The president of the Spanish Federation of Islamic Religious Entities (FEERI), Mohamed Ahmed Ali, does not share the view expressed by Benedict XVI during his trip to Santiago de Compostela on the development of secularism “strong and aggressive” in Spain, since in his opinion, what is happening is a “certain strangement from religion.” According to the president of the Union of Islamic faith in Spain (UCIDE), Riay Tatary, this separation doesn’t exist “among Muslims”.
Speaking to Europa Press, FEERI representative explained that “secularism in Spain doesn’t exist, because the Catholic Church continues to have privileges,” so that, in his opinion, what “exists” is an strangement from the religious fact” that is “much more pronounced in Catholicism” and that “can’t be mistaken with laicism”.
On the other hand, Riay Tatary considered that “in the Muslim community, we do not notice anything, perhaps because of being Muslims” and declined to comment on the rest of society, but is in favor of secularism “as a way of governing , especially in Spain”and which means of “state neutrality. ”
Regarding the Pope’s visit to Spain itself, Mohamed Ahmed Ali believes that was surrounded by a “excessive paraphernalia” and that “a more normal one should have been organized”, like the visit of any head of state, despite being, for Christians, a spiritual leader. ” “We must take into account the money spent on a visit of this kind and in such a sensitive time of the Spanish economy seems wasteful,” he said.
Also, in the words of the Pontiff in relation to the defense of life and “natural” marriage, the FEERI leader acknowledged that “shares” the bottom of the message, but the organization “does not fit” to value such issues because “it is a majority decision of Parliament and respected, like other laws passed that are even against Islam.”
“He spoke as a Christian, there are things that Muslims may coincide with his message, but it is an issue that we do not want to influence. We are in a democratic country where the majority agrees with those decisions,” said Ahmed Mohamed Ali.
The UCIDE representative was of the same opinion, emphasizing that “the State must do its part as a civil thing”, but does not impose anything, “because people choose based on their religious and personal believes”.
A note: when referring to “aggressive laicism“, Benedict XVI wasn’t referring to the society itself, but to the Government policies. Of course, Muslim communities have benefited increasingly from from the public budget (discriminating other minority confessions, like Evangelist Christians, who receive less money, despite their greater number of believers), while the Catholic Church receives only the money that is given voluntarily by the citizens in their personal income tax. As a compensation they have called on Muslims to vote for the socialists.
Except marrying the Crown Prince (something that could be dispensed with), I don’t know any other “priviledges” the Catholic Church has today.
There is also another aspect of these statements. As it is clear, Muslim leaders want to show how religious Muslims are and comparing them with not-so-religious Catholics. As I say, that approach is wrong, I’m afraid.
Riay Tatary is the same Muslim leader who doesn’t want to acknowledge the extremism of some imams living in Spain, even the ones supporting stoning, polygamy or jihad.
One has to wonder: if they are not happy with this last week-end’s visit, I imagine what they are saying about next year’s World Youth Day, a Catholic event that unites young Catholics around the world and it’s famous because of the great number of people attending.
Photos: El País.