Muslims in Spain protest against bureaucratic arbitrariness

Spain’s Muslim community faces restrictions on religious practice and complains of bureaucratic obstacles that officials create when the community tries to open new mosques. The Tuba Mosque in the Spanish municipality of Santa Coloma de Gramanet doesn’t look much like a Muslim place of worship, but that’s what many mosques in Spain look like. The building resembles a barrack or a large shed, and the secretary of the Muslim organization, Umar Majdi, sadly asks – is this a mosque?
The Muslims of the Spanish city took up the issue of opening a mosque back in 2004 and approached it as carefully as possible – their project fully complied with the norms. However, there were many Islamophobes among the townspeople who started gathering at rallies, beating pots and collecting signatures against the mosque. In the end, the mayor intervened in the situation, and as a mosque, Muslims were offered a barrack in a remote area instead of a building in the center of the city. The Spanish constitution guarantees citizens freedom of religious practice, but regional governments and city councils can locally oppose the construction of mosques by setting unrealistic regulatory norms. For example, in the city of Santa Coloma de Gramanet, religious buildings must be located on streets at least 6 meters wide from the side of the main entrance. – “But in such a city as Santa Coloma, there are practically no such streets,” states Muslim activist from Catalonia Mustafa Auliad Sellam, quoted by IslamNews with reference to The New Arab. The president of the Islamic communities of Catalonia, Muhammed el-Gaizuni, confirms that this is the situation in many municipalities of the country. – “Not wanting to protect religious minorities, they find easy ways out,” says el-Ghaizuni.