Spanish Muslims Favor Old Hajj Route

Dissatisfied with poor organization and lack of interest, the majority of Spanish Muslims prefer to launch their hajj journey from the other side of the Mediterranean.

Spanish Muslims Favor Old Hajj Route

"It is easier and better to make the spiritual trip from Morocco, especially in view of the official supervision of hajj," Al-Mahdi Bal'ed told IslamOnline.net on Saturday, December 24.

Like many Muslims in Spain, Bal'ed decided to cross the Mediterranean to make their hajj arrangements.

A great number of Moroccan immigrants living in Spain have booked their tickets to Saudi Arabia with Moroccan airliners, according to IOL correspondent.

They cite the lack of hajj supervision and facilities from leading Muslim organizations and Islamic centers in Spain.

Eight centuries ago, Spanish pilgrims in Muslim Andalusia used the same hajj route.

They used to crossed Gibraltar to Morocco and then joined Moroccan pilgrims on their land trip to Saudi Arabia.

Spain has a Muslim minority ranging from 750,000 to one million people out of a total population of 40 million.

Moroccans constitute the majority of the Muslim population, especially in Catalonia, one of the seventeen autonomous communities that constitute Spain.

Less Priority

Bal'ed urged Muslim organizations in Spain to accord better attention to hajj organization.

"We should learn from the experiences of other Muslim minorities in Europe, like those in France and Germany," he asserted.

"We do not have to wait for years to organize ourselves and offer the services Muslims need."

Leading Muslim organizations in Spain contend that they focus primarily on solving the problems facing Muslims in the European country, including schools and mosque building.

They also see it as a higher priority defending Muslims' rights, citing recent decisions by Spanish officials in Seville and Alicante Cities to evacuate mosques and relocate them to remote areas.

Hajj consists of several ceremonies, meant to symbolize the essential concepts of the Islamic faith, and to commemorate the trials of Prophet Abraham and his family.

Every able-bodied adult Muslim who can financially afford the trip must perform hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam, once in their lifetime.

Reunited

Other Spanish Muslims return to homeland Morocco before hajj to reunite with their relatives and next in kin.

"All my family members who went on hajj embark on the spiritual journey from Morocco," Ahmed Bilhassan, who lives in the Moroccan island of Sebta, a Spanish colony.

"It's a golden opportunity to meet one's relatives."

Spanish citizens of Moroccan origin in Sebta, known as Ceuta in Spanish, make up 40 percent of the Island's some 100,000 population.

Flourishing trade city under the Arabs, Sebta was annexed by the Portuguese in 1415 and occupied by Spain in 1580.

It lies in the north of Morocco on the Mediterranean coast near the Strait of Gibraltar. Its is approximately 20 km².

In 1985, Spain moved to entrench its grip over the island, applying a law that gave it an autonomous status.

Muslim-owned Spanish tour operators organize very limited hajj trips for a handful of Muslims in Spain.

The visas are issued by the Saudi embassy in Madrid but the number of applicants remains very small compared to other European countries such as France, Germany and Britain.

However, Spanish Muslim sources expect an increase in direct hajj trips to Saudi Arabia in the years to come.

Source: Ýslam Online.net

Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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