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Cablegate: Muslim Outreach Worldwide

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MADRID 002916

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EUR/PPD MICHELLE LOGSDON AND MICHAEL HURLEY,
EUR/PBI FOR IVAN WEINSTEIN
R FOR ACTING UNDER SECRETARY HARRISON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO KDEM OIIP PREL EAID PHUM PGOV EUN OEXC SP
SUBJECT: MUSLIM OUTREACH WORLDWIDE

REF: STATE 155954 (C)

1. Embassy Madrid welcomes this Muslim Outreach initiative
and provides the following information about our outreach
efforts:

2. Brief Context for Muslim Outreach efforts in Spain: An
estimated 500,000 to one million Muslims live in Spain.
Almost all are of foreign origin, with only about 3,000
being Spaniards who have converted to Islam. Approximately
60 percent of them are of Moroccan origin, with the next
largest population from Algeria. In Catalunya, there is an
important Pakistani community. In the Community of Madrid,
there are 55 mosques. The Muslim community assumed
tremendous importance following the terrorist attacks of
March 11, 2004 on a Spanish commuter train which killed 191
people. 50 people have been arrested in connection with the
attacks, the majority of them Muslims of Moroccan origin.
The Spanish Government has realized that they must reach out
to their Muslim population, and have proposed a series of
initiatives including subsidizing mosques, to wean them from
foreign financing; registering Imams, and requiring them to
preach their sermons in Spanish; and teaching Islam (under
the rubric of comparative religion) in the public schools.

3. Embassy Madrid Programs: In addition to the programs
listed below, the Embassy recently created a Muslim Outreach
Working Group, chaired by the DCM. At its first meeting,
the Group commissioned a study by PA's Information Resource
Center on the Islamic Community in Spain. This 103 page
report is now completed and has been distributed to the
Working Group members. It provides background on the
Islamic Community in Spain, and lists influential
institutions and individuals with whom the Embassy should
initiate or maintain contact. The following is a status
report on outreach programs to the Muslim Community:

Description/Name of Activity: Meetings with Spanish Muslim
Federation
Audience: Spokesman for large Spanish Islamic organization
Category: Image of the US
Responsible Section: POL
Timeframe: Ongoing
Budget and Account: Meal per diem for lunches
Results: Obtained information on Islamic community issues
for use in annual Religious Freedom Report. Exchanged ideas
regarding US foreign policy, specifically towards Israel.
Was able to explain USG objectives in the Middle East and
discuss how Spanish Muslims may play a role in sharing their
belief in democracy with other Islamic governments or
organizations. As a result, spokesman has expressed an
interest in attending the January, 2004 "Networking the
Western Democracies with the Arab World" conference in
Berlin

Description/Name of Activity: Meetings with Muslim community
and political leaders in Ceuta
Audience: Calls on Muslim political and community leaders
Category: Image of the US
Responsible Section: POL
Timeframe: Completed November 2002.
Budget and Account: $1000 for travel and per diem
Results: Exchange of views with Muslim community and
political leaders. Anti-US feeling had been evident in
Ceuta. About a third of the est 70,000 population of
Ceuta, adjacent to Morocco, is Muslim.

Description/Name of Activity: U.S. Speaker Arab-American
writer Elmaz Abinader
Audience: academics, community activists, journalists
Category: Image of the U.S.
Responsible Section: PA
Time Frame: completed; April 2003
Budget and Account: speaker travel, per diem, and honoraria
($6,000)
Results: Abinader participated in the national bi-annual
gathering of the Spanish Association of American Studies.
She also spoke to a group of Islamic studies scholars and
community activists about tolerance and diversity.

Description/Name of Activity: U.S. Speaker Felicity Galerday
on Islamic Community in the U.S.
Audience: Spanish-speaking Muslims
Category: Image of the U.S.
Responsible Section: PA
Time Frame: completed; April 2003
Budget and Account: partial per diem and honorarium $1500
Results: The speaker participated in an international
conference of Spanish-speaking Muslims (Islam on the Two
Banks) in Sevilla

Description/Name of Activity: Distribution of Pamphlet
"Muslim Life in America"
Audience: Academics and Journalists
Category: Image of the U.S.
Responsible Section: PA
Time Frame: completed spring 2003
Budget and Account: 0
Results:

Description/Name of Activity: Visa briefing on new
regulations and procedures
Audience: academic exchange groups, government officials
Category: Image of the U.S., security
Responsible Section: CONS/PA
Time Frame: completed; May 2003
Budget and Account: 0
Results:

Description/Name of Activity: Ambassador's Iftaar Letter to
Muslim Ambassadors in Spain
Audience: Islamic diplomatic community
Category: Image of the U.S., security
Responsible Section: EXEC/PA
Time Frame: completed fall 2002
Budget and Account: 0
Results:

Description/Name of Activity: Voluntary Visitor Program
with Islamic Members of "No a Racismo" anti-racism coalition
Audience: Spanish Muslims
Category: Image of the U.S.
Responsible Section: PA
Time Frame: pending
Budget and Account: n/a
Results:

Description/Name of Activity: Assistance in establishing
multi-lingual radio for Madrid's immigrant community
Audience: Spanish Muslims
Category: Image of the U.S.
Responsible Section: PA
Time Frame: pending
Budget and Account: 0
Results:

MANZANARES

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