Ignacio Cembrero during the book’s presentation./ Photo: TD
Eduardo González. 13/04/2016
The veteran journalist Ignacio Cembrero presented his book La España de Alá yesterday. In it, he analyzes in detail the growth of the Muslim minority in our country and tries to understand whether this rise will generate the same problems that it has also generated in other countries, such as France or Belgium. His conclusions, so far, are optimistic.
According to the data included in the Census, Cembrero points out, at the moment, 1.9 million Muslims reside in Spain (“a bit excessive” amount) and all analysts agree that the number will keep increasing in the coming years.
“Welcome”, he declared during the book’s presentation, at the Press International Centre of Madrid. “Obviously, that entails problems, but in this old continent we need that young contribution, we need people to work and pay pensions”, he pointed out.
This former correspondent of El País in the Middle East admits in his book that the massive presence of Muslims could be a “breeding ground” for radicalism and jihadism in some points of Spain, such as the peripheral areas of Catalonia (where more than 500,000 live) or Ceuta and Melilla. “Spain is, after France and Belgium, the European country in which the security forces have developed the highest number of anti-terrorist operations”, he remembered.
Ignacio Cembrero warns that peripheral areas of Catalonia are a potential “breeding ground” for jihadism
Nevertheless, he affirmed, “in Spain, we have a lower terrorist threat”. “In Europe, the breeding ground is usually the second or the third generation of immigrants”, he continued. “Poverty or alienation are not determining, it is, especially, an identity problem”, of people who “are not from here or there, those who only have religion as an identity sign” and who, sometimes, “embrace wrong versions of religion”.
“In Spain this problem is not so present”, due to the fact that “we have few second-generation immigrants” and Muslims, most of them of Moroccan origin, “are more connected to their country of origin, whether it is because they arrived not long ago or because of the geographic proximity”, Cembrero explained.
Besides, according to the journalist, Islamophobia in Spain is still “of low intensity, if we compare it with other European countries”. “Social unrest in the Muslim communities is limited, whereas in the rest of Europe, except for Italy, it is high”, Cembrero declared. “It is increasing, but there is no proportion with Belgium, France or the United Kingdom; although we have to be alert”, he warned.