Street walkers in Cartagena, on Spain's southern Mediterranean coast, have complained that the imam of a local mosque has launched a campaign of intimidation to get them off the streets.
This article was prepared by the Islam in Europe blog - islamineurope.blogspot.com
Yazid Koudri, president of the Islamic community of Cartagena and the imam of the Ennour mosque, has been accused of sending a team of "Muslim guards" onto the streets to prevent the women from working.
Police confirm that they have received several complaints from prostitutes working in the streets around the mosque, including one woman who claimed the imam had tried to run her over in his car.
Others said the imam sent a team of his faithful onto the streets encouraging them to "insult the sex workers" and "threaten violence".
Mr Koudri has openly lobbied authorities to crack down on the red light district, which has emerged on several streets around the mosque in what local newspapers have termed a "jihad against prostitution".
Last month, he presented a petition to the city hall, calling for more policing of the area. The letter had more than 200 signatures, believed to be collected from among the 300 people who regularly worship at the mosque.
"We are not against what these women do," Mr Koudri stated. "But ask that they don't do it in the streets where our children walk."
Members of the mosque have reportedly been placed at the entrance to streets favoured by prostitutes to prevent any Muslim passing through, an act which the women complain has led to a drop in clients.
Source: Telegraph (English)