ISLAM and MUSLIMS IN ANDORRA

      

General Information

Principality of Andorra

National name: Principat d'Andorra

Total area: 174 sq mi (451 sq km)

Population (2008 est.): 72,413

Capital and largest city (2003 est.): Andorra la Vella, 23,000

Monetary units: Euro

Languages: Catalán (official), French, Castilian, Portuguese

Ethnicity/race: Spanish 43%, Andorran 33%, Portuguese 11%, French 7%, other 6% (1998)

Religion: Roman Catholic (predominant)

National Holiday: Our Lady of Meritxell Day, September 8

Literacy rate: 100%

Economic summary: 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.

Institutions
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.


History
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 people.
 

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 cultural activities.

http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/030429/2003042930.html

  Islamic Centers and Organizations

Associaciò centre cultural ISLÁMIC, Andorra La Vella, Escaldes
Phone: 00376-865187
Associacio Sociocultural AVERROES, Andorra La Vella, إمارة أندورا-Princi
Phone: 00376357277

   Muslim Owned Business

References
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 ( http://www.islamicfinder.org/cityPrayerNew.php?country=andorra   , October, 2008).
Anonymous, Documents from Representatives of Islamic Organizations in Andorra, October 2008.