Bishops draw criticism for dodging survey on Muslims
Only 1 out of 90 bishops responded to the survey asking about reactions to Muslims in different Catholic dioceses.15 April 2008
MADRID - Spanish bishops have refused to respond to a survey about Muslim immigration, leading some critics to claim they are turning their backs on inter-religious relations despite the growing prominence of Islam in Spanish society.
"We feel sad at this silence that we do not understand and which hurts us as Christians," noted Emilio Galindo Aguilar, the head of the Centre for Hispano-Arabic and Islamic-Christian Research, which attempted to conduct the poll.
The surveys asking about reactions to Muslims in different Catholic dioceses were sent out to 90 bishops. The organisation received a response from just one.
"Why the silence?" asked Galindo. "Is this not an important question in a world where cultures and religions live together and are obliged to understand each other?"
Isabel Gomez Acebo, a theology professor at the Pontific University of Comillas, said the bishops' lack of response shows that for them "Muslims do not exist," adding: "[The bishops] do not believe in dialogue or in praying together to the same God," she said.
There are currently 1.5 million Muslims in Spain, one million more than 10 years ago.
[El Pais / Juan G. Bedoya / Expatica]