A few weeks ago, I attended the Critical Muslim Studies summer school in Granada, Spain. One of the speakers, Fatima Hamed Hossain, a lawyer, spoke to us about the social and political participation of Muslim women in Spain.
There are about one million Muslims who currently reside in Spain, with an estimated number of about 50,000 converts, and the rest being mostly of Moroccan, Syrian, Lebanese and South Asian origins. Immigration and growing rates of conversion of Spaniards from the late 1970s are the two biggest factors for the growth of Islam in Spain.
Fatima Hamed Hossain was born in Ceuta, and was trained as a lawyer. She currently practises as a civil and commercial mediator. In 2006 she joined the political party Democratic Union of Ceuta (UDCE) because she wanted to help marginalized groups, having grown up in a marginalized neighbourhood of Ceuta herself, and also because it was symbolically important:
“I have to say that for me it was a challenge, and I felt that despite all the difficulties and criticism it was necessary; it was about time to involve Muslim women in politics.”