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06 April 2007

Muslims play part in Easter parade for first time

CEUTA - A traditional Easter parade in Spain broke new ground by allowing Muslim prayer beads to be entwined in the hands of a statue of the Virgin Mary

The Virgin of Hope was paraded through the streets of Ceuta, one of Spain’s two north African enclaves, with a string of Muslim prayer beads entwined in her hand, an unprecedented step during the yearly Holy Week celebrations.

The black prayer beads were donated to the brotherhood which puts on the procession by a Muslim family.

One of the members of the brotherhood is a doctor who treated a sick family member.

Members of the brotherhood said the thoughtfulness of the Muslim family showed the multicultural character of Ceuta, a city which Morocco lays claim to along with the other enclave of Melilla.

During the holiest week of the Christian calendar, the move has been seen as another example of changing attitudes in modern Spain, which has a rising Muslim population mainly through immigration from Morocco.

Re-enactments of the battles between Christians and Moors – or Muslims  - have provided traditional entertainment for tourists keen to know about the Christian victory which forced Muslims out of Spain in the 15th century.

But conscious of sensibilities towards the Muslims communities, these pageants are increasingly seen as politically incorrect.

Another example of changing sensibilities was found in the unlikely form of the ninots – huge satirical papier mache models - which form pride of place at Valencia’s Las Fallas festival.

Last year they were toned down so as not to offend Muslims in the wake of the row over the Prophet Mohammed cartoons published in a Danish magazine.  


07:15 Posted in EUROPE | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |

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