ISLAM and MUSLIMS IN ANDORRA
Principality of Andorra
174 sq mi (451 sq km)
Population (2008 est.):
Capital and largest city
(2003 est.): Andorra la Vella, 23,000
Catalán (official), French, Castilian, Portuguese
Spanish 43%, Andorran 33%, Portuguese 11%, French 7%, other 6% (1998)
Roman Catholic (predominant)
Our Lady of Meritxell Day, September 8
GDP/PPP (2005): $2.77 billion; per capita $38,800. Real growth rate:
4%. Inflation: 3.5%
Andorra is nestled high in the Pyrénées
Mountains on the French-Spanish border.
A parliamentary coprincipality composed of the
bishop of Urgel (Spain) and the president of France. Their representatives are
listed above. The principality was internationally recognized as a sovereign
state in 1993.
An autonomous and semi-independent
coprincipality, Andorra has been under the joint suzerainty of the French state
and the Spanish bishops of Urgel since 1278. It maintains closer ties to Spain,
however, and Catalán is its official language. In the late 20th century, Andorra
became a popular tourist and winter sports destination and a wealthy
international commercial center because of its banking facilities, low taxes,
and lack of customs duties. In 1990 Andorra approved a customs union treaty with
the EU permitting free movement of industrial goods between the two, but with
Andorra applying the EU's external tariffs to third countries. Andorra became a
member of the UN in 1993 and a member of the Council of Europe in 1994. In 2002,
Andorra shut down an incinerator that was emitting 1,000 times the dioxin levels
permitted by the EU.
Islamic History and Muslims
According to the US Religious Freedom Report of 2006 there are
about 2000 North Africans (Moroccan Arabs (456), Indo-Pakistanis (79) )currently
living in Andorra and they are the largest Muslim group in the country.
The Muslim community has an Islamic Cultural Center which provides about 50
students with Arabic lessons. The government and the Muslim community have not
yet agreed on a system which would enable the schools to give such lessons.
There is no specifically built mosque in Andorra and the government refuses to
allocate land for such a project, saying there are not enough low-priced lands.
In 2003 the local imam, Mohamed Raguig, turned Bishop Joan Martí Alanis asking
for either land from the Church in order to build a mosque or for space inside a
church to be used as a mosque.
At around 700, the Muslims conquered the area from the Visigoths, through the
Segre valley. The Muslims did not really stay in Andorra, rather using it as a
shortcut to get to Toulouse, Narbonne, Carcassone and Nimes.
The Battle of Poitiers and the Battle of Roncesvalles marked the end of those
expeditions to the other part of the Pyrenees.
According to Antoni Filter i Rossell in his history book the Manual Digest
(1748), in 788, 5000 Andorrans, led by Marc Almugàver came to Charlemagne's
assistance in the Vall de Carol in fighting the Muslims. After the battle,
Charlemagne gave his protection to Andorra and declared them as a sovereign
Muslims in andorra ask for Bishop help to build mosque
Regional-Andorra, Religion, 4/29/2003
The Muslim community of Andorra, comprising Moroccans mostly, is projecting to
ask for the help of Bishop Loan Marti Alanis, in his capacity as co-prince of
Andorra, to build a mosque in this tiny state, nestled on the roof of the
Pyrenees mountains, between Spain and France.
According to Spanish news agency "EFE," the local Imam, Mohamed Raguig, has
decided to ask the Spanish bishop to grant the Muslim community a land plot
belonging to the church or a space inside the church.
The Andorran government has refused to allocate a land plot for the mosque
construction, citing as reasons the insufficiency of low-price lands.
This would not be the first time that a church would be transformed into a
mosque or that Muslims would be performing their prayers in a space inside a
church. The experience already exists in Paris.
Muslims are now praying in a space that has become too narrow for prayers and
Islamic Centers and Organizations
Associaciò centre cultural ISLÁMIC, Andorra La Vella, Escaldes
Sociocultural AVERROES, Andorra La Vella, إمارة أندورا-Princi
Muslim Owned Business
Islam in Andorra (
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in_Andorra , October, 2008).
Info please (
http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0107276.html October, 2008).
Islam Finder (
Anonymous, Documents from Representatives of Islamic Organizations in Andorra,