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For a democratic Islam in Spain

The current situation of Islam in Spain is unsustainable, with the spread of radical doctrines within Muslim communities, discourses of Western rejection that favor the creation of ghettos

02/04/2012 - Author: Abdennur Prado, Translation: Daniel F. Rivera - Source: Webislam
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Abdennur Prado
Abdennur Prado

The current situation of Islam in Spain is unsustainable, with the spread of radical doctrines within Muslim communities, discourses of Western rejection that favor the creation of ghettos. A reality that has its counterpart in the growth of Islamophobia and xenophobia, the real evils of our time. Although the majority of Muslims including myself just want to live our spirituality in peace, the sectarian attitude (and even violent) of a few generates rejection of the citizenship and affects our lives. Faced with this problem, we must be aware that speeches like "Islam is peace" or "Islam dignifies women" are insufficient. It's time to take a step further and address the situation with the utmost rigor and courage. It's time to take decisive action to address this problem, which threatens social coexistence and can lead to a fracture within our society.

Make no mistake: the solutions to problems affecting the integration of Islam in the secular space will not come from conservative religious structures, too much preoccupied with their share of power and control of the religious discourse. The solution will not come either from foreign countries also committed to maintaining subdued their former subjects through migration. We can only note the failure of the dialogue between public institutions with those who present themselves as 'representatives of the Muslims', whose apathy and misunderstanding of the real problems of the Muslims has led to this situation. We consider that this dialogue with the most conservative sectors is wrong, because it gives them a power that does not correspond to the wishes of the majority of Muslims.

We are convinced that the solution to the problems generated by radicalism comes from the collaboration of society with open minded Muslims, committed to the promotion of a democratic Islam compatible with the values that give cohesion to our society: democracy, freedom of conscience and religion, human and civil rights, social justice and gender equality. Without these values no modern society can prosper, and therefore should be required to all organizations that receive public money.

Therefore, I appeal to all Muslims in Spain, especially in Catalonia. We must react to the dissemination of reactionary or obscurantist readings of Islam, and respond positively to civil society concerns about the growing presence of Islam. We must combat radicalism within Muslim communities. We can not allow a new 11-M to happen again, and is in our hands to stop it. I remember in this regard the fatwa on terrorism signed by then Secretary of the Islamic Commission of Spain, Mansur Escudero, in which it was declared that anyone who commits a terrorist act is no longer a Muslim. We face perturbed people who use religion to justify their hatred of Western values and, as sincere believers, we must position ourselves against it in an active and forceful way.

It is essential to promote equality between men and women within Muslim communities, including promoting women to positions of responsibility in religious organizations, and full access of women to mosques on equal terms.

This is the basis on which we can demand the full development of civil rights of Muslim citizens, and the application of measures defined in the resolutions of the Parliamentary Committee on the 11-M, which showed that the police response must be accompanied by measures of social integration to be effective.

We are many Muslims engaged in promoting a democratic Islam in our country, Spain. We realize that these goals can not be achieved without the support of institutions and civil society as a whole. What happens in the coming months will be decisive for the future of Islam in the entire state. The Spanish Government and the Generalitat of Catalonia must respond creatively to support open minded Muslims against radicals. We are asking for an effort in this direction, beyond political interests, beyond the pressures of foreign consulates and embassies. As a good friend told me once, you cannot have the wolf guarding the chickens.

Translated by Daniel F. Rivera

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