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three horizontal bands of red (top), yellow (double width), and
red with the national coat of arms on the hoist side of the
yellow band; the coat of arms includes the royal seal framed by
the Pillars of Hercules, which are the two promontories
(Gibraltar and Ceuta) on either side of the eastern end of the
Strait of Gibraltar
Southwestern Europe, bordering the
Bay of Biscay,
Mediterranean Sea, North Atlantic
and Pyrenees Mountains, southwest
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Total Land Area:
499,542 sq km
than twice the size of Oregon (U. S. A)
World Fact Book 2005
Southern Spain Tastes Islamic in Ramadan
Granada, during Ramadan, is very similar to
Al-Amin Andalusi, IOL Correspondent
MADRID, October 20 (IslamOnline.net) - Ramadan has
a special Islamic taste in southern Spain where the scent of
good old days of Islam is still fresh in the last bastions of
Muslim Andalusia. Even Spaniards in that area enjoy different
characteristics from the rest of the Spanish population.
Baizin neighborhood in Granada, during Ramadan, is very similar
to old neighborhoods in Damascus, Syria or Casablanca, Morocco.
When one walks through its streets, Ramadan pastries, religious
cassettes and books, along with high numbers of veiled women can
not be termed “out of place.”
Spanish area closer to Morocco known as the Green Island by the
Mediterranean, near Gibraltar, many restaurants owned by
Moroccans tend to serve fasting Muslims.
prepare Ramadan specials because that the Island contains the
largest harbor in southern Spain and hundreds of traveling
Muslims use it daily. Many of them are forced to break their
fast or to get ready for next day’s dawn-to-dusk fast by eating
Spaniards there are used to the habits of traveling Moroccans
more than anyone else. They can tell Ramadan has come by the
smell of certain meals coming out of restaurants or houses
inhabited by immigrant Muslims.
the Moroccan residents of the Green Island, Ahmed Aznak, told
IslamOnline.net Wednesday, October 20, that Ramadan almost felt
the same on the island as in Morocco.
no difference. It’s simple though. If I feel bored, I can just
board a boat and break my fast in Tangier in no more than two
hours. It’s just 14 kilometers.”
pearl of southern Spain, Marbella, or “City of Dreams” as its
visitors call it, is considered one of the cities where Muslim
immigrants enjoy the best atmosphere of harmony and tranquility
during this holy month.
streets are never free, summer or winter, from Arab visitors. It
also has a big, very elegant mosque. During Ramadan, mawa’id
Ar-Rahman (charitable iftar banquets in the street)
are also abundant.
a Moroccan resident of Marbella since the mid 1980s, says: “In
the past, there was too much food during Ramadan carried to
mosques by charitable people. We used to eat little, the rest
was usually thrown away as the next day more fresh food was
brought in. I used to resent this. Ramadan is not a month of
food, it’s rather for fasting to feel what the poor suffer.
Thank God such bad habits are decreasing now.”
Ramadan is mostly felt in southern Spain
Ramadan spirit becomes less visible in northern Spain. In big
cities like Madrid or Barcelona, only mosques and small prayer
rooms give the sense of this holy month.
Barcelona city, northeast province of Catalonia, a conference
was held last week, attended by some 200 imams of the regions’
conferees declared their intention to hold an open day annually
in Catalonia to allow non-Muslim residents to visit mosques of
the Muslim community, seeking better harmony and understanding.
the Islamic Cultural Center in Catalonia, Ahmed bin Allal, said,
“More than 200 representatives of Muslim communities in the
province declared their commitment to open mosques and prayer
rooms that amount to 180 to the rest of Catalonia residents one
day a year.”
conferees have not set a certain day for the event, but it is
widely agreed it would be `Eid Al-Fitr (the day that follows the
end of Ramadan).
procedure does not, however, conceal the hardships Catalonia
Muslims face due to the lack of a big mosque where their
increasing numbers can meet, especially in Ramadan.
societies in Catalonia took the chance of Ramadan this year to
repeat their demand to the Spanish authorities to facilitate
their task of building a big mosque. Their repeated calls have
fallen on deaf ears during the past years.
of Catalonia want nothing from the local government but to
facilitate administrative procedures. As for financing, they say
they can handle everything on their own.
comes this year following
the March train bombings in Madrid that killed some
202 people and wounded some 150 others.
have been negatively affected by the terrorist acts as some
right-wing currents insist threats against Spain come from the
south, a reference to immigrants coming from the Arab, Muslim
political wrangling between left and right wings in Spain also
witness repetitions of words like “Islam,” “terror,”
“immigrants,” emphasizing the three pose a threat to the
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Sunday, January 21, 2007
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