Spanish socialists propose granting Muslims equal legal status with the Church

The ruling party in Spain, the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE), announced it will support an effort that would put Muslims on the same legal footing as the Catholic Church through public financing.

Party secretary Trinidad Jimenez announced the decision after meeting with the president of the Union of Islamic Communities in Spain, Riay Tatary.

”We believe in the establishing of public financing so that Islamic communities can freely carry out their activities, as is the case with other religious confessions,” said Jimenez, referring to the system which currently allows the Catholic Church to raise funds through a taxation program.

However, the socialist leader acknowledged the difficulty of keeping track of the dissimilar Islamic entities in Spain.  But she said it was something that should be resolved “in the context of negotiations between the new Director of Religious Affairs and the Islamic community of Spain.”

Tatary has been pressuring for financial status for Muslims equal to that of Catholic Church, arguing that this way “the recourse to other sources of financing which are not in favor of coexistence can be avoided.”  He was referring to the suspicion that some Islamic organizations in Spain receive economic assistance from groups tied to Al Qaeda.

Nevertheless, Jimenez expressed her support for prosecuting those Muslim clerics who make public statements which are against Spanish constitutional order and legislation.  “There will be continuous vigilance, not only by Spanish authorities, but also by those who responsible in their own mosques for ensuring that there is no type of statements that would encourage violence of any kind,” she concluded.

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