Spain and Morocoo: A Story of Tension and Reconciliation

Moroccan Mother, Daughter, and Ship, Almería, Spain
Spain and Morocoo: A Story of Tension and Reconciliation - Josep Torres


Before Spain's entry into the European Community, during a long period of official international isolation, Spain dominated Morocco while ignoring closer countries like Portugal. It was often said that the only army the Spanish army could defeat was the Moroccan army. This comment demonstrates the disparag­ing attitude Spain adopted against Morocco due to indifference and ignorance about the country, its people and its culture. To visitors, it seemed Moroccan women did all the work while the men watched the world pass by. These were the stereotypes Spaniards had toward Morocco: a land of poverty and underde­velopment. The implication of the stereotypes was that if the Spaniards could not compete with their advanced European neighbours of the North, at least they could feel superior to their Moorish neighbours to the South.

Once Spain became firmly anchored in the European Union and in NATO, relations between Morocco and Spain were normalized. Morocco is now of great importance to Spain, and the past relationship of disdain and ignorance has largely come to an end.1 Problems certainly remain; trade tensions arise because of the competitiveness of Moroccan agricultural produce and its large fishing in­dustry. However, most policy issues are resolved by EU policies for the Mediter­ranean region. Outside the political arena, at the level of the Spanish population, Morocco is popular with Spanish tourists. Cultural differences are now taken for granted and accepted without excessive criticism. This is no mean achievement. However, the presence of Moroccan immigrants in Spain results in present-day conflict. Hundreds of Moroccans have tried to cross the strait of Gibraltar2, and at least 400 people have drowned trying to get to Spanish shores3 since 1998. For those who manage to make it to Spain, Catalonia is a main destination.

The present-day Muslim and Moroccan communities are identified and described herein with the object of reducing cultural tensions and racism. Begin­ning with the historical background and social context in which Moroccan immi­gration into Catalonia takes place, the article proceeds to an overview of the policy response of the Generalitat de Catalunya, the autonomous government of Catalonia, in light of the increasing presence of Moroccan immigrants in Catalo­nia. The responses and reactions of Catalan society lead to a recommendation for a model of integration for Muslim Moroccan immigrants.

Moroccan Immigrants in Catalonia

With the modernization of the Spanish economy and the re-industrialisa­tion of Catalonia after the Spanish civil war, Spain changed from an exporter of economic immigrants to Northern Europe in the 1950s and 1960s, to an im­porter of immigrants.4 This is a new social phenomenon for Spanish society, and one that has already sparked debate. At an average 1.7 % of the Spanish workforce5, it is still quite low in comparison to the 5% of the EU. However, the official rate of unemployment in Spain is the highest of the EU member states at 16%.

Over the past years in Catalonia, the presence of Muslims and Moroc­cans in the cities and villages of Catalonia and the Balearic Islands is more and more visible, their participation in the workforce of some sectors is on the in­crease, and their contribution to society has risen substantially. What effects will immigration have on the local Catalan language and culture? What model should be followed for the integration in the receiving society of the new immigrants from Morocco?

The Origin of Moroccan Immigrants and Their Destination, Catalonia

Two regions provide most oft he Moroccan immigrants in Catalonia: the northern and Mediterranean regions of Rif and Jebala. This is according to the data collected in 19916 out of 16,000 cases of regularised residence permits. Emigrants from Rif are also found in Holland, Belgium and Germany; a more direct link to Spain exists in the case of Jabala.

Of the Moroccan residents in Catalonia, 38.5% come from the Rif region (5.9% from the Al-Hoceima region and 32.6% from Nador) and 32.7% come from Jebala (8.5% from Tangiers, 2.8% from Tetuan, 16.7 % from Lararix and 4.7% from Xauen. The more southern the Moroccan region and the lesser the past Spanish colonial influence, the less the number of immigrants from these re­gions. Only 7.4% come from the oriental region (provinces of Oujada and Figuig), 6.6% were born in the central regions (Taza, 2.8% and Fes, 1.7%), and 8.5% come from the Atlantic regions (Kenitra, Rabat, 4% come from Casablanca, Ben Slimane, Settat, El-Jadida, Safi and Essaouira). Only 1% comes from Mararqueix, the great capital of the South. Almost half of the Moroccans in Catalonia come from the provinces of Nador and Larraix. This provincial disequilibrium results from past unequal Spanish colonisation in Morocco. Northern Morocco used to be almost completely colonised by the Spanish; Northern Moroccan populations are predominantly Berber speaking. Therefore, the immigrants to Spain from Morocco tend to be primarily from Northern Morocco and speak Berber.

As to gender patterns in the origin of the Moroccan residents, it is inter­esting to point out that 46.9% of the men that immigrate to Catalonia do it directly from their aduars (traditional Moroccan settlements) of origin, while only 15.7% of women do. This is partly due to constraints placed on Moroccan women on travelling outside their homes. With these constraints, women cannot emigrate unless they follow their husbands. There is, however, direct emigration of women from urban settings: 58.3% incontrastto 20.7% of the men of the same origin. Of Moroccan women immigrants in Catalonia, 26% come from Larraix. Only among women of Riforigin is a majority from the rural medium.7 The largest percentage of Moroccan women is found in the Barcelona area, at 41%. Male immigrants predominantly originate in areas where they are engaged in agricultural labor. There is a different pattern of migration for both the place of origin and the place of residence in Catalonia. The characteristic profile for the Moroccan immigrant is that of a young single male.

Catalonia has undergone various waves of immigrations throughout its history. Immigrants came from northern, central and southern Spain in the 1960's and 1970's. To a large extent, these economic immigrants adapted and integrated themselves into Catalan society. Integrating into Catalan society entails a certain amount of conscious effort on the part of any immigrant, as it would in any other circumstance of immigration. Immigrants to Catalonia face the challenge of ac­quiring Catalan language proficiency and culture; the lack of a wish to integrate on the part of the immigrant can lead to isolation and auto-exclusion. Spaniards who resettled in Catalonia learned the Catalan language to different degrees of fluency, but most understand spoken Catalan. Their children are schooled in Catalan and become proficient in both Catalan and Spanish by the end of secondary educa­tion. The latest influx of immigrants is made up of groups of people who do not have the same ease in adapting to Catalan society. Differences in language, cul­ture, and religion, plus the unstable job market makes integration today a much more complex process than it was thirty years ago. To this linguistic variety and its effects on adapting to Catalan society, a section is devoted later.8

Sociological Profile and Data for the Moroccan Immigrants(9)

Moroccans are the largest group among foreign 'non-EU' residents and immigrants to Catalonia. Moroccan immigration to Catalonia started in the 1960's, and increasing numbers of individuals have immigrated to Catalonia since the 1970's. The influx of Moroccan immigrants rose steadily since the mid-1980's. At the end of 1995 the number of Moroccans with residence permits was 35,368, which amounts to 35% of the total of foreign immigrants in Catalonia The Moroc­cans are the main group of immigrants in all four Catalan provinces. The bulk of them reside in Barcelona (69.5% ), and the rest are divided between Girona, the northern province (17.5%); Tarargona, the southern province (8.9%); and Lleida, the Western province (4.1%).

As to demographic characteristics, the age pyramid is concentrated on the segments with the greatest access to the job market. There is a majority between the ages of 30 and 49 (43%), and of those between 16 and 29 years (37%). The presence of a second generation is still very much reduced; only 12% of legal residents in Spain originating from Morocco are under 16 years old. Gender distribution shows that there is a clear preponderance of men in all the age groups (79% men, 21% women).

Moroccan immigration to Catalonia is made up of a majority of single male adults (8,200 between age 15 and 49), but there is an increasing number of women (1,200). There are an indeterminate number of married people whose families remain in Morocco. Family groupings include those who have been re­siding in Catalonia for one or two decades and those who are recent immigrants.

Data show that there is already a second generation of Moroccans, a considerable part of whom were born in Catalonia. This second generation has an impact on the present-day school system. In the academic year 1995-1996 there were 5,267 Moroccan pupils in the state schools: 69.3% in the primary schools and 22.4% in the pre-primary centres. Only 7.8% went on to secondary school and almost always to professional training (Formacia Professional).

Insertion into the labour market takes place in very specific sectors. The majority works in construction (35%) or in services (31%); there is another important group in agriculture (19%) and the rest in industry (14%). This general profile is modified in each of the Catalan provinces; in Lleida and Tarargona there is predominance of agricultural workers, and in Barcelona and Girona, construc­tion and services predominate.

Most Moroccan workers receive a salary from an employer. Those who are autonomous workers or are self-employed take home jobs related to the textile industry, or go around to country fairs as vendors of goods and produce. They also work in the lumber industry or in construction by sub-contracts.

As for women, there is less employment outside the home (9%) . Those who do work outside the home are usually unmarried and work as maids, in the tourism/hotel industry (21%) or in the textile industry (10%).

An overall analysis of the professional categories occupied by Moroccan immigrants demonstrates that there is a strong polarization towards the lower ech­elons of the job spectrum. Almost all of the Moroccan immigrant labor force is concentrated in unskilled jobs. These jobs are subject to strong restrictions and downturns in case of abrupt variations of the economic cycle.

The duration of work permits is an indicator of the juridical stability of Moroccan immigrants in the job market. Of Moroccan residents in Catalonia, 92% had work permits for one year, and only 8% (around 1,500 workers) were authorised to work for 5 years.10

Job stability allows immigrants to bring their families to Spain. In some families, certain members remain in Morocco. For example, eldest sons move to Spain only if there is a possibility for employment. Portions of salaries earned in Spain are sent to family members left in Morocco. These incomes are one of the most important sources of revenue for Morocco.11

Access to housing is frequently precarious for immigrants and their fami­lies. There is a difference between those who live in the city and those who live in the country. In the first case, most of the immigrants live in rented flats or stay in inexpensive hotels immediately upon arrival. Immigrants are usually housed in quarters of cities with the lowest rent costs. Racist attitudes of landlords lead to the exploitation of tenants or denial of rental. In rural areas, immigrants are fre­quently forced to live in isolated houses in the countryside provided by the employing farm. Other immigrants occupy abandoned houses or premises in squalid conditions. In some municipalities, groupings of houses and slums have already appeared. This is the case in Viladecans and Olesa de Montserrat.

The Moroccan position in the labour market threatens to paralyse them in a perpetual situation of instability and isolation. Despite the present strength of the Spanish economy, there is no easy short-term solution to the problems of racism and job and housing discrimination. Most immigrants have even fewer prospects to return to in their home countries.

Moroccans in Catalonia: Community, Identity and Religion(12)

The link between community, identity and religion is important in Muslim society. Prevalent in Catalonia is the customary Muslim importation of cultural habits and close religious observance of lslamic law. The growing presence of Muslim communities in Catalonia is becoming more and more visible and asser­tive. This new phenomenon is taking place concurrently with the secularization of Catalan society and Western society in general. Spain is an aconfessional country where religious difference is accepted. Although Catalan society remains largely Catholic in culture, the working calendar and public holidays, religion has on the whole receded to the personal and private sphere. The growing presence of de­vout Muslim communities in a modernizing society has special implications.

In November 1992, the strong presence of the Islamic community in Spain was recognised by the Chamber of Deputies with the passing of the Cooperation Agreement between the Islamic Commission in Spain and the Spanish State. Through this law, the Islamic Commission guarantees and supervises religious prac­tices, religious spaces and structural organisations related to Muslim residents in Spain. The application of the Cooperation Agreement has suffered due to internal disagreements in the Muslim community; no single religious authority has been appointed to act as its representative. There has been a lack of legal recognition and inscription of Muslim associations. This is also the case in local mosques located in rented flats or houses without adequate facilities. Problems occur in the legal and religious recognition of Moroccan imams and in the organisation of daily religious observance of the Muslim laws. For example, the preparation of food under Coranic law, the meat halal13, demands that Muslims may eat meat only from specially butchered animals. Finally, unresolved legal issues persist concern­ing the organisation of Ramadan and the religious education of the children of Muslim immigrants.

A special reference must be made to the role of mosques. Mosques are crucial to the practice of the Muslim religion and the education of children. They also function as a privileged identity nexus-locus for the larger community of be­lievers, the umma. Oratories, which serve as small community mosques, have proliferated in Catalonia. The management and spiritual guidance of the imams associated with each mosque is crucial for the maintenance of Muslim identity and religion in light of immigrant displacement from their home society. The imams speak almost exclusively Arabic14; this leads to their from the outside society, discourages their integration into the host society and limits their ability to resolve community problems in adapting to Catalan society. The evaluation of the role of the imams or their training, whether it should be the civil/religious authorities in the country of origin or that of European countries, is unresolved.

Another question concerning the immigrants' religious practices is that of spaces in the local cemeteries for Muslims. Between 1983 and 1995, 316 deaths of Moroccan citizens were certified in Barcelona. Repatriation of corpses used to be common practice, but became too costly for families. Negotiations with the local authorities are underway to allocate Muslims cemeteries so that Muslim funerary rites can be carried out accordingly.15

Trade and Muslim Religious Observance: The Halal Meat Markets in Catalonia

Religious laws and food habits are a fundamental issue in the cultural ac­culturation of Moroccan Muslims into Catalan society. Halal (licit or allowed) meat is meat sacrificed according to the Muslim law. Islamic presence in Catalo­nia has been accompanied by the ever more frequent inauguration of butcher shops run by Muslims in which halal meat is sold. Halal premises must abide by the same laws and hygiene regulations as the rest of Catalan butcher shops. In­creasing demand for halal meat by established Muslim communities has created a network of production and commercialisation for it. The proliferation of halal meat brought the first business initiatives by local Muslim communities, and the health authorities of the European countries are keen on regulating this emerging market. Substantial commercial interests are at stake in the production, distribu­tion and marketing of halal meat in the migratory context. Identity issues are central because all meat consumed in the home country is halal. Halal premises appeared in Barcelona even before many oratories did. Moroccans run the majority of halal establishments. Sensitive to this demand, Catalan slaughterhouses have taken on Muslim butchers to carry out the ritual and satisfy demand. There are no reports so far of animal rights activists in Catalonia opposed to this prac­tice. The market in halal meat in Ciutat Vella de Barcelona, where most halal butchers are concentrated, is already showing signs of saturation. Some shops have gone out of business. Many halal butchers have expanded into grocery stores where many other products are sold until late at night, making them attrac­tive to non-Muslim markets. In the period of Ramadan and in the id al-kabir, or Feast of the Lamb, sales increase substantially.

The Role of Cultural and Religious Associations

There is an alleged lack of organisation in cultural and religious Moroccan associations. The lack of civil society in Morocco has been blamed for this.16 Local administrations and the Generalitat have problems finding a valid interlocu­tor for the discussions of issues between the two communities. In spite of this, seventy-eight cultural associations exist in Catalonia, as shown by the Register of Associations of the Justice Ministry of the Generalitat updated July 20, 1998.17

To take two short examples of what these associations do, the sociocul­tural Association, "Ibn Batuta," was founded in 1994 by immigrants of Moroccan origin to guide their fellow countrymen in their difficult adaptation to immigration. The association now has 2,000 official members and serves 4,000. Most mem­bers are Moroccans, but there are also Algerians, Tunisians, Gambians and Sen­egalese. Sixty percent of the members are less than thirty years old. The associa­tion inaugurated new premises in the Raval quarter, one of the Arab barris of Barcelona18, in January 2000. It offers classes in Catalan, Spanish and Arabic after school and working hours. It also provides juridical counseling, information about job opportunities, help for women immigrants, and tutoring for school chil­dren. It also organizes outside sports tournaments. The new building contains a small room for prayer and a kitchen. Plans for future development include a li­brary. The association also provides religious guidance and education for home­less Moroccan "street children."19 The President of the association, Mohamid Caibsays:

The first generation of immigrants have no problems of identity. They want to have rights to housing and legal immigration documentation. They do not relate much to Catalan society. The second generation, however, has an identity problem.20

Another association is the Centre Abdelkrim21, named after the Rifleader that symboljsed the anti-French and Spanish colonial fight of the Moroccans in the early 1900's. This association organizes cultural activities and university exchanges between Catalan, Moroccan and Egyptian Universities, most of them for Catalan students with an interest in North Africa. A great many of the members are politi­cal exiles and refugees that escaped from political repression by King Hassan II. The president of the association, Soliman El Morabet, took refuge in Barcelona in 1975 where he studied and graduated in economics.

The Project of a Great Mosque in Barcelona

The Great Mosque of Barcelona has been one of the most important recent issues for the Muslim community in Catalonia. After the proliferation of ad hoc mosques and oratories for prayer in apartments, garages or cellars which do not have appropriate facilities to accommodate large numbers of people, a great Mosque commensurate with the Muslim presence in Catalonia now seems a cer­tainty in Barcelona, as in other European capitals. Negotiations, albeit at an em­bryonic stage22, have been opened in Barcelona between the Generalitat and its Catalan Institut for the Mediterranean and the Barcelona municipality with a rep­resentative of the Saudi Embassy. King Fahd and Saudi Arabia are advocates of the enterprise and will give the economic support with no outstanding budget constraints. The Catalan Islamic Federation is, however, against a Saudi contri­bution to the Mosque in fear of a monopoly and does not accept the Saudi representative as the only interlocutor. The two directors oft he previously men­tioned Muslim associations oppose Saudi control of the funding. The public ad­ministration's position is to support a Mosque together with a multicultural center to be used by both societies in order to bridge the gap between Catalan and Muslim communities. The model of the Arab Institute of Paris has been rejected. The question of whether the Barcelona municipality will grant or facilitate a build­ing site (of between 12,000 and 20,000 square meters) is still unresolved. The Mosque would have a capacity of 50,000, and would serve Moroccans who work in Barcelona and the surrounding area. It has been suggested that the sur­rounding area of the Mosque be devoted to a Muslim cemetery.

Building a mosque serves the aim of preparing Barcelona for the Forum of Cultures 2004, a cultural and political project for which it is crucial to have tem­ples of the four principle religions of the world (Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Buddhism). The reaction of the Catholic Church to the construction plan has been prompt, reactive and negative. The archbishop of Barcelona, Ricard Maria Carles states, "It would be elemental that for each mosque which is opened in Spain, France or Germany, a Catholic centre could be opened in Muslim nations, where it is totally forbidden. The situation is not balanced and should be reciprocal."23 Letters to the editor of La Vanguardia have also shown opposition to the Mosque.

Public Policies for Immigration: The Interdepartmental Immigration Plan of the Generalitat de Catalunya.

Past policies of the administration addressed the problems and disloca­tion of the immigrant population at all levels of society.24 Visas, work permits and border control fall under the jurisdiction of Madrid authorities. Once inside Cata­lonia, most of the social, educational and health services are run by the Generalitat.

On the 28th of September of 1993, the Generalitat approved the Interde­partmental Immigration Plan (PII). The approval of the plan entailed the beginning of a coordinated global policy for the promotion of the integration of foreign immi­grants in Catalonia.

The PII has the following goals:

• Promoting a global policy of integration for immigrants.

• Establishing and carrying out a series of projects for resources and services aimed at the full personal and social development of immigrants.

• Promoting the participation of immigrants in the national construction of Cata­lonia, taking into account their contribution to the national and local identity and the collective heritage therein.

• Promoting information and awareness about immigration in Catalonia among the general population and professionals.

The PII distinguishes between:

• an assimilation position in which the unity of the national community of the country of reception is exclusive and denies any differences within from those coming from outside

• a segregation model in which there are differences and inequalities in rights and opportunities of certain members of collectives in respect to others25

• an intercultural model of immigration integration which includes a more active concept of interaction, interconnection, exchange of cultures and the balance of rights and duties between the local population and the immigrant contingent.

This last model is the one Catalonia desires in relation to the growing immigra­tion population. This integration model finds a point of balance between the endogenous and exogenous attitudes of the reception society. If a society is too endogenous it rolls back on itself and does not open up to external influences. If a society is too exogenous and porous, the local population may feel that its soci­ety's characteristics and personality are threatened.

The model of integration intended by the Generalitat escapes the two ex­tremes; Catalan identity is to be preserved and strengthened while accepting inter­action with other cultural expressions as a form of enrichment, and therefore, respecting the sociocultural rights of the immigrant. This model of integration is also contrary to attitudes that would reject or marginalize the most underprivileged sectors of immigration. In a framework of respect for differences, it is intended that immigration policy lays emphasis on an equality of rights and obligations. To accept difference, it is necessary to understand the realities and background from which the immigrants come, as conceived in the PII.

Catalan, Spanish, Arabic and Berber: A Linguistic Model of lntegration

Catalan is the ''vehicular'' language of the education system and the instru­ment for achieving linguistic and cultural immersion in Catalan society and culture. The aim of secondary education is that all students are perfectly proficient in Catalan and Spanish, and this aim is largely achieved.

As shown above, the majority of Moroccan immigrants comes from Berber-speaking areas.26 Following Ouakrim' s study, it can be stated that Berber is mainly a spoken language, not written, although it has an old alphabet. A sub­stantial part of the Moroccan population is not proficient in Arabic, even though it is one of the official languages of Morocco. Berbers from rural areas are schooled in Arabic or French, never in Berber. A movement of linguistic and ethnic recovery to grant prestige to Berber is underway in the Berber regions of Morocco.

Many Moroccan immigrants in Catalonia speak the Berber language. This is reflected in the language they speak to their children. Ouakrim' s study case of schools in Ciutat Vella de Barcelona shows that the cross-fertilisation between the four languages depends on the origin of the families and the degree of integra­tion of the children. The study was done on the basis of 94 children; 64 had been born in Morocco and 29 in Catalonia. In the case of the schoolchildren of Ciutat Vella, the arabophones among the parents of the children predominated 2-to-1. This can be explained by the fact that Berbers may become arabophones through schooling, choice or change of previous residence in Morocco. The schoolchil­dren in the study showed a clear preference in almost all cases for Spanish; 84% prefer it for oral communication because they see it as the language predominating in the environment of Ciutat Vella because of new or former Spanish immigration there. They also perceive that Spanish is the language promoting their integration in the quarter. They are not hostile to learning Catalan, though, because they are aware of its importance at school (71% express their desire to receive the classes in both Catalan and Spanish). As to the choice between Arabic and Berber they prefer by far Arabic (66% as against 26%).

The study concludes that Spanish occupies a central role in the socialisation of the children of Moroccan origin. This is explained by the sociolinguistic situation in Ciutat Vella; this cannot necessarily be extrapolated to other towns or villages where concentrations of Moroccans of mainly Berber language occur. Teaching the mother tongue, Arabic or Berber, to children would allow them to maintain their culture of origin and communicate with their parents. In fact, Ouakrim com­plains that the Moroccan consulate is not promoting this idea well enough. In addition, the children's knowledge of Spanish or Catalan and the ability to learn quickly gives them a privileged position in their family if the parents still have an imperfect mastery of the language; children serve an important function as transla­tors and intermediaries between their parents and Catalan society.

There is a different predominance of Catalan and Berber in other areas of Catalonia outside Barcelona. For example, an attempt by the Moroccan consu­late to carry out Arabic lessons ended in failure in the Osona school. The teacher sent by the Consulate spoke Arabic and Spanish, whereas the Moroccan children understood and spoke Catalan and Berber,27 and thus no communication could occur between them.

The issue whether the Generalitat should try to maintain the language and the culture of origin is controversial. In January 2000, the Education department began introducing Islamic Culture in the Catalan schools as required. At present there are 7,422 schoolchildren from the Maghreb. Arabic language classes had been in past years on offer with little success.28 The Education department has published an Arabic-Catalan dictionary, of which 445 copies have been distrib­uted in associations and government offices frequented by Muslim immigrants. A visual Arab-Catalan dictionary has been published for schoolchildren, and 2000 copies have been distributed.29

One of the harshest critics of this policy of Arabization of the Moroccans in Catalonia carried out in the schools is by Alfons Quinta, a journalist and law­yer. He accuses the Generalitat of a lack of historical consciousness by contrib­uting to the persecution and oppression of the Berber language and culture with the policy of only promoting the Arabic language. He also condemns the align­ment of the Generalitat with the official policies of the Moroccan Consulate. If two-thirds of Moroccans and 40% of Algerians, according to the data he gives, are Amazigh, commonly known as Berbers, and if of the alleged 80,000 Maghrebians in Catalonia 65,000 are Imazighen, how can the Generalitat deny this reality? If Catalans had to suffer the persecution of their own language, how can they forget this so easily and help in the stamping out of another valuable language and culture? Quinta points out that in Holland, Belgium and Germany the schoolchildren of Moroccan origin can receive complementary tuition in the Berber language. That is the model to follow and not the imposition of an imagined Arabic standard alien to their culture (sic).

The biggest problem the Generalitat faces, however, as regards its policy of schooling Moroccan and Maghrebian children, is that of segregation. Ghettos already exist in some quarters, and some parents of Catalan schoolchildren with­draw their children from school because they feel the presence of Moroccan chil­dren detract from the quality of teaching. Also the Moroccan children are thought to be a bad influence on their children. Some Muslim parents, moreover, do not permit their daughters to have physical training in the school as one of their sub­jects.31

The question of Catalan nationalism and immigration is also commented on by Salvador Cardus, a sociologist and well-known Catalan nationalist. He raises concerns that the Generali tat will not have the sufficient resources and political will to "Catalanize" the growing number of immigrants.32 In no way should immigrants contribute to a Spanish reappropriation of Catalonia. Cardus recalls that with the help of the Francoist regime exclusively supporting Castilian, many Spanish-speaking immigrants of the 1960-70 period only weakly integrated into Catalan culture and society. Many never learned Catalan and do not speak it to date. It is imperative for the survival of Catalonian immigrants be brought into Catalan culture, and the Catalan language is again the key to integration. The policy of the Generalitat tends in this direction, in spite of the current fact that many immigrants in Barcelona do not speak Catalan.

Relative Success and Racist Incidents in Tcrrassa, July 1999

Despite the fact that information campaigns have been addressed to the local population in order to address issues concerning immigration, some racist incidents against Maghrebians have recently taken place in Catalonia. These inci­dents have attracted much public attention and concern. The PU had already been aware of potential for conflict.

Some data from the PII report was found to represent obstacles to the inter-cultural model espoused by the Generalitat; for example, 29% of the citizens of Barcelona would not set up a business with Maghrebians, and 18% would not like to have Muslim neighbours. Negative attitudes against Arabs are to be found mainly in working classes which compete for the same scarce resources as the immigrants, or when foreign workers demand equal rights with the autochthonous Catalans. Approximately half of Moroccans in Catalonia (48.1%) declare having experienced discrimination.33

In July 1999, violent incidents broke out in the Catalan city of Terrassa (there are 3000 Muslims in Terrassa, ofwhich2220 are Moroccan), in the quar­ter of Ca'n Anglada. The incident seems to have started at the exit of a disco and resulted in several days of aggressions against Maghrebians, their shops and mosques.34 The concentration of Maghrebians in Ca'n Anglada (1 in 5 residents is Maghrebian), the poor living conditions, deficient schooling, and drug problems seem to have exacerbated the problem.35

The reaction from Muslim associations to the problems of violence and integration has been varied. The Muslim congress held in Terrassa in November 1999, pointed out that despite racist incidents, Spain is a pioneer in opening up to other cultures. The explanation given for the outburst of violence was some extra­neous contagion coming from other sources.36 The congress reminded the public that the Islamic community wants to participate in the Catalan and Spanish com­munity but that it also wants to preserve its own identity.

Many comments on the outbursts of violence and the problems of integra­tion come from Soliman El Morabet, the president of the Abdelkrim centre. He sees the incidents in Terrassa as the first of a series that will grow progressively worse unless tough measures are taken by the administration. The incidents in Terrassahad been predicted two years ago by Moroccans, but neither the Terrassa municipality nor the Generalitat reacted at that time.

There is no political will to solve these problems. I am critical of all the political parties and the politicians. They put aside the problems of a people that do not interest them because they don 't have a vote. The immigrants are only defended when problems break out and there are TV cameras. The immigrants have so many limitations and shortages that only by public help they will manage to come forward. The majority of Maghrebians have a total lack of knowledge of local customs, habits and laws. We have to teach them our cultural rules before demanding that they abide by them. In Terrassa there were never problems with the first immigrants. The problem now is their children; having been born and raised here they feel they are Catalan but they do not find success and do not integrate. Why if l am Catalan - even though my name is Said or Mohamed - I don't have the same opportunities? In isolated cases vio­lence can be a way of rebelling against frustration and marginalization.37

In addition, the writer Tahar Ben Jelloun asserts that

"the Spaniards have not been prepared to receive foreign workers. Given Spanish colonial links with Morocco and the problem of Ceuta and Melilla, a great lack of understanding and mistrust takes place. And curiously enough Moroccans love Spaniards and Spain. Spain easily closes its eyes to its past, that of a country of emigrants. Spain is not a racist society but it has racist elements.38

Conclusions: Second-Generation Moroccans or Catalans of Muslim Origin?

The presence of immigrants from the Maghreb, mainly from Morocco, has become an ever stronger reality in Spanish and Catalan society. Without con­stituting an avalanche of immigrants, there is a constant flow of immigrants pouring into Catalonia from Morocco. Moroccans are already the biggest group among foreign workers living in Catalonia. Immigrants, in spite of job market instability, have been gaining self-confidence, organised themselves into associations, brought over their families and chosen Catalonia as their land of residence and work. If they once were unnoticed by mainstream Catalan society, now the Moroccan and Muslim presence is expressed through shops of halal meat, mosques, and claim­ing public space for religious celebrations. If this development continues, new forms of Muslim culture may come about with a specific Catalan brand.

Cooperation agreements between the Spanish state and Muslim federations and between the Spanish state and the Moroccan kingdom remain undevelopped. An application of these cooperation agreements could enhance the legal status and organizational life of the Moroccan and Muslim communities in Catalonia.

There is still, however, a considerable lack of coordination within Muslim associations and a division of leadership. The future construction of a Great Mosque in Barcelona could either help pull efforts together or bring about more dissension, depending on whether this venture goes ahead exclusively under the management of Saudi capital and influence.

The Catalan model of immigration is one based on the intercultural model of active interaction between the receiving and the immigrant community. This interaction is, however, contingent on the acceptance of the Catalan language as necessary for the acquisition of Catalan identity and the existence of Catalonia. Considerable efforts are made by the public administration to favour integration of immigrants through the Catalan language as a means of gaining social and profes­sional promotion. The immigration interdepartmental plan and schooling in the Catalan state schools, where Catalan is the dominant language are the tools through which second generation Moroccans can become Catalan citizens of Muslim ori­gin. It is the sociolinguistic reality, however, that in many quarters of Barcelona, Spanish is the dominant language of socialization. It is questionable to teach Arabic to the Moroccan pupils as a way of recovering their parents' culture and identity when many of them come from Berber regions.

Racist incidents have taken place in 1999, breaking the harmony of a relatively peaceful cohabitation between the two communities. More forceful ac­tion has to be carried out by the public administration in all areas of social policy and awareness raising so that these unfortunate actions may not happen again in the future.

Immigrant integration in Catalan society will only happen smoothly and completely when Catalan society recognises that the continuous presence of new Catalans of Muslim and Moroccan origin is a valuable contribution to its cultural and political identity. The new citizens must be recognized and given full rights and duties as whole participants in society. It seems likely that socialization dynamics in schools will turn the children of Moroccan parents and those already born on Catalonian soil into full members of Catalan society, once they become bilingual in Catalan and Spanish.


In January and February 2000, violent and racist incidents against Mo­roccan laborers took place in Southern Spain. The events in "El Ejido," Almeria, Andalucia captured the attention of Europe and brought shame to the Spanish population. These were incidents of an unprecedented violent nature in Spain. The incidents seem to have started after the death of a local girl allegedly at the hands of a Moroccan. Locals then exacted revenge hands against Moroccans at large. Three days of attacks occurred which brought about havoc in the planta­tions where the laborers worked, damaged their property, and promoted violence between Spaniards and immigrants. Strikes and fear ensued. Negotiations and intervention by the police and government brought about peace to the area after a week. Large-scale investment in housing and infrastructure is now going to be undertaken in the area.39

These incidents show how sensitive the immigration issue may become in Spain in the future. It remains to be seen how the absolute majority won by the Popular Party (Center-Right Party) of Premier Jose Maria Aznar on March 12, 2000 will treat the subject of immigration and whether or not they will be able to avoid future incidents of the same nature. Already, laws (Ley de Extranjeria) are on the table, which would make penalties for illegal immigration attempts more severe, as desired by the Popular Party.