Interpreting Muslim Religious Interest Groups in Spain: Frames, Organisation and Influence

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Spain is characterised by its historical rejection of Muslims’ cultural traditions and practices. Massive immigration in the last decade has increased such negative perceptions about “the Moors”. It is common to associate Muslims with insecurity, delinquency and incivility. Therefore, the social and political integration of religious minorities is very limited. Institutional marginalization and social obedience are applied by the Spanish institutions. This article provides a review of all factors determining the structure of political opportunities of Muslim interest groups .

Three conclusions can be highlighted: First, the Muslims have enormous difficulties in participating in politics as they find it difficult to find allies to carry out their initiatives. It is argued that this is a result of institutional and social rejection. Second, their lack of influence in Spanish politics is also due to poor organization and a hierarchical sense of Islamic idiosyncrasy that does not permit the establishment of cohesive, representative organizations. And third, despite its outsider position, their persistence over long term strategies is ultimately successful. This article analyzes the politics of Islamic cemetery in Granada, Spain, by reviewing its main events, the characteristics of the actors, the evolution of demands over time, and the relations of power among actors. The interviews, questionnaires and documents review have been conducted to support our argument. Moreover, the paper has applied social network analysis to the case study.

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To cite this article: José Antonio Peña & Iván Medina, “Interpreting Muslim Religious Interest Groups in Spain: Frames, Organisation and Influence”, Journal of US-China Public Administration, Vol. 8, No. 4, (2012), pp. 387-400.