Fez- To counter the tide of Muslims who chose to settle in Spain over the past two decades, especially from Morocco, the Spanish government is reported to have signed an agreement with the Catholic Church in virtue of which the process leading to naturalization will be made easier for Muslims who convert to Christianity.
According to the Moroccan daily Al Massae in it issue of Tuesday October 29, Moroccan who desire to become Spanish citizens should renounce their Islamic faith and show a high degree of integration in Spanish society.
In addition, Moroccan immigrants are also required not to have a debt exceeding 600,000 Euros and learn religious songs celebrating the Virgin Mary and Christ.
It is still early to assess the reaction of Moroccans in Spain, in Morocco and around the world. If this information turns out to be accurate, there is no doubt that it will stir a controversy and bring back the memories of the Inquisition when the Spanish Crown forced Muslims living in Spain, between 1492 and 1614, to convert to Christianity and then expelled them.
A number of Moroccans expressed their disbelief when they heard of this alleged decision.
“It is very sad to read something like this. As the Catholic Church is struggling to keep its members, this shows how ugly things could get,” said Jamal, a Moroccan living in Washington DC.
Jamal ruled out the possibility that Moroccans will renounce their faiths just for the sake of obtaining the Spanish citizenship.
“At the end of the day Islam is strongly the fastest growing religion around the world. I don’t think fellow Moroccans who are living in Spain are that stupid to do something like that,” Jamal added.
MWN could not independently verify the veracity of this information reported by Al Massae newspaper.
Moroccans: a threat to Spanish identity
Spain imposed the visa on Moroccans in 1991. At the time, the number of Moroccans living in the Peninsula did not exceed 16,000. Most Moroccans were using Spain as transit country to reach other countries, such as France, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany, which were perceived and offering better job opportunities.
Ever since and as job opportunities started to dry up increasingly in northern European countries. more Moroccans started settling in Spain, mainly in cities such as Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia. From 1991 to 2012 the number of Moroccans increased from barely 16,000 people to over 900,000 turning the Moroccan community into the biggest foreign community living in Spain.
But Moroccans have often been regarded as threat to Spanish identity and considered as less prone to integrate in Spanish society that other immigrants, especially those coming from Latin American countries.
At the turn of this century, mostly after the events of 9/11, many Spanish opinion leaders started ringing the alarm bells over the increasing numbers of Moroccans who were arriving to Spain, arguing that their cultural and religious differences made them unfit to assimilate Spanish values.
Others did not hesitate to call upon Spanish officials to stop the inflow of Moroccans and open the door for other immigrants perceived as more amenable to Spanish values and mindset. Most of those fearmongers showed their preference for immigrants from Latin America, basing their argument on the fact that their linguistic and religious similarities make them more likely to be integrated into Spanish society.
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