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October 24, 2006

Spain's "Moors And Christians" Fiestas Toned Down To Avoid Offense To Muslims

The "Moors and Christians" fiestas have always been celebrations of the reconquest of Spain, but "out of fear, out of respect, out of everything"--multicultural sensitivity and the reality of Muslim rage--they are to be toned down in the future:

Welcome to Spain in the era of cultural nervousness.

Throughout the country towns and villages are toning down traditional fiestas of "Moors and Christians" to avoid offending Muslims.

The fiestas -- some dating back hundreds of years -- celebrate the final "reconquest" of Spain by Christian armies from the Moors in 1492 after 781 years of Muslim rule. Villagers divide into rival "armies" of Moors and Christians to re-enact the conquest of their towns. But rows in Denmark and Germany over the depiction of the Prophet Muhammad, and the Madrid train bombings in March 2004, have caused Spanish towns to think again. Several have stopped parading giant effigies of Muhammad.

"If the fiestas culminated in the burning or blowing up of a figure, that bit has been suppressed, out of fear, out of respect, out of everything," says Xavi Pascual, the organiser of the fiesta in the Valencian town of Bocairent. "But the important thing is that the structure has not been modified."
. . .
"For the sake of peaceful coexistence, they should disappear," said Félix Herrero, imam of the mosque in Málaga and the president of the Spanish Federation of Islamic Religious Entities.

Other leaders have taken a softer line, asking only that events should avoid purposely offending Muslims. Nevertheless, Malik Ruiz, the president of the Islamic Commission in Spain, said Spaniards should "not touch some issues that cause visceral reactions", such as the portrayal of Muhammad.

More at Slapstick Politics.

Posted by El Presidente at October 24, 2006 5:10 AM

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