US travel ban rekindle fears of xenophobia and racism in Spain

World Today

SOS racismo

Organizations in Spain warns the U.S. travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries policy will alienate Muslims and could be counter-productive playing into the hands of ISIL recruiters. CGTN’s Dan Williams has the story from Madrid.

Follow Dan Williams on Twitter @Danielclearcut

US travel ban rekindle fears of xenophobia and racism in Spain

US travel ban rekindle fears of xenophobia and racism in Spain

Organizations in Spain warns the Trumps travel ban will alienate Muslims and could play into the hands of ISIL recruiters.
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Madrid is a city that knows all too well the pain and suffering of terrorism. In 2004, nearly 200 people were killed during a coordinated bomb attack on the city’s commuter train system.

It prompted the Club de Madrid, a group that consists of former world leaders, to focus on the causes of radicalization. They note the recent rise in anti-Muslim statements and warn that policies by western leaders, including the U.S. travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries could inadvertently help extremists.

The Lavapies area in central Madrid is known for its ethnic diversity. But some organizations here say the area has seen an increase in racist and xenophobic attacks.

The association SOS Racismo offers legal advice to minority groups and records incidents of racism. Dana Garcia of the group says they’ve seen an increase in attacks.

“We’ve seen an increase in cases of racist aggression in the streets, against women in veils, racism on public transport, against men at places of work in public places,” she said. “What Donald Trump says has repurcussions here in Spain and in the wider European political discourse.”

But there are some groups here looking to change that story. Pedro Rojo runs a foundation, Al Fanar Foundation for Arab Knowledge, that translates Arabic text into Spanish. It hopes to present an alternative Muslim narrative.

“We have to work very fast because every attack, every terrorist attack it makes that gap between the Muslim community and the rest of the country bigger,” Rojo said.

That growing polarization is a concern not just in Spain but across the globe.