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Cablegate: Spain Welcomes Proposed Nwc Field Studies On Islam

VZCZCXYZ0009
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMD #2239 3481241
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 141241Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY MADRID
TO RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3947
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS MADRID 002239

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR MAJ ANDREW BRINKMAN, PM/ISO
DEPARTMENT PLEASE PASS NWC CAPT TOM HALE, DR. MIKE MAZARR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KISL MARR MOPS SP
SUBJECT: SPAIN WELCOMES PROPOSED NWC FIELD STUDIES ON ISLAM

REF: A. STATE 160184

B. MGEN STEEL - AMB AGUIRRE LETTER OF NOVEMBER 13
C. LLORENS-PEARSON-MAZARR E-MAILS

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: U.S. Mission Spain warmly welcomes the May
2008 proposed thematic trip on Islam in the West and is
pleased to comment on the feasibility of such a program in
Spain. Home to nearly one million Muslims, most of them
immigrants, Spain is an ideal destination for subject study
tour. According to the second annual Muslim survey released
December 10 by the Spanish Ministries of Justice, Interior,
and Labor and Social Affairs, four out of five Muslims in
Spain feel integrated. Upwards of 80 per cent of those
surveyed reported no obstacle to practicing their religion
and felt completely or pretty well adapted to Spanish
culture. Muslims who reported liking Spain "well," "very
well," or "pretty well," numbered three quarters of those
polled. End summary.

2. (SBU) Post proposes a program that would focus on the
aspects of Islam as an immigration issue here, including
increasing sensitivity of Spanish authorities to the threat
of radical Islam among disenfranchised populations. The
United States enjoys excellent counter-terrorism cooperation
from Spain. Having fought Basque terrorists for four
decades, Spain is no stranger to terrorism on its soil. As a
result of the March 2004 Madrid train bombings carried out by
al-Qaeda sympathizers, as well as Spain's proximity to the
Maghreb and geographic position as the gateway to Europe,
Spain understands the potential for and the dangers of
Islamic radicalism. Time permitting, briefers could include
Spanish government officials who have oversight of religious
entities within the Ministry of Justice, security officials
in the Ministry of Interior, integration experts at the
Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, NGOs with
multi-cultural emphases, and academics. Post's Muslim
Engagement Working Group (MEWG) recommends and can facilitate
contact with the Muslim community in Madrid. Field trips
outside of Madrid could include Cordoba, for background on
the historic presence of Islam in Spain, reachable as a day
trip, and/or Barcelona -- a regional capital facing the
challenges of cultural integration of Muslim immigrant
communities. Barcelona is home to approximately 60,000
Pakistani immigrants alone, the majority of them
unaccompanied male heads of household.

3. (U) As we move forward in coordinating such a program,
Post would appreciate additional information. It would be
helpful to know the number of program days available. In
addition, please advise whether there will be funding
available for interpretation. Please note due to language
barriers (many Muslim leaders do not command Spanish, much
less English) and local circumstances, lack of such
translation could severely curtail worthwhile contacts and
programming.

4. (U) The group's Control Officer will be E. Strother
Murray, Political-Military Officer. She can be reached by
e-mail murrayes@state.gov or by phone 34-91-587-2393
(office) and FAX 34-91-587-2391.
AGUIRRE

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