Rising Tide Of Racism And Intolerance In Spain


“The project of constructing a Western European identity without much space for immigrants brought a mix of laws, verbal affirmations of hate, and even blood-ridden attacks this summer of 2011.”

So opens a disturbing article in Global Voices, written by Ana Lucia Sa, and translated by Marianna Breytman.

Immigrants Unsurprised By Norway Attacks

The author goes on to quote Abuy Nfubea, president of the Pan-African Federation of Black Communities in Spain. In an article entitled “Is there really someone that is surprised by Norway’s racist crimes?”, the author points out immigrants in Spain who ride the metro, for example, are constantly being stopped and asked for documentation.

Writing of the Norway attacks, he states, “…it is not perplexing, that we saw it coming, and that is the worst thing about THIS ABOMINABLE CRIME.”

This is indeed a disturbing thought.

How Large Is The Immigrant Population In Spain?

According to The Guardian, the number of immigrants registered as living in Spain has increased more than sixfold over the last 10 years. Some 5.6 million non-Spaniards were registered as living in the country in 2009, accounting for 12% of the population, an increase of 400,000 on 2008.

And it seems that many Spaniards are not happy about this.

Sa quotes a survey on opinions of the number of immigrants from NeoBandam:

46% feel that this is “excessive,” 33% feel it is “elevated,” and 17% feel it is “acceptable.”

Xenophobic Harassment Of Immigrants

She also adds a truly depressing comment from the Movement Against Intolerance:

With the eruption of the economic crisis, the increase in xenophobic prejudice and harassment towards immigration is a reality. (…) Add to this, the agitation and xenophobic harassment propelled by extremist organized groups that feed the intolerance towards immigration with populist slogans of all types, including “Spaniards first,” and religious intolerance.

And it is Muslims in particular who are targeted here. In one example, the author quotes some rhetoric that we in the United States may recognize. “PxC does not oppose immigration, but rather the installation of Muslim immigrants in our country, a phenomenon that can pose a large period of clear threats to our culture.”

Cordoba Embraces Its Muslim Heritage – But Not Present-Day Muslims

There is a very strange disconnect here. This past summer, I spent some time in Cordoba, Spain, which calls itself “The City of Three Cultures.” The city has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO, and guides lead tours of the Great Mosque, turned into a Roman Catholic cathedral after the Christians kicked out the Muslims, and of the Jewish quarters, which fell victim to the Spanish Inquisition.

As the guide proudly showed off the Muslim, Christian and Jewish architecture, asking us to marvel at the existence of the three side-by-side, there was no mention of the brutal victimization of the Muslims or the Jewish people. When I tried to broach the subject, it was clear that my guide had no interest in discussing such minor details.

Spain’s Muslim Past Useful For Profit-Making, But Who Needs 21st Century Immigrants?

Apparently, while Cordoba is happy to make plenty of tourist money from its visitors, it is not willing to look at its historical truths. And also apparently, today’s Muslims are unrelated to their glorious past, but are simply to be targets of hatred?

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Photo Credit: james.gordon6108 via Creative Commons


Laure H.
Laure H6 years ago

Using terms like "xenophobia" discounts the very real conflicts involved here. Using a clinical name for an irrational fear isn't really applicable here.

While it is true that rats and humans both get stir crazy and violent when confined too closely together, you are forgetting quite a few facts:

The Japanese, for example, have evolved social customs of massive politeness in order to be able to live cheek-by-jowl with way more people nearby than anyone else in the world...and we don't here about angry culture clashes there. "Xenophobia," in this case really cultural homogeneity, keeps the peace.

The world population has never been as populous as it is now, and yet human history as far back as we know it is littered with bloody conquests. Human nature's dark side is the real cause of our problems.

Wisely chosen and administered immigration laws are one way that countries can fend off a portion of civil unrest within their borders.

I don't know how to solve the rest of it in a way that is healthy, honest, respectful of all life, etc. Does anyone?

Vlasta Molak
Vlasta M6 years ago

Overpopulation in Gaza and West Bank, as well as Muslim countries, in which having many children is a proof of man's virility, is another problem that the world faces, and that feeds the fodder of Radical Islam. When prospects for a good life on Earth are grim for those youngsters, they are easily coaxed into suicide/homicide with a promise of "eternal life" in Paradise with 72 virgins. Koran can be easily used to promote jihad against Jews and the West, since we in the West are considered as dhimmis (second hand citizens) and our religions are not respected. Islam was relatively tolerant when Christianity was in the middle ages, having political power and had distorted message of Jesus. however, Muhammad is NOT Jesus, but a man ho promoted war and destruction of the Jews and "infidels". Tolerance of this intolerance of Islam is not tolerable!

Vlasta Molak
Vlasta M6 years ago

My best friend is a secular Muslim woman married to a devote Muslim man. That does not mean that I cannot see a danger from 300 MILLIONS of Jihadists who are slowly creeping into Europe and North America and corrupting Muslim youth who are looking for some meaning for their lives. Koran is a vile book that promotes hatred of Jews, Christians and "infidels" and feeds the dastardly delusion regarding Jews, expressed by the likes of Ahmedinijhad who calls for annihilation of Israel.

Muslims admire as a role model a man who married a girl of 6 and had sex with her when she was 9 years old. For this act alone, he would be now in prison, just like one of those Mormon guys is in US. This man, the founder of Islam, was also responsible for a gruesome murder (beheading) of 900 Jews from Medina who did not accept him as their prophet. Thus this man (Mohamed) was revenging on people who would not cater to his egomania. For this murder alone, he would be in prison or executed in most countries.

What do you say about people who take as a role model a pedophile and a murderer? One should not tolerate intolerance, as Chamberlain did when he negotiated with Hitler thinking that he could avoid a WWII. Delusional Jew-hatred in the Muslim world is worse than the Jew-hatred in Hitler's Germany and one should be aware of its role in creating problems in the middle East. One should also learn from history and the role of Mufti of Jerusalem (Amin al Husseini) in preventing partitio

Alex H.
Alex H6 years ago

The root cause of the rise of xenophobia in so many relatively well-off countries is OVERPOPULATION!!and environmental degradation resulting from this.Expert demographers have stated that the planet is already 100% over sustainable capacity so what does one expect?"The "rats in the overcrowded box" syndrome is the only outcome with people fiercely defending their patch and their quality of life from inundation by millions of displaced people!Millions are going to die from starvation and deprivation,Nature is turning on the biggest 'cancer'on the planet and that is mankind.No country can save the rest of the world.When people see themselves and their quality of life being threatened,things get ugly-this is inevitable.The only government that has attempted to control their population,is the Chinese one,and they have attracted severe criticism!Sadly,this self-preservation measure has backfired in one respect,and they now have too many males.However,with fewer women to have babies,their population could also plummet!?Mankind has refused to control its population,doing everything to save every life and this is unnatural and unsustainable.Now Nature will sort out the problem for us,and no religion will be spared..

Eileen B.
Eileen B6 years ago

Is this a realistic page about Muslims in Spain or another attempt at making us all fear and hate Muslims? I have never met more loving caring people. Yes there are Muslims who will not allow their people to integrate, much as there are fanatics of other religions too from Opus Dei to Evangelists and Catholics who try to dictate how we should live. But we also have a excellent laws and methods of defending women who live in Spain against violence from their husbands or partners and NO man who is reported for badly treating a woman gets away with it. Women are given alarms to warn the police if they are attacked and men are either imprisoned or tracked to ensure they do not go near their wives or partners. So please STOP STIRRING UP THE HATE!! We have enough of that from the artificial 9/11 attack which was not from the Taliban but from the Mossad or within the US itself to start up this whole anti Muslim process. We don't need to live in fear in Europe, we are much more tolerant than the USA "sheeple" are.

Giovanna M.
Giovanna M6 years ago

To avoid any possible confussion, just wanted to clear that I cited Maimonides as an example of what the "trend" was when it came to "brutal victimization" because -although he is earlier and he "left" Spain because of the Almohad fanatics and not the Christians- he was also given teh choice to convert or die and he is a world-wide known person (I'm not sure any of the Jewish/Muslims poets & scientists that stayed in Spain at the time of KIng Fernando and Queen Isabel would ring any bells).

I was just trying to illustarte despite fanatics do big harm (the Inquisición was active at the time of the Reconquista, maybe that's what the author was trying to discuss with the tourist guide?), to assume that was what happened 100% of the time is not very accurate (and slightly hypocritical).

Charles Temm JR
Charles Temm JR6 years ago

As pointed out by others, much of this anti immigration attitude is fueled by the attitudes of the immigrants themselves.

Europe is made up of much more insular societies than the US/Canada; both of which have absorbed far larger numbers of immigrants and at least in the US, assimilated into the larger society. Europe on the other hand does NOT assimilate either the Eastern Euros OR the non Euros trying to jump onto the European social gravy train.

Be it neighborhoods where cops don't go or places where Euro girls/women are raped/beaten for not dressing conservatively enough, women of said non Euro immigrates not remembering their places (dressing in modern fashions, getting education, dating Euro men etc) are beaten/killed, refusal to learn the national language/culture, or simply refusing to work....the migrants too often ARE the problem.

Europe's failing economy is the match to the decades long smoldering immigrant problem, they simply cannot afford to support the ever larger numbers of non workers who too often are a large alien presence in cultures that historically do not tolerate such for long.

The US has immigration problems but unlike the accusations of Giovanna M and others, immigrants here do become part of the national culture pretty fast and they are not a prosecuted group as long as they are legal. Americans problems with immigration lie in the illegal problem AND how confusing, tilted towards certain groups our immigration laws are.

Laure H.
Laure H6 years ago

Rob and Jay B, I really appreciate your on-the-ground viewpoint. Racism rarely occurs in a vacuum.

Rob and Jay B.
Jay S6 years ago

For those of you with even a little open mind, here is an article about the Salafi Muslims who are gaining strength in Spain with 100 mosques & have religious police who beat women who don't veil & even kidnapped a woman & were going to kill her for 'adultery' & having Spanish friends. http://www.hudson-ny.org/2394/salt-spain-radical-islamism

They openly declare their intent to take Spain over once again & force Sharia law on all. They teach their members NOT to assimilate into Spanish society & that western society is evil (what! because we don't allow murders, child molestation, inequality?)

They want to build a huge mosque to spread their hate & intolerance, funded of course, by Saudi Arabia, the seat of Islam where no freedom of anything is allowed, & the people of the small town of Salt which is already 40% Muslim, have risen up & said no. Authorities have backed down from confronting these dangerous bigots because of their threats of violence.

This is happening all over Europe where even traditional church processions must have police protection from Muslims, churches are desecrated, Jews are being attacked, gays are being beaten & killed, Muslims who leave Islam are under death threat & unveiled women raped.

The question is is why Spaniards aren't more intolerant of these invaders than they are.

Dubai's ruler has just announced that he is going to build the 3d largest mosque in the world in Barcelona &

Rob and Jay B.
Jay S6 years ago

In answer to this ill-informed, but typical pro-Islamist Care2 PC BS, in Wednesday's paper here in Spain, where we are fortunate to live, a poll puts the lie to this spurious article.

The poll of Muslim immigrants living here found "that the vast majority are satisfied with the treatment they receive here. They disapprove of violence from all sources & actually have greater faith in the monarchy, the judicial system, parliament, the Catholic Church & the NGOs than many Spaniards have."

Spain is the 3d most liberal country in the world & very tolerant. We are from the US but moved to Spain because of its tolerance. There is no state in the US that can compare to Spain for its tolerance & progressiveness. We wouldn't go back for anything.

As a same-sex couple we now have total equal rights here, including marriage. Muslim countries, Saudi Arabia & Dubai, are building mosque/missionary centers to convert us all here to their INtolerant ideology & everyone has freedom of thought, conscience, religion & association, things that are NOT available in ANY Muslim country.

Everyday Islamists burn churches (300 burned in Indonesia), Bibles (6500 this week in Islamic Iran alone), persecute & kill non-Muslims, & many of these countries won't even allow a church/temple/synagogue to be built. Why doesn't Care2 write @ these atrocities? But not a peep to criticize Islam, horrors!