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‘Death to Islam’ graffiti sprayed on Murcia mosque set ablaze

19th Mar 2021

Nadine Osman

Locals and officials in the small town in Murcia, Spain, have condemned a violent attack on a mosque that occurred on February 21. Residents living near the two-story Assafwa Islamic Cultural Centre in the San Francisco neighbourhood in San Javier felt the explosion at around 4 am, say local media.

“I have insomnia, so I was sitting there smoking in my apartment, right above where the explosion occurred. I heard a loud noise and felt the floor move,” Francisca Chuecos told the local daily La Verdad. Chuecos, who has lived in the area for 25 years, said “Everything here has always been calm and peaceful. The people who frequent the mosque do not cause any problems and the neighbours who are not Muslims are respectful towards them,” she said.

After seeing flames and black smoke, she alerted her neighbours to vacate their homes, fearing the huge flames would engulf the interior of the building and spread to the homes in Monseñor Carrión Valverde Street. She also called the police, who extinguished the flames before they spread inside the building. The fire and explosion did cause damage to the building’s windows and facade.

The police discovered ‘death to Islam’ graffiti sprayed on the mosque’s windows. The explosive spray-paint canister was then lit with the likely intention of burning down the mosque.
Mohamed Mehdi, who has lived in the neighbourhood for a decade, said “there have never been any problems with Spanish or Muslim residents, we all respect each other”.

The mosque’s Imam, Brahim Roubi, said “I am a little worried because we did not expect something like this to happen, but I am sure it will be an isolated incident, whoever wants to attack our peaceful coexistence will never achieve their goals”.

The San Javier city hall also condemned the attack, releasing a statement expressing strong condemnation of the violent attack and insisting the community takes pride in the “harmonious way that San Javier has become an intercultural town in recent years. The City Council rejects this type of violent act that could have caused serious damage, fortunately, this is an isolated event.” Spain is home to around 2.1 million Muslims, with around 100,000 living in Murcia.

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Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

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