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Lecture | LUCIS What's New?! Series

The Processes of Conversion to Islam in Contemporary Spain: From the Betrayal of Spain to Community Insertion

Thursday 10 March 2022
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What's New?! Spring Lecture Series 2022
The Alhambra in Granada, Spain

Due to unforeseen circumstances this lecture will only take place online.

The presence of Muslims in Spain dates back to the end of the 1960s when, as a result of the promulgation of the Religious Freedom Law of 1967, the first Islamic communities began to register in the Registry. This law, together with the subsequent Organic Law on Religious Freedom of 1980 and the Constitution of 1978 where the State declares itself to be non-denominational, as well as non-discrimination on religious grounds, paved the way for religious pluralism in Spain.

It is from the 1980s, in the case of Islam, that it will be characterized by the gradual increase of Muslims, both Spanish and immigrants. It is also from the decade when the first Islamic communities registered as religious entities were created. It was at this moment that the Muslims went to fight for the recognition of Islam as a religion with “notorious roots” and in 1992 they succeeded in signing the Cooperation Agreement between the Islamic Commission of Spain and the Spanish State.

An important role was played in this process by a generation of new Muslims - "converts" who had embraced Islam during the first years of the democratic transition, developing an original associative fabric with specific characteristics. Thirty years later, conversion processes continue to take place. The question at the present time is whether there are converts who develop their lives as Muslims outside these associations, or whether they are part of another type of political, trade union or civic association. The material used to answer these questions comes from a series of interviews conducted between 2019 and 2021 within the framework of a broader doctoral research on the processes of conversion to Islam and the experience of Spanish converts as new Muslims.

About Laila Taouati

Researcher at the Department of Arab and Islamic Studies, Autonomous University of Madrid. Researcher at the International Mediterranean Studies Workshop (TEIM). She has a degree in African and Asian Studies: Arabic, Chinese and Japanese from the Autonomous University of Madrid and a Master’s degree in Intercultural Communication, Interpretation and Translation in Public Services from Alcalá de Henares. Her line of research revolves around the processes of conversion to Islam in contemporary Spain. She currently participates as a researcher in the transfer project 'Citizenship, Youth and Islam led by the UAM Foundation and the Pluralism and Coexistence Foundation.

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