Islamic Head Scarf in Spain

Apr 30th, 2000, 08:26 PM
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Islamic Head Scarf in Spain


My husband and I will be visiting Spain soon. We both wear Islamic tradtional attire. I normally wear the mandated Islamic head scarf, Hijab. Because this is an outfit that stands out and it is in a sense a religious statement, will it cause many eye browse and/or molestation from authorities or people in the streets? I am not sure whether I am just paranoid or it's my vision of the Spanish Inquisition not long ago when Muslims were massacred in large numbers when the Roman Catholic Church took control of Spain in the 15th Century. Please advise and let me know if anybody can recollect seeing other Muslim women in Hijab especially in Andalusia and Madrid (where we'll be visiting). Thanks.....
May 1st, 2000, 12:33 AM
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Spain still has direct links to Africa (30 mins on ferry to Morrocco), Adalucia especially retains many Moorish aspects in it's culture, so nobody will be taken aback.
The headscarf is worn by gypsies
who are often shunned (mostly because they often beg aggressively) but the rest of your dress should set you apart from them.
In Western Europe some prejudice is now arising against Eastern European refugees, many of whom wear the headscarf (Eastern Europe is almost at war, many are fleeing) but Spain is probably seeing less of this than central Europe.
Spain also the massacred their Jews & Protestants when they were finished with the Muslims, then purged the Catholics, it wasn't really a specifically anti-Muslim period, more to do with political power struggles in a country that was being set up after a period of foreign rule.
The Spanish are a kind people, you shouldn't have a problem.
Some parts of Europe do have a problem with Muslims (eg parts of France), this is an racial/immigration issue, not one of religion, and so shouldn't affect Americans.
May 1st, 2000, 04:53 AM
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Aisha,I think it would cause less of a problem than a Christian expressing their religious beliefs in Saudi Arabia,Iran, etc.
May 2nd, 2000, 12:16 AM
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Hi, Aisha.
We donīt see so many women using the hijab as in France, although the number is increasing due to the increase in the number of illegal emigrants from Northern Africa. For that reason, you might find stares from some people (there are less immigrants in the north of Spain than in Andalucia or Catalunya, for example), but I donīt think it will get you into any problems with the authorities.
On another side, I agree with Henry. I would have more problems if I, as a catholic, were intending to travel to an Islamic country such as Saudi Arabia (cannot travel on my own if below 40 years old, must go with a husband or my father) or Iran (think that they force me to change my usual way of dressing, and believe me, I dress on the conservative side, too many trouser suits...).
One thing you should know. During the first third of the century, there was a revivalism in Spain of the moorish architecture. There many cafes, bars or restaurants (many of them quite nice) with a moorish decoration. I have had experiences with customers from Northern Africa, being really offended and not accepting our explanations of why and how. Please, if you donīt like it, donīt think they are offensive. After all, we are proud of our heritage, not matter what happend centuries ago.
Enjoy your time in Spain. In this website you will find many interesting informations, check out the info about the Alhambra visiting hours (the visits are restricted and you should prebooked it)
Rgds, Cova
May 2nd, 2000, 12:40 AM
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Aisha, I think the 15th Century was a while ago. Spanish people, in general, are kind and courteous. If you are so concerned about a country that massacred Muslims in the 15th Century, that pretty much would deter you from a lot of other countries with similar reaction to, what they considered, invaders.

Go, have fun and leave fears to somebody else.
May 2nd, 2000, 11:43 AM
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Please don't be concerned. Regarding your visits to Madrid and Andalucia, Madrid has a constantly growing North African Islamic community and even an active Mosque; there's also a Mosque in Marbella, and Andalucia sees a great number of Magrebi guestworkers make the long drive from Paris through Spain to the ferry in Algeciras in the summers. The area around Algeciras is often filled with immigrants waiting to board the ferries and return to Morocco. There are rest stops on the highways (you'll see the signs in Arabic)that provide interpreters and social services to the growing number of Muslim immigrants, so the Spanish people, particularly in the south, are quite accustomed to seeing traditional Islamic attire. From our experience travelling about the area, it's a common sight and not at all a surprising one.
Hope all these posts allay your concerns.
May 3rd, 2000, 09:19 PM
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Thank you very much Henry, Frank, Cova, Maribel, and Joan for your responses, education, and encouragement. You have all been wonderful and very helpful. Take care. .... Aisha

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