The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

You never expect the Spanish inquisition

Interesting story on anti-Muslim violence in Spain:

Authorities in the city said yesterday that they were considering putting security cameras around mosques, shrines and buildings belonging to other religions in order to dissuade potential attackers.
Although it was unclear yesterday whether those who burned the sanctuary were non-Muslims or fundamentalists opposed to the form of worship practised by local Muslims, it came amid reports of a growing number of attacks across Spain.

El País newspaper yesterday listed a number of mosques and other Muslim targets that have been ransacked, burned or had copies of the Qur'an set alight by intruders.

Police said that extreme rightwingers and skinhead groups were responsible for almost all the attacks.

"They want Spain to have the same sort of violent reaction that the Netherlands had after the murder of film director Theo van Gogh," one police expert told El País. "Little by little they are creating an atmosphere for this to grow."

Spain's 800,000 Muslims, many of them immigrants from neighbouring Morocco, have some 600 mosques around the country.

Spain's imams, however, prefer not to publicise attacks in order to avoid copycat incidents and angry reactions from within their own community. "We try to avoid confrontation," Moneir Mahmoud, who runs the main mosque in Madrid, explained.
I checked because I didn't know what percentage of Spain's population -- it's about 1%. Some interesting charts comparing with other Western countries here.