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From the Ibn Battuta Foundation we want to strongly condemn the attack on two churches in Algeciras, causing the death of the sacristan Diego Valencia and injuring 4 other people (including a young Muslim). It is a criminal, incomprehensible, abominable act that has shocked us and filled us with pain as Muslims and non-Muslims.

We wish to convey our condolences to the family of the deceased and wish a speedy recovery to the injured.

We Muslims find ourselves doubly attacked, in our image by a disturbed person who is radicalized individually, due to his strong personal problems and who finds in religion his refuge, full not of love but of hatred towards those who profess another religion different from his own. But also by some politicians who consider Catholics to be good people and Muslims to be terrorists. WE ARE NOT DOING WELL. This is not the way to a good coexistence in Spain, the Muslim community is not guilty for anything that a person does individually. It is also an attack on the community itself. A POLITICIAN CANNOT PROMOTE MORE HATRED AND MORE VIOLENCE.

We call on politicians to exercise caution in their statements. Generating hatred about a collective does not help peace, harmony, or coexistence. Politicians are obliged to convey messages that totally alienate radicals and no longer feed violent ones. ISLAMOPHOBIA IS NOT THE SOLUTION. Their messages should help make coexistence between different beliefs possible and that together we build a common future and leave our children a country of peace, coexistence and social cohesion.

We also want to emphasize that Salafism Jihadist, as it allegedly seems to be the young attacker, has nothing to do with his irregular situation, since we have had young people born in Spain who have embraced jihadist radicalism. Therefore, we must not criminalize Muslim immigrants in an irregular situation, which in itself is a real tragedy and a lack of dignity for their lives. The problem is much more complex and should not be treated with simplisms, but should deeply analyze the causes of radicalism and confront it with prevention and dialogue, and not with hatred and discrimination.

All of us, including Muslims, have a serious problem with jihadist radicalism at the European level, so the global affects us locally, in our neighborhoods and municipalities. Only by having things clear and working together, can we defeat terrorism and violence wherever it comes from. There is no other way, we are in time to do it well, it is in our hands, regardless of the origin or beliefs of each one.

Mohammed Chaib

President of the Ibn Battuta Foundation

Former deputy to the Congress and the Parliament of Catalonia

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