Ramadan Prayers Near Virgin Mary Statue Spark Outrage in Spain

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By Masha Froliak | 3:16 pm, June 13, 2017
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A Muslim Ramadan prayer service at a Catholic site in the Spanish city of Granada has spurred controversy among residents and politicians, with some calling the event “disrespectful” and provocative.

The Muslim community in Granada observed Ramadan on Saturday evening gathering for prayer at a park called the Gardens of Triumph, which is considered to be a traditionally Catholic site. The event was sanctioned by the city and promoted with signs “Come and know Ramadan”. The mayor Francisco Cuenca also welcomed the event to promote Granada as a “city of co-existence and tolerance”. However some took issue with the location of service calling the decision to hold it at the Gardens of Triumph—the site includes a statue of the Virgin Mary—a “demonstration of clumsiness” by the government which insulted the feelings of Granadians.

Some politicians took to social media to express their outrage: “Mr. Paco Cuenca confuses tolerance and religious respect with provocation. Call for Muslim Prayers at the Virgin of Triumph ??” tweeted Congressman Luis Salvador.

Another politician Manuel Olivares took to Facebook to call the city’s decision “regrettable” and “disrespectful”. He claimed that the mayor “focuses on provoking, confronting and altering the coexistence of religious confessions”.

Some critics of the Ramadan service at the park even called for an “act of reparation” calling for Catholics to gather at the same site on Tuesday and recite the rosary.

Meanwhile council member Jemima Sánchez defended the event on Facebook “Multiculturalism can never be a threat, it is an added value” and “[It is something] unprecedented that brings us closer and makes us more equal.”

Granada was under the Islamic rule for nearly 800 years, till 1492.