MURCIA – The Muslim community in Murcia can finally receive Islam education in school. A judge decided this after a complaint about the refusal of the local government to enforce the law on Islamic education. That law has been in force in Spain since 1992.
The region of Murcia has a large Muslim community, estimated to be 100,000 people. Of this community, about 22,300 children receive their education in public schools. Until now, those children had no right to Islamic education. This ‘injustice’ has been rectified by the Court of Justice of Murcia. The court ruled in favour of a Spanish woman from Cartagena who converted to Islam 12 years ago. She filed a complaint against the Ministry of Education last June for discrimination against her children. The applicant’s children must “be able to receive an Islamic education. This is in accordance with the provisions of Law 26/1992”, the judge ruled.
‘Islamophobia, inequality and lack of tolerance’
“I want my son to have the same rights as all other children,” the woman said in a statement which was read by the Prosecutor to radio Onda Regional de Murcia. She accuses the school leaders of “Islamophobia, inequality and a lack of tolerance”.
The judge stated that the right to Islamic education does not only apply to the children of the claimant but in all centres where, in accordance with the law, at least 10 parents of students so request. The Ministry of Education can still appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.
Guarantee the right to Islam education in public and private education
“School authorities must guarantee the right to Islam education in public and private education centres to all Muslim students whose parents so request”. This is according to the agreements concluded with the religious minorities by the government of Felipe González in 1992. Teachers appointed by the Islamic Commission of Spain will give the course. This is in accordance with the program which was published in the Spanish Official Gazette on March 14, 2016.
Religious freedom while avoiding extremism
According to data from the Islamic Commission, Spain counts 312,498 Muslim students, of which 179,357 are migrants. Islam education also aims “to properly channel the right to religious freedom, while avoiding extremism,” according to a report by the Spanish Institute of Strategic Studies pending with the Ministry of Defense.