foreign minister. Subsequently it emerged, however, that the Foreign Ministry had tampered with the study’s results in order to make them more amenable to Kurz’s ‘hard-line’ position.

Where the study’s author had observed that Muslim parents who sent their kids to nursery schools run by Islamic associations were looking for an education based on values of “self-reliance, respect, and love”, a foreign Ministry employee replaced this with the assertion that Muslim parents were seeking to “protect their children from the moral influence of majority society”.

In another passage, the study originally asserted that parents were interested in “respect, serenity, the child’s individuality, hygiene, the child’s happiness, punctuality, love, warmth and caring, self-reliance, as well as transparency of rules”. The Foreign Ministry altered this to claim that “parents place particular emphasis on the imparting of Islamic values”.(( https://cms.falter.at/falter/2017/07/04/frisiersalon-kurz/ ))

Difficult times ahead for Austrian Muslims

Against this backdrop, many Austrian Muslims unsurprisingly see an ÖVP-FPÖ coalition under the leadership of Sebastian Kurz as a threat. Austrian blogger and activist Dudu Küçükgöl observed that “when it comes to efforts at integration, Austria will be thrown back by 20 years.” She expects a rise in racism and anti-immigrantism, particularly directed against the country’s Muslim population.(( http://www.islamiq.de/2017/10/16/oesterreich-erlebt-einen-starken-rechtsruck/ ))

Austria’s recently passed “Islam Act” might turn out to be particularly important in this respect. Enacted two years ago at the instigation of Kurz, Muslim activists have criticised the law for eroding Muslims’ civil rights.

Notably, the legal text provides far-reaching possibilities to dissolve Muslim associations should they fail to display a “positive basic disposition” towards the Austrian state – whatever this requirement might mean in practice.(( http://www.islamiq.de/2017/10/17/rechtsruck-unter-dem-deckmantel-der-integration/ ))

Discriminatory agenda

Consequently, many Muslims fear that the future government will use these extremely flexible legal provisions to their detriment. Murat Başer, chairman of the Islamic religious community in the city of Linz, observed:

“A possible FPÖ+ÖVP coalition could mean a broadening of the burqa ban into a general headscarf ban. It could also lead to a more robust and unchecked application of the Islam Act, which would see mosques and Islamic institutions being put under permanent surveillance.”(( http://www.islamiq.de/2017/10/16/oesterreich-erlebt-einen-starken-rechtsruck/ ))

Should Kurz decide to go down this route, he will have the enthusiastic support of the FPÖ: the populists’ campaign called for “redistribution from foreigners to Austrians”, and their electoral placards promised that “we give back to YOU what THEY take from you.” Importantly, ‘they’ not only usurp economic opportunities but also rob Austrians of their cultural identity: “Islamisation must be stopped”, another FPÖ poster read.(( http://diepresse.com/home/innenpolitik/nationalratswahl/5282218/FPOe-plakatiert-Kurz-Kern-und-Gusenbauer ))

International significance of the vote

Political developments in Austria resonate beyond the country’s borders in particular ways. The FPÖ, one of Europe’s most long-standing and most successful far-right parties has been a pioneer of the present-day populist movement. It thus serves as a model for many other comparable parties across the continent.

When it entered the Austrian government for the first time – as a junior partner to the ÖVP – in 2000, the EU and its (at the time) fourteen other Member States reacted with a downgrading of bilateral relations with Austria. Seventeen years later, no such moves will be forthcoming.

German perspectives on the election

German observers tend to pay especially close attention to events in the Alpine Republic across their southern border. Against the backdrop of the strong showing of Germany’s own right-wing populist fringe in last month’s federal elections, commentators are debating the insights and lessons to be drawn from the Austrian case.

Many – including many German Muslims – see Austria as a harbinger of potential things to come: the inexorable growth of a xenophobic, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic party on the right fringe; a party whose ability to attract ever-growing numbers of voters ultimately paves the way to its inclusion in government.

Austria as a warning…

In this view, events in Austria ought to be a cautionary tale to policy-makers and activists in Germany. Academic Werner Ötsch, whose research focuses on populist movements, asserted that “the Austrian development should really be a warning for Germany. Here [in Austria], no means against the right-wing populists has been found; and the participation in government such as it occurred in 2000 has not debunked the FPÖ but only made the situation worse.”(( http://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/interview-populismusforscher-oesterreich-sollte-eine-warnung-fuer-deutschland-sein-1.3711357 ))

German Muslim voices have often struck a similar note, with for instance the Secretary General of the Islamic Community Millî Görüş (IGMG), Bekir Altaş, echoing the notion that the Austrian election results constitute “a stark warning”.(( http://www.islamiq.de/2017/10/16/oesterreich-erlebt-einen-starken-rechtsruck/ ))

… or as a role model

Others, however, interpret the electoral outcome in the opposite light: Edmund Stoiber, former leader of the CSU, Bavarian sister party to Angela Merkel’s CDU, asserted that Sebastian Kurz’s campaign had delineated the path to be taken by centre-right parties in order to win elections against far-right populist opponents.(( http://www.focus.de/kultur/kino_tv/focus-fernsehclub/tv-kolumne-hart-aber-fair-bayerns-ex-ministerpraesident-edmund-stoiber-macht-seinem-unmut-in-der-sendung-luft_id_7721375.html ))

Thus, for Stoiber, Austrian developments do not offer a cautionary tale but should instead be emulated. (Stoiber had already supported the ÖVP-FPÖ coalition of the early 2000s. At the time, this sparked enormous anger among his German colleagues from the CDU.((http://www.tagesspiegel.de/politik/empoerung-in-der-cdu-ueber-edmund-stoibers-koalitionsempfehlung-zu-gunsten-der-fpoe/96400.html )) )

In some sense, Kurz’s victory might seem pyrrhic: it was, after all, the FPÖ that set the agenda for the electoral campaign and will most likely define the topics and the tone of Kurz’s policy initiatives in government. Stoiber’s statements nevertheless highlight the ways in which the Austrian election results will further intensify the factional dispute within the German CDU/CSU  over whether to respond to the rise of right-wing populists by emulating them.

German Turks debate the results of the constitutional referendum

On April 16, Turkish voters approved President Erdoğan’s proposed constitutional changes, transforming the country into a presidential republic. Turkish voters domestically were close to being evenly split on the issue, with only a narrow majority 51.4 per cent voting Yes.

Strong Yes vote among Turks abroad

Turks living abroad generally supported Erdoğan by a much larger margin, with 59.1 per cent of them casting a Yes ballot. In Germany, this number stood even higher, at 63.1 per cent.(( http://www.zeit.de/politik/ausland/2017-04/deutschtuerken-tuerkei-referendum-volksabstimmung-recep-tayyip-Erdoğan ))

National differences are striking in this respect: while more than 70 per cent of Turks living in Belgium, Austria, and the Netherlands approved the constitutional changes, the Yes camp received only 20 per cent or less in Great Britain, the United States, and the Czech Republic.(( http://diepresse.com/home/ausland/aussenpolitik/5202096/Tuerken-in-Oesterreich-stimmen-klar-fuer-Verfassungsaenderung ))

Politicians’ reactions to the referendum

German media has expressed shock at the comparatively high number of Yes votes coming from German Turks. Some politicians have echoed this sentiment. A diverse number of CDU members has called for the abolition of dual citizenship provisions, as well as for the abandonment of plans that would allow foreigners to vote at county level.(( http://www.wn.de/Muensterland/2775255-Nach-Tuerkei-Referendum-Neuer-Streit-um-Doppelpass-CDU-fordert-strengere-Regeln ))

While remaining critical of the Yes voters, the co-chair of the Green Party, Cem Özdemir, nevertheless struck a different note. He interpreted the strong showing of the Yes camp as a sign of failed integration policies. In particular, he pointed to belated reforms to German citizenship law that had compelled many immigrants to remain foreigners in Germany.(( http://www.daserste.de/information/politik-weltgeschehen/morgenmagazin/videos/FN__moma_Oezdemir_Meier_2504nl_8000-100.html ))

Critical voices from among German Turks

Özdemir’s argument was echoed by Can Dündar, former editor-in-chief of the Cumhuriyet newspaper living in German exile. Dündar criticised the widespread expectation that German Turks should be immune to Erdoğan’s propaganda effort. Erdoğan’s success among German Turks was linked by Dündar to his ability to present himself as the defender of the interests of those Turks excluded from their host communities.(( http://www.zeit.de/2017/18/verfassungsreferendum-tuerkei-deutsch-tuerken-meine-tuerkei ))

Gökay Sofuoğlu, leader of the Turkish Community in Germany (TGD) organisation, which had openly campaigned for a No vote, also rejected any calls for the curtailment of political rights of Turks living in the country. Only greater possibilities for political participation in Germany could be a sensible reaction to the referendum outcome, he argued.(( http://www.stuttgarter-nachrichten.de/inhalt.interview-zur-tuerkei-abstimmung-wir-muessen-endlich-aus-der-opferrolle-raus.dcb4866b-2d0b-416c-b441-9981e4836821.html ))

Others, such as comedian Serdar Somuncu, asserted that German decision-makers had failed to stand up to Erdoğan’s authoritarian tendencies as long as it suited them not to do so (mainly as long as he prevented the arrival of further refugees to Europe). This, together with the inability and/or unwillingness to curb racially-charged polemics or even violence against Turkish immigrants, was seen by Somuncu as rendering somewhat hypocritical the belated demand that German Turks act in accordance with democratic norms now.(( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KH6vVl9Jj9w ))

Islamic associations’ muted response

German’s Muslim associations have generally stayed silent in response to the referendum result. DİTİB, the country’s largest association, has been embroiled in a succession of scandals linked to its pro-Erdoğan line, including spying activities of some of its Imams directed at suspected members of the Gülen movement. Conceivably, by not commenting on the referendum result, DİTİB wishes to keep a somewhat lower political profile and not attract renewed negative attention.

The equally Turkish-dominated Islamic Community Millî Görüş (IGMG), an organisation with roots in the same Islamist milieu as Erdoğan’s AK Party, also sought to project an outward image of neutrality, asserting that both Yes and No votes deserved respect.(( https://www.igmg.org/das-ziel-muss-jetzt-kompromisskultur-heissen/ ))

Only the Central Council of Muslims in Germany (ZMD), which is ethnically more mixed and whose current chairman Aiman Mazyek has pursued an ambitious policy of rendering the ZMD politically visible and influential, struck an openly critical note, warning of the threats of dictatorship in Turkey.(( http://islam.de/28665 ))

Need for self-criticism

At the same time, many Turkish German commentators also engaged in self-criticism. TGD chairmain Sofuoğlu asserted that the TGD and other immigrant organisations had made mistakes in the past: “We were too focused on the role of the victim. We have shown too much understanding to those who just stay out of everything [in Germany].”

More particularly, Sofuoğlu noted that only 20 per cent of Turks holding a German passport regularly cast a ballot in German federal or state elections, signalling a lack of interest in German politics.(( http://www.stuttgarter-nachrichten.de/inhalt.interview-zur-tuerkei-abstimmung-wir-muessen-endlich-aus-der-opferrolle-raus.dcb4866b-2d0b-416c-b441-9981e4836821.html ))

Unpacking the numbers

At the same time, Sofuoğlu’s comments also apply to some extent to German Turks’ participation in the Turkish referendum. Only half of Germany’s population with a Turkish background was allowed to vote in the referendum because they still hold Turkish nationality. Of these, only 46 per cent actually went to the polls. Consequently, the Yes vote did not represent 63 per cent of all German Turks but only 29 per cent.(( http://www.zeit.de/politik/ausland/2017-04/deutschtuerken-tuerkei-referendum-volksabstimmung-recep-tayyip-Erdoğan ))

Others noted that the intimidation tactics used by the Turkish secret service even on German soil had had an impact in keeping opponents of the constitutional changes away from the ballot box. Many German Turks also reported of acquaintances suspected of being critical of Erdoğan having been arrested when they temporarily returned to Turkey to visit friends and family.(( https://www.rbb-online.de/politik/beitrag/2017/04/tuerkei-referendum-reaktionen-neukoelln.html ))

Diverse reasons for support

Yet the reasons German Turks espouse for supporting Erdoğan are undoubtedly diverse. When interviewed during and after the referendum process, respondents often expressed admiration for Erdoğan’s ability to transform Turkey “from a developing country to the 17th-largest economy in the world”. Nationalist tropes of Turkish pride and greatness were often emphasised.

At the same time, many also presented much more nuanced arguments as to why they supported a presidential system under Erdoğan. And, to be sure, some of them patently felt out of touch with Germany in general and with its political scene in particular. These individuals would not shy away from denouncing those campaigning against the presidential system of being “traitors” and of “having become German”.(( https://www.rbb-online.de/politik/beitrag/2017/04/tuerkei-referendum-reaktionen-neukoelln.html ))

Yet many Yes voters interviewed felt in no way to be on the margins of German life. They asserted that their home country was Germany and that ‘their’ president was “definitely” Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the new German head of state, rather than Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Nevertheless, they deemed it their duty to strengthen the position of the only man they deemed able to prevent Turkey from sliding back into instability.(( https://www.zdf.de/kultur/forum-am-freitag/forum-am-freitag-vom-14-april-2017-100.html ))

A community divided

In the aftermath of the referendum, old and new disagreements within the German Turkish community have come to the fore again. The opponents of enlarged presidential powers accused their fellow German Turks for failing to even comprehend the latitude of the proposed constitutional changes, instead voting blindly in favour of their strongman Erdoğan.

Others could not get over what they saw as an enormous cognitive dissonance – the fact that the partisans of a Yes vote cast a democratic ballot in Germany in order to undermine democracy in Turkey.(( https://www.rbb-online.de/politik/beitrag/2017/04/tuerkei-referendum-reaktionen-neukoelln.html ))

The most pervasive sentiment among opponents of the constitutional changes has been fear – fear of being targeted by communal violence or by the organs of Erdoğan’s state. The president’s supporters were, nevertheless, unfazed: they celebrated their Erdoğan’s win in Germany’s streets.(( http://www.zeit.de/gesellschaft/zeitgeschehen/2017-04/deutschtuerken-referendum-tuerkei-evet-hayir-berlin-kottbusser-tor ))

Dutch annual General Political Assembly overshadowed by refugee crisis

The first day of the Dutch annual General Political Assembly (Dutch: ‘Algemene Politieke Beschouwingen’) in the Dutch Lower House for a large part was dominated by the increased influx of refugees. All party chairmen gave attention to the issue. According to the Dutch anti-Islam party chairman Geert Wilders (Party for Freedom) the Netherlands is in danger of becoming one big refugee centre.

The Party for Freedom (PVV) leader once again brought dismay upon himself from other parties by warning for the massive inflow of Muslims. Dutch tax-money is the Netherlands’ biggest export product, according to Wilders. ‘The cabinet rather spends money on foreign countries and foreigners than on the Netherlands and the Dutch people’, the PVV-leader argued.

Wilders read from a, according to him secret, list of Dutch locations were refugee centers are still going to be opened. ‘Almost half of the municipalities in the Netherlands are in danger of accommodating a refugee center’, he said. Green-Left (GroenLinks) party-leader Jesse Klaver said he was unable to detect ‘a shred of humanity’ in Wilders.

The Labour Party-leader (PvdA) Diederik Samson stated that the consequences of the refugee crisis are worse that the bank crisis of 2008. ‘At that time banks collapsed but now people drown’, he said.

‘Deport 5 million Muslims’: Bernard Cazeneuve denounces Eric Zemmour’s remarks

“I know, it’s unrealistic, but history is surprising. Who would have said in 1940 that a million pieds-noirs, twenty years later, would leave Algeria to come to France?” - French Author Eric Zemmour's stirs controversy with remarks about France's Muslim community.
“I know, it’s unrealistic, but history is surprising. Who would have said in 1940 that a million pieds-noirs, twenty years later, would leave Algeria to come to France?” – French Author Eric Zemmour’s stirs controversy with remarks about France’s Muslim community.

Eric Zemmour has previously been referred to as racist, sexist and xenophobic and his October interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Serra has again created controversy.

The interview was published October 30 in the Italian newspaper and was brought to the French public’s attention by Jean-Luc Mélenchon who stated that Muslims “live together in the banlieues,” that “the French were forced to leave [the area] because of them,” and that “this situation of a people in a people, Muslims within the French people, will lead to chaos and war.” When asked: “Well what do you suggest: deport 5 million French Muslims?,” Zemmour responded: “I know, it’s unrealistic, but history is surprising. Who would have said in 1940 that a million pieds-noirs, twenty years later, would leave Algeria to come to France?”

On his blog, Mélenchon wrote: “Zemmour confuses foreigners and immigrants. This mix-up contains a logic that it could lead to civil war, and it’s why his suggestion is so dangerous.” Mélenchon also notes that Zemmour’s immigration statistics combine foreigners and naturalized citizens. “For him, those are ‘Français de papier,’ an expression used by the far-right said before the war and in current discourse. For him, one cannot ‘become French.’ When the time comes, it will be necessary to pick out and take away ID cards. Which is what Philippe Pétain’s government did.”

Number of foreign fighters in Syria nearly doubles

December 17, 2013

 

Up to 11,000 fighters from more than 70 nations have joined the struggle in Syria against President Bashar al-Assad, almost doubling estimates made earlier this year.

The number of individuals from western Europe taking up arms has tripled to up to 1,900 and includes up to 366 from Britain, according to research by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ISCR) at King’s College, London. The number reported from France has quadrupled while Belgium has the highest per capita rate.

Syria is becoming as big a magnet for Muslim fighters as Afghanistan was in the 1980s when an estimated 35,000 foreigners joined the mujahedeen ranks against Soviet invaders.

But the greater cause was more probably the deepening involvement in the war of Shia fighters from Lebanon and Iraq on the side of Assad, whose Alawite faith is an offshoot of Shia Islam and who is backed by Iran, the major Shia power. “For radical Sunnis, if you see this Syrian government supported by Shia Iran and Hezbollah, it becomes almost a civilizational conflict, almost as if America has intervened in the Middle East,” said Prof Neumann.

The ISCR said that from late 2011 to December 2013 between 3,300 and 11,000 individuals had gone to Syria to fight against the Assad government. It estimated that the likeliest number was 8,500. By that estimate, foreigners make up about ten per cent of the forces ranged against Assad, though other reporting has said they are among the most active in combat.

 

The Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/10523203/Number-of-foreign-fighters-in-Syria-nearly-doubles.html

Dutch Couple Return from Yemen Kidnapping

December 11, 2013

 

A Dutch couple kidnapped in Yemen in June have been released, according to the foreign affairs ministry. Journalist Judith Spiegel and Boudewijn Berendsen were taken from their house in Sana’a.  The couple returned to the Netherlands on Wednesday.

Spiegel denied speculation that the captors were affiliated with Al Qaeda, saying “…I know there were many rumours that we were in the hands of Al-Qaeda, but I’m not so sure about that.” No information is known regarding their abductors, nor if a ransom was paid to the kidnappers.

AFP reports that hundreds of people have been kidnapped in Yemen over the past 15 years, mostly by tribesman and nearly all of them later freed unharmed. Yemen’s powerful tribes often kidnap foreigners to use them as bargaining chips in disputes with the central government. Al-Qaeda militants have also seized foreigners in the country.

 

Dutch News:

German Ministry of Interior aims to facilitate deportation of “religious Extremists”

May 29

 

The Minister of Interior Hans-Peter Friedrich (CSU) aims to facilitate the expulsion and deportation of religious extremists living in Germany. Salafists and fundamental Muslims would threaten the peaceful coexistence.

 

The Minister proposes to expand the the law of expulsion, deporting foreigners who have been using “violence to achieve their religious goals”, or have “called for violence or threatened to use it”. So far, this law legitimizes the expulsion and deportation of foreigner with the ambition to use violence for “political goals”.

 

Also, the Minister proposed to to tighten the law in deporting foreigners who have been convicted and sentenced for one year imprisonment. The law of expulsion legitimizes the deportation of foreigners in case of three years imprisonment.

 

The proposals are not expected to be implemented as they do not apply to EU immigrants, unless they construct a “imminent threat for society”, and foreigners living in Germany over five years. However the proposals are interpreted to be tactically motivated. This September, the German Federal parliamentary elections will take place and the Minister is expected to motivate the conservative voter base.

 

Germany’s Disputed Dual Citizenship Law ”Everyone Must Be Able to Participate”

The German government’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Markus Löning (FDP), is critical of citizenship laws that force young Turks to choose between German and Turkish nationalities. His view breaks with government policy to date. Daniel Brössler spoke to him

It was a compromise that now forces thousands of young descendants of immigrants in Germany to make a tough decision. Since the year 2000, a regulation has been in force granting immigrants’ children born in Germany since 1990 the right to a German passport. They are temporarily allowed to retain the passport of their parents’ homeland alongside the German one. But by the time they have turned 23 at the latest, they must give up one citizenship, as long as their parents do not come from an EU country, for example.

This has led to quite a number of Germans becoming foreigners again since the beginning of the year. The CDU and CSU, which pushed the compromise through against proposals to fine-tune the legislation by the SPD and the Greens, are keen to maintain the option obligation. But the SPD says if it wins the election it will do away with the ruling – an approach now supported by the government’s Commissioner for Human Rights, FDP politician Markus Löning.

 

Demographic study of the Muslim population in Spain

17 February 2013Población+1

In terms of national origin, the two main Muslim groups in Spain are the Spanish and the Moroccan, adding now the growing Pakistani group (a majority in some towns like Barcelona and Valencia); being the rest divided among different nationalities considered in the census made by the Observatorio Andalusi and the Union of Islamic Communities of Spain (UCIDE), for the year 2012.

By its geographical location, the Muslim settlements are higher in the southeastern half of the country, Andalusia, Catalonia, Madrid and Valencia, followed by Murcia, and the clear percentage of Ceuta and Melilla; having smaller presence in the northwest quadrant of the Peninsula.

The reasons to migrate and even to move around Spain are related to the economic crisis; to the search for employment and better life conditions.

Summary of the Demographic Study of Muslims in Spain

The number of Muslims in Spain has reached almost 1.6 million (1,595,221), of which 1.1 million are foreigners in opposition to the 464,978 Spanish Muslims, according to the exploitation of the census of the Muslims in Spain made by the Andalusian Observatory, the autonomous body of the Union of Islamic Communities of Spain (UCIDE).

The study reveals that the community with the highest number of Muslim citizens is Catalonia with 427.138 Muslims from which 66.029 are Spanish; and 361.109 are foreign; followed by Andalusia, with 252,927 Muslims from which 93,579 are Spanish and 159,348 are foreign; and Madrid, with 248,002 Muslims from which 123,952 are Spanish and 124,050 are foreigners.

On the other hand, communities with fewer people professing Islam are Cantabria, with 4.146 Muslim citizens (472 Spanish and 3.674 foreign Muslims); Asturias with 6.386 Muslims (677  Spanish and 5.709 foreign Muslims); and Galicia, with 13,151 Muslims (1.647 Spanish and 11. 504 foreign Muslims).

 

Muslims represent about 3% of the total population of inhabitants.

30% of Muslims is Spanish while 70% are immigrants (50% Moroccans and 20% of other nationality).

90% of the Muslim students have no Muslim religion classes.
90% of the Teachers of Muslim religion are unemployed.

5% of Islamic religious communities have no mosque or oratory.

95% of the Islamic communities have no cemetery.

 

Download report PDF

Pluralism and Coexistence Foundation puts Ceuta as an example of normalization of the Muslim issues

17 May 2012
The director of the Foundation for Pluralism and Coexistence (FPC), Jose Manuel Lopez, went to Ceuta to participate with the Counselor of Education, Culture and Women, Mabel Deu, in the awarding diplomas ceremony to students of Spanish Language courses for religious leaders, an initiative that also includes the Instituto Cervantes, and that according to Lopez  settles Ceuta as an example of normalization of Muslim issues.

The FPC  intends to standardize the religious issues, from which the Muslim issues are also a part, and Ceuta in this field is “fundamental” to the State, considered Lopez  because “diversity is normal here for years” while in the peninsula, “the people think of Muslims as foreigners” even when 35%  of the Muslims living in the country are Spanish.