By Al-Amin Andalusi, IOL Correspondent
Unlike in previous years, the Muslim community in Spain will celebrate `Eid Al-Fitr, which marks the end of
Ramadan, on the same day on Sunday, November 14.
Most Muslim immigrants in Spain follow their homelands in defining the start of the holy fasting month, `Eid
Al-Fitr and `Eid Al-Adha.
Many Arab and Islamic countries, including Egypt and Morocco, joined hands in observing the beginning of the
dawn-to-dusk fasting month on Friday, October 15.
These countries announced Friday, November 12, that 'Eid Al-Fitr will fall on Sunday, which also marks
the beginning of the feast in Europe, according to the German-based Muslim Council for Crescents.
Muslim immigrants in Spain have for years been following Morocco in deciding on the start of Ramadan, `Eid Al-Fitr
and `Eid Al-Adha, says IslamOnline.net Correspondent.
Most of the Muslim immigrants in the European country hail from Morocco and most immigrants’ societies
are dominated by the Moroccans.
Many Muslim groups, however, have tried to unify the Muslim community in Spain on celebrating religious occasions
but Muslim immigrants, mostly Moroccans, insist on following their homelands.
"It is not easy for me to celebrate `Eid Al-Fitr at a different day than my family in Morocco," Saed Duzeeri,
a Moroccan living in Spain for more than ten years, told IOL.
"It is a psychological thing. I can not just ring my family to congratulate them on `Eid Al-Fitr while they
are still fasting or vice versa."
The major influence of the Moroccan community in Spain is also so evident in the northern Moroccan cities of
Ceuta and Melilla, currently under Spanish occupation.
The two cities are populated by thousands of Moroccans who have the Spanish nationality and insist on following
their homeland in observing religious occasions.
Some Spaniards, hailing from Morocco, have also assumed leading posts in the two cities and impose the Moroccan
calendar on the Muslim community in the occupied cities.
Spain has a Muslim community of about one million out of a total population of 40 million. Some 94% of the Spanish
people are Christian Catholics.
In the capital Madrid alone, there are at least 100,000 Muslims.
Attempting to preserve their identity, each Muslim ethnic group builds its own mosque.
Most of these mosques are nothing but small prayer rooms, forcing worshipers to pray in the streets, especially
during Ramadan and `Eid Al-Fitr.
During the dawn-to-dusk fasting month, mosques teem with worshipers, especially in the areas densely populated
Spain recognized Islam through the law of religious freedom, issued in July 1967.
In 1989, the Union of the Islamic Association was set up, comprising 15 bodies to be merged later with the 17-strong
Union of Islamic Society under the umbrella of the Islamic Commission of Spain.
Since 1992, consecutive Spanish governments have attempted to integrate the second generation of Arab and Muslim
immigrants into society by inking an agreement with the commission to teach them Arabic and religion.
The agreement set a mechanism to include the Islamic religion in the curricula of institutes and schools where
Muslim students are enrolled.
But authorities have recently placed mosques and Muslim worshiping places under close scrutiny under the pretext
of curbing "radical imams".