Muslims or Immigrants? The Institutionalisation of Islam in Spain (1860-1992)

Publication date:
Sol Tarrés, profesora en Antropología Social, Universidad de Huelva y Javier Rosón, experto en estudios islámicos y editor de la revista Awraq, Casa Árabe

Beginning with a review of historical developments in the not-so-distant past, such as the Treaty of Wad-Ras (1860) and the Spanish protectorate in Morocco (1912-1956), this article analyses the process of organising, structuring and institutionalising Muslim individuals and communities in Spain between 1900 and 1992. In order to do this, it examines the organisational hallmarks of the Muslim communities in North Africa (Ceuta and Melilla); underlines the role of education in the process of making these communities visible during the protectorate and the Franco dictatorship; and analyses the religious visibility achieved through the register of associations and the creation of Spanish Muslim associations. All this led to a process that culminated in the signing of the Cooperation Agreement in 1992 between the State and the Muslim community. Although a historical continuum of settlement models past and present of the Arab and/or Muslim community in Spain cannot be established, it is concluded that this contact has in fact modified certain institutional and social parameters, provided community organisation structures prior to the current ones and left physical evidence that remains in use (such as mosques and cemeteries).

Keywords: Islam, institutionalisation, Spanish protectorate in Morocco, Spain, Muslim communities

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