Thursday, September 04, 2008

Day 04 - Muslims in Spain

The Fourth Day (Thursday, September 4)

Islam in 21st century Europe

Much of Spain was under Islamic rule for almost seven hundred years. Al-Andalus, was the Arabic name given to those parts of the Iberian Peninsula governed by Muslims, or Moors, up until the fall of the last Islamic stronghold, the city of Granada, in 1492. Muslim Spain or “Al-Andalus” is still seen by some as a good example of how Christians, Jews and Muslims should live together. However, most scholars have demonstrated that this ideal of Al-Andalus is not realistic.

Today’s Spain has around 800,000 Muslims, most of whom are fairly recent Moroccan immigrants. One of the largest mosques in Europe, which was built with financial help from Saudi Arabia, is located in Madrid. Although the Muslim North Africans have now become a significant minority in Spain, few Spanish Christians are actively seeking to proclaim Christ to them. This is also surprisingly true in the two Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla which are actually on the northern Moroccan coast. In those cities almost half the population is Muslim.

Happily there have been large efforts, especially in the port cities of Algeciras and Malaga, to distribute literature, cassettes and DVDs to Muslims travelling to and from Morocco. Unfortunately there are almost no Arab or Berber followers of Jesus who meet regularly for worship and mutual encouragement; some groups have made some attempts to do so but often in unfavourable circumstances. A few North Africans from a Muslim background are now studying in Spanish Bible schools. Their situation is not easy since they are often rejected by family and friends.

Prayer Starters

* Committed Spanish believers are relatively few in number, however, there are increasing opportunities for them to reach out to Muslims living in Spain. Pray for greater wisdom, zeal and mobilisation of Spanish Christians for ministry among Muslims.

* Pray for the distribution of Gospel literature and DVDs in areas where there are Muslims.

* Pray for North African young people who come to study in Spanish Bible schools.

* Pray for the radio and TV programmes being produced in Spain for North Africa.

Background Information on Spain (World Factbook)
Spain’s powerful world empire of the 16th and 17th centuries ultimately yielded command of the seas to England. Subsequent failure to embrace the mercantile and industrial revolutions caused the country to fall behind Britain, France, and Germany in economic and political power. Spain remained neutral in World Wars I and II but suffered through a devastating civil war (1936-39). A peaceful transition to democracy following the death of dictator Francisco FRANCO in 1975, and rapid economic modernization (Spain joined the EU in 1986) have given Spain one of the most dynamic economies in Europe and made it a global champion of freedom. Continuing challenges include Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) terrorism, illegal immigration, and slowing economic growth.

Economy of Spain
The Spanish economy boomed from 1986 to 1990 averaging 5% annual growth. After a European-wide recession in the early 1990s, the Spanish economy resumed moderate growth starting in 1994. Growth averaging more than 3% annually during 2003-07 was satisfactory given the background of a faltering European economy. Export commodities include machinery, motor vehicles; foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals, medicines, and other consumer goods. The economy is based on agriculture: 3.5%, industry: 29.8% and services: 66.6%.

Statistics on Spain

Population: 40,491,051 (July 2008 est.)

Life Expectancy at Birth: 79.92 years

Ethnic groups: composite of Mediterranean and Nordic types

Religions: Roman Catholic 94%, other 6%

Languages: Castilian Spanish (official) 74%, Catalan 17%, Galician 7%, Basque 2%, are official regionally

Literacy: 97.9%

HT: 30 Days Muslim Prayer Focus

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