Muslim Wire

Spain Imams Launch Umbrella Body

Posted in Politics, Society by muslimwire on October 27, 2009

By  Hany Salah

VALENCIA – Spanish Muslims launched Saturday, October 26, an independent, self-regulatory body to train imams in the southern European country.

“The Islamic Union of Imams and Preachers in Spain is the fruit of strenuous efforts of Muslim imams over the past years,” chairman Sheikh Alaa Said told IslamOnline.net.

The new body will be entrusted with training imams and preachers across the country.

“The growing Muslim community in Spain required the launch of an official Islamic body to unify efforts of imams and preachers nationwide,” said Said.

The umbrella body will have three specialized committees on fatwa, research and training.

“It seeks to upgrade the level of all those working in the field of Da`wa in Spain,” he said.

The Union was approved by the Spanish Interior Ministry last May.

“At first we encountered some obstacles with the Justice Ministry to register the Union,” said Said.

“But we later moved to the Interior Ministry to get the official approval after presenting the necessary papers to launch the body.”

A dignitary of Spanish officials and nearly 70 imams and preachers from across Spain took up in the launch of the Muslim Union.

Leading among attendees were Josep Maria Felipe, the general director of the immigration of the Valencian government, Sheikh Hussein Halawa, chairman of the European Council for Fatwa and Research and Sheikh Wanis Al-Mabrook, the head of the European Assembly of Muslim Imams and Spiritual Guides.

Building Role

The Muslim umbrella body seeks to promote the role of Muslim imams in the society.

“IUIPS aims to unify efforts of imams and bring them under one central authority,” said Said.

“It also seeks to achieve their interests and defend their legal rights.”

The Muslim leader admitted that many of mosque imams are not well-prepared to do their job.

“We have nearly 700 mosques in Spain, most of which are supervised by volunteered imams who have not studied religious sciences or been trained perfectly to do the job.”

The new Muslim Union will have many mourchidates (female preachers).

“We can’t ignore the role of women in the field of Da`wa,” he said.

The Muslim leader said the Union seeks to protect women against falling prey to ignorance and deception.

“We want them (women) to work to defend Islam and promote the faith among Muslims and non-Muslims,” he added.

The Muslim leader said the new body also seeks to accelerate the Muslim integration into society.

“The IUIPS will seek achieve Muslim integration into Spanish society,” Said said.

“It will further help promote the true image of Islam to the non-Muslims.”

Spain has a Muslim minority of about 800,000 people out of a total population of 40 million.

The southern European country has recognized Islam through the law of religious freedom, issued in July 1967.

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