Hanif Escudero, responsible for the Department of Youth and Sports of the Islamic Council, congratulated Luis Aragon_s and the Spanish Soccer Team for their victory and for having united the nation around the same objective. Escudero also mentioned the importance of soccer for the inter-religious encounter among young people.
I recently got back to Thailand after a one-and-a-half month stay in the United States, where I was a student of Islamic Studies at Temple University in Philadelphia, and where I spent seven years during the 80s and 90s. The tour revealed to me a very different Islam in the post-9/11 United States. In the face of widespread bias and prejudice, personal attacks, deep suspicion and misinformation about Islam marked by the prevalence of Islamophobia in the American mindset, Muslim society in the US has undergone a tremendous internal transformation, with the aim being to prove loyalty to the American nation by undertaking steps towards political, social and civil integration. The seven million-strong American Muslim community is emerging and evolving as both an integral part of the American socio-political milieu and a distinct section of the worldwide Muslim community. There is historical evidence to suggest that the presence of Islam in the Americas began around the 10th century, when Muslims from Spain and West Africa arrived in South America centuries before Columbus. Some Muslims are said to have accompanied Christopher Columbus to the Americas in 1492, as to have joined later explorations as well. With the end of Muslim rule in Spain around 1498 and the institution of the Inquisition in 1499, many Spanish Muslims fled to other countries, including America.
Spanish Muslims have created an association to defend their rights as consumers and citizens – the first of its kind. The organization, Life Halal, is headquartered in Cordoba, with branches in Madrid and Barcelona. Its website is located at:http://www.vidahalal.com
The National Transplant Organization (NTO) is reminding Muslims that Islam allows for adherents to engage in organ donation. The ministry put into motion a campaign to promote a culture of donation and transplant among immigrant communities in Spain. The slogan of the campaign – your heart knows no color or culture along with information published in Spanish, French, English, Romanian, Chinese, and Arabic, are meant to reach members of Spanish population and make them feel more comfortable about donating organs of loves ones. The NTO also cites a verse in the Quran to reach out to Spanish Muslims… And that whoever saved a life, would be as if he saved the lives of all mankind.
MADRID – (AFP) – Spanish Muslims said they were unhappy at Spain’s intention to celebrate Melilla Day on Monday to mark the 510th anniversary of Spanish rule in the north African enclave on the Moroccan coast. “We consider it an attack on the dignity of Muslims,” Abderraman Benyahya, spokesman for the Melilla Islamic Commission (CIM), told the Europa Press news agency The CIM groups Islamic residents of the tiny enclave, a Phoenician colony in antiquity and which conquistador Pedro de Estopinan claimed for Spain in 1497.
Mansur Escudero, president of the Islamic Council has participated last month in the Annual Convention of the Nation of Islam in Detroit having been this the first time that a Spanish Muslim was participating in such event. The Islamic leader gave a public speech that was specially heard by the Latin Muslim community.; he also asked the government of the USA to change the drift of its imperialistic politics and to adopt a project of peace and prosperity. Another issue mentioned was the effort of Spanish Muslims to fight and to condemn terrorism expressed in the fatwa of March 2004 and affirm that one can not talk about Islamic terrorism as both words are not compatible.
Almost 80% of the Muslims living in Spain affirm that they feel accepted by the Spanish people; this is the result of the first enquiry to the community directed by the Catholic magazine, ’21rs. According with the gathered information, presented in Madrid by Luis Fernando Vilchez, the director of the investigation and Professor of the Universidad Complutense, integration in Spanish society is not free of difficulties; for 38,7% of the Muslims surveyed, two out of three felt totally accepted; 50% said they felt partially accepted and one out of ten felt very marginalised. Muslim women feel less integrated than the men; although younger women and those with more education disagree with this statement. Concerning democracy, almost 2/3 of the answers were in favour of the compatibility between Islam and Democracy.
In the hope of attracting Spanish Muslims into their clientele, the two leading Spanish financial institutions prepare to launch current accounts, credit and mortgage packages and other financial products that comply with Islamic law.
According to a new opinion poll, 83% of the Spaniards think of Muslims as “fanatics” and 58% of them believe that there is a “natural conflict” between being a practising Muslim and living in, and adapting to, a modern society. Spain is the only Western country where the perception of Muslims has gone into “free fall” over the last year: only 29% of Spaniards now have a positive image of Islam and Muslims, as opposed to 46% in 2005. Even more surprising is that 41% think that the overwhelming majority of Muslims who live in Spain (more than one million, including nearly 800.000 Morrocans) support extremists groups, whereas only 12% of Spanish Muslims think that Al Qaida radicals enjoy support within the Muslim community. The distorted image of the Muslims in Spain contrasts with the positive image of the Spaniards among the Muslims: 83% of the Spaniards believe that Muslims in Spain do not respect their wives, while 82% of these Muslims think that the Spanish treat their wives well.
The Vatican will not allow Muslims to pray once more in the Mezquita, the former mosque that is now the cathedral of Cordoba, telling them they must “accept history” and not try to “take revenge” on the Catholic church. “We, too, want to live in peace with persons of other religions,” Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, told the Vatican’s AsiaNews agency. “However, we don’t want to be pushed, manipulated and go against the very rules of our faith.” Mgr Fitzgerald criticised the authorities of the southern Spanish city for lobbying to have the building, once one of the world’s biggest mosques, opened to Muslim prayer. “[They] have not the necessary theological sensitivity to understand the church’s position,” he said. He claimed Spanish Muslims who had been publicly lobbying for the right to pray had yet to make a formal request to the Vatican. The archbishop said the Vatican had been careful not to demand similar rights at mosques which were once Catholic churches – though he acknowledged that Pope John Paul II had prayed at a mosque at Damascus in Syria.