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The seven Moroccans charged with having set up a court of Sharia law in Valls (Catalonia) and of having passed a death sentence on a women accused of adultery, have today been released.

The committal judge at Tarragona Court was forced to overturn their imprisonment after the woman who had brought the charges failed to appear in court to identify them for the third time, say court sources, cited by the EP agency.

The woman, of Moroccan citizenship, disappeared without trace last November and is thought to have returned to live in Morocco, although the police in that country have not been able to trace her.

The charge brought against the seven men, who were facing the prospect of 23 years’ imprisonment for kidnapping, attempted murder and conspiracy to commit a crime, is entirely based on the inquiry conducted by the Catalan police force, the ‘Mossos d’Esquadrà, who had corroborated the ‘probable’ existence of a Sharia court at Valls. The court has, however, left the case open, as well as the accusations against the seven men, who are now free to leave custody.

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A Spanish woman reported the imam of the main mosque in Lleida (Catalonia) to the Guardia Civil for polygamy and abuse.

The woman, reports Spanish daily Segre, is named Aicha Lopez and she filed a report against the imam Abdelwahab Houz for marrying her when he was already married to another woman and for having abused and abandoned her during a trip to Morocco. The imam denies both accusations.

Based on the report, Aicha Lopez suffered the abuse a month ago in Rabat, where the couple went on vacation. The imam, according to Aicha Lopez, reportedly received a phone call from his previous wife, and when the husband learned that he was discovered, he allegedly became violent, forcing his Spanish wife to get out of their car and return to Spain alone. Afterwards, she reported her husband for polygamy and abuse; accusations that the Guardia Civil of Lleida is currently investigating.

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A new Spanish national political party, founded “by and for Muslims” has been announced.The Partido Renacimiento y Unión de España (Rebirth and union of Spain party), known as PRUNE, was officially presented in Granada the day before the EU- Morocco trade conference was held in that city.

The party was founded by the writer, poet, and journalist Mostafa Bakkach El-Bakkach.
Sr Bakkach, who adopted Spanish nationality in 2001, read out the party’s charter in Arabic and Spanish.

The party aims to bring Muslims into mainstream Spanish society, promoting “their interest in politics, in equality, in justice, in solidarity, and under the banner of the Spanish rule of law and the Constitution”, although the party admits that its fundamental roots lie in Islamic tradition.

The party, based on Islam, said it intended to contest the municipal elections next year in Málaga, Madrid, Barcelona, Murcia, Valencia, Oviedo and Toledo on a manifesto of ‘justice, equality and solidarity’

Sr Bakkach regretted that since the creation of the party he had been the victim of “a slur attempt to spread fear, by saying the new party is a radical pro-Morrocan Islamist party”, which he denounced as lies.

The founder of PRUNE, who has been a delegate on the Spanish Islamic Commission for the Moroccan community and vice president of the Federation of Islamic Religious Entities of Spain (Feeri), believes that “if other parties are of Christian inspiration, I do not see what the problem is that our roots lie in Islam. ”

“We are a Spanish party that aspires to work in Spain, I know what interests have prompted the attacks of recent months,” he said, adding that “we are not financed by any foreign country, although there have been attempts to have our registration rejected.”

Claims that “our goal is to rebuild Al-Andalus or implement Sharia law” are “nonsense, like so many others have said.”

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The Guardia Civil on Wednesday arrested the Imam of the mosque at El Algar in Cartagena, in connection with allegations of sexual abuse of children from the Islamic community.

The arrest was confirmed by the Government Delegate for the Region, Rafael González Tovar.

The arrested man has been reported to be on the run for the last few days since the case became public, after originating with the statement from one of the girls who says she was a victim.

The 48 year old Imam was arrested at an undisclosed location in Murcia and will appear in court after first giving a statement to the Guardia Civil Youngsters Group which has been investigating the case for the past week. Reporting restrictions have been imposed by the court in Cartagena. The man has been giving religion and Koran classes since is arrival at the mosque 15 months ago.

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A judge in the court of the province of Tarragona has banned a radical imam in the Catalonian town of Cunit from coming within a certain distance of a moderate Muslim woman who accused the man of repeatedly threatening her for her ‘Western’ behaviour.

The same restraining order was issued by the judge against another three individuals who are associated with the imam, who are accused of taking part in the threats against the woman.

According to the Spanish newspaper El Pais, 31-year-old Fatima Ghailan, of Moroccan origin, employed as a cultural mediator by the municipality of Cunit, was repeatedly threatened by the imam for not wearing a headscarf, for driving a car, for spending time with Spanish people who are not Muslims and for not respecting the period of fasting during Ramadan. The man reportedly organised a defamatory campaign against her in order to get her fired from her job with the municipality.

According to the newspaper, the public prosecutor of Tarragona asked for a prison sentence of between two and five years for the imam and the other three individuals for “threats, intimidation and slander”.

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An imam from a small mosque in El Algar (Muria) is wanted by police throughout all of Spain. The man has been accused of sexually abusing minors, according to sources in the judicial system.

A report was filed yesterday against the 47-year-old man of Moroccan origin by the parents of five children of a group of 12 who were in a Koran and religion class in the town’s mosque, which is 7 kilometres from Cartagena. According to testimony given by the children, the teacher reportedly abused them in a room adjacent to the classroom.

The imam has disappeared and an arrest warrant has been issued for the man. The man arrived at the small mosque in El Algar in September as a substitute for the regular imam, who was absent during the period of Ramadan; he then remained there, continuing to teach religion classes.

The court of Cartagena, which has imposed judicial secrecy on the case, has called for the Murcia juvenile court to intervene. Regarding the alleged abuse case, the secretary of the Islamic Communities Union of Spain in Murcia, Mohamed Reda el Qady, in statements to the media, said that he is indignant, like any Muslim, Christian or human being, for what has occurred in El Algar.

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After a wait of more than ten years, the Balearic Muslim League has secured a space for burial for those of the Islamic faith in Palma’s Son Valenti cemetery.

The League is now satisfied that burials can be conducted according to their faith and that the plots have renewable five-year rental agreements.

There are some 30’000 Muslims in the Balearics so the League said yesterday it hoped that the land which has been allocated to them by Palma City Council would be extended in the future.

Francisco Jimenez, President of the Muslim League said that Son Valenti cemetery was just the beginning. The aim now is to ask all town councils in municipalities in the Balearics where there are Muslim communities for space in local cemeteries for Islamic burials.

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