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Sunday, 17 October 2010

Spain: Mosques have increased by five in the Balearic Islands

The number of mosques has increased fivefold in the Balearic Islands in recent years. In 2005 there were only six mosques in the islands and is now accounted for 30, as shows the registration of religious communities in the Ministry of Justice. The most important municipalities of the Balearic Islands have already a temple to practice Islam and Islamic groups now want also to have cemeteries to bury their dead by Muslim rites. For this reason, they plan to apply for land to the municipalities.
The real expansion of mosques has occurred since 2006, being the year 2008 when opened more Islamic centers were opened in the islands, especially in Mallorca. In most cases the faithful themselves have decorated the places with Arab tapestries. The faithful have also chosen a magnet in order to fulfill their religious obligations every Friday, the day of worship.
The reasons that Islamic groups give for the significant increase of places of worship in the municipalities is that gradually and over the years, Muslims have settled and integrated, losing the fear of showing religious affiliation. Many of the faithful flocked to nearby towns or Palma to pray, but over the years they have decided to launch their own temples in the towns where they reside.
Francisco José Giménez, president of Mallorca's Lliga Musulmana and representative of the Islamic Platform states that "Muslim groups of municipalities were reluctant at first to set up their mosques, but once you have settled have changed their way of seeing things and even people of Mallorca has helped  offering some places". Islamic organizations complain that at a regional level there is no a group that unites the entire Muslim community.
In 2005, on the island of Mallorca, there were only two mosques in Palma, one in sa Pobla and another in Manacor. Now there are centers of Islamic worship in Inca, Lloseta, Pollença, Alcúdia, Felanitx, Maria de la Salut, Muro, Santa Margalida, Soller, Vilafranca, Ses Salines, Inca, Santanyi, Porreres or Campos.
The Lliga Musulmana and the Islamic Council of Islands, who is chaired by Lounis Meziani, think one step further. Since mosques are already implemented in most counties, they have decided to ask the councils to provide land for the construction of Islamic cemeteries. It turns out that the Police Act which governs Islands' Mortuaries prohibits the burial of the deceased without coffins. Muslims do not use them and their religion requires burial in contact with soil, incineration is considered an act of selfishness. Mallorca cemeteries are not eligible to meet this ritual.
At the moment, they only have an area within the municipal cemetery in Palma for about 40 corpses. The municipality of the capital and has informed them that it has no more land to expand this space. In this situation, they are thinking of going through the villages of the islands with the aim they are assigned to build enclaves where Muslim cemeteries.

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