Spain: Most Muslims tolerant, Western and liberal

Spain: Most Muslims tolerant, Western and liberal

A study by the Spanish Justice, Interior and Labor ministries concludes that the Spanish Muslim community - 767,784 people - is particularly tolerant, Western and liberal, and holds opinions that are not substantially different from those of Spanish citizens.

The study, presented today by Ministers Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba (Interior), Francisco Caamaño (Justice) and Celestino Corbacho (Labor), results from interviews of 2,000 foreign Muslims living in Spain.  The vast majority of the respondents said they feel at home in Spain, believe it is perfectly possible to be good Muslims and good Spaniards and think that Islam is perfectly compatible with democracy and human rights.

The study found that 4-5% expressed radical views.  Professor Juan José Toharia, president of Metroscopia and author of the study says that 4-5% of the Spanish population can be considered radical, which is the same ratio as in other countries in Europe.  "It's a minority," says Rubalcaba.

94% of the respondents think you should never use violence to defend or spread religious beliefs, compared to 1% who do not agree with this statement, 2% who neither agree nor disagree and 3% who don't know.

Additionally, 75% say that the three big monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) are equally respectable and none can be considered superior to the others, compared to 8% who deny that.

66% support marriages between people of different religions, 14% oppose and 14% who did not answer.

Rubalcaba says that the crisis doesn't seem to have affected the opinions of the respondents in this survey, which has been conducted since 2006.

The number of those who define themselves as very religious Muslims increased slightly (52% versus 41% three years ago), as did the number of those who think the state should be absolutely neutral regarding religion (83% vs. 80%).

81% say they've adapted a lot to Spanish ways, compared to 17% who say they aren't.  A year ago, 86% said they feel fully adapted, compared to 12% who said they adapted little or not at all.

Rubalcaba says the incident in the Cordoba mosque, where a group of Austrian Muslim tourists started praying, was isolated and exceptional.  Regarding the existence of a 100 radical Muslim preachers, as reported by El Mundo, the Minister of the Interior said that the state has means to monitor these processes of radicalization.

Source: El Mundo (Spanish)

No comments: