Spanish Muslims launched Saturday, October 26, an independent, self-regulatory body to train imams in the southern European country. “The Islamic Union of Imams and Preachers in Spain is the fruit of strenuous efforts of Muslim imams over the past years,” chairman Sheikh Alaa Said told IslamOnline.net. The new body will be entrusted with training imams and preachers across the country. “The growing Muslim community in Spain required the launch of an official Islamic body to unify efforts of imams and preachers nationwide,” said Said. The umbrella body will have three specialized committees on fatwa, research and training.“It seeks to upgrade the level of all those working in the field of Da`wa in Spain,” he said. The Union was approved by the Spanish Interior Ministry last May. “At first we encountered some obstacles with the Justice Ministry to register the Union,” said Said. “But we later moved to the Interior Ministry to get the official approval after presenting the necessary papers to launch the body.” A dignitary of Spanish officials and nearly 70 imams and preachers from across Spain took up in the launch of the Muslim Union. Leading among attendees were Josep Maria Felipe, the general director of the immigration of the Valencian government, Sheikh Hussein Halawa, chairman of the European Council for Fatwa and Research and Sheikh Wanis Al-Mabrook, the head of the European Assembly of Muslim Imams and Spiritual Guides.
Alaa Said, the head of the new training body, has attended at least one conference of the Liga Islamica Por El Dialogo Y Convivencia where he was identified as affiliated with Al-Azhar in Egypt. The Liga, in turn, is the Spanish member of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE), identified in a Hudson institute report as the umbrella organizations for the European Muslim Brotherhood. Also, both the European Council for Fatwa and Research and the European Assembly of Muslim Imams and Spiritual Guides are FIOE member organizations.