First Muslim woman elected to Parliament in Catalonia

26th Jan 2018
First Muslim woman elected to Parliament in Catalonia

Najat Driouech was elected a member of the Catalan Parliament during the Catalan regional election on December 21 (Photo: Twitter)

Hamed Chapman

Last month saw a Muslim woman elected to the devolved Parliament in Catalonia.

Najat Driouech joins two other Muslim representatives in the 135-seat autonomous assembly. She was 10th on the list of the pro-independence Republican Left Party, which had a total of 32 MPs elected.

Driouech, who worked as an integration counsellor for her local council in Masnou, near Barcelona, for 17 years, said that it was “not my goal to be the first Muslim woman member of Parliament, but the first of many.”

“It’s sad to turn on the television and never see a black face or an Arab personality,” the 35-year old mother-of-two said. “I am taking this step at such a complicated time for Catalonia because I believe it’s necessary to civilise part of society – that minority which believes that another minority is second-class.”

Driouech, who migrated along with her parents from Morocco to Spain at the age of 9, told the BBC that she faced discrimination daily in her job. “When you are little and you speak Catalan and Spanish well, people say ‘how sweet’. Then you get older, you start to speak up and debate things, and that doesn’t go down well. Now you’re a rival.”

“They told us that to be normal citizens we had to study, and we’ve studied. That we had to participate in society, and we are doing that. So where is the problem?” She said that she did not want her children to “suffer half of what their grandparents have suffered or a quarter of what I have suffered.”

The elections were dominated by the success of nationalist parties after they were called by Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, following the declaration of independence by the Catalan government. It is estimated to be just over 500,000 Muslims reside in Catalonia, making up 6.8 percent of the population.

One Response to “First Muslim woman elected to Parliament in Catalonia”

Fatima husainJanuary 28, 2018

Thanks for sharing this information about Muslims in Spain, she will be a role model to the younger generation and I wish her all the best . Once Catalonia parliament is recognised!

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