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KHALIL Mzouri, chairman of Al Maghreb, the Moroccan Immigrants' Association in the Balearics, has spoken publicly of the need to create a “better climate of understanding” in order to overcome the possible outbreak of racism in the Balearics. Mzouri's comments follow in the wake of the atrocities witnessed in Madrid on Thursday of last week when more than 200 people died as a result of indiscriminate terrorist bombing. He reminded politicians and the media of the role they have to play in avoiding a backlash against the 15'000 to 20'000 peace-loving Muslims already living on the Islands. Mzouri pointed out that the Press and politicians are already “partly to blame” for the criminalisation of the Moroccan population in the Balearics.
He claimed that they (the media) have promoted the automatic relationship between immigration and delinquency, leaving the majority of inhabitants “greatly confused” about the truth of the situation. The Al Maghreb president attributed this confusion to the fact that Spain has been at the receiving end of a vast influx of immigrants over the last 15 years. “Spain was not ready for this”, he pointed out. He made reference to a number of “anti-immigrant” graffiti which have appeared in the last few days, demanding vengeance for the atrocities in Madrid. Although he dismissed these as being mostly the “childish scrawlings” of a few isolated groups, he gave prominence to a “dormant tendency” in many people on the Islands to attribute the blame for many social ills to immigrant populations. “It is important not to confuse race with ideology, nor use immigrants as a scapegoat whenever there is a crisis” signalled Mzouri, who drew sharp attention to the fact that there were Moroccan victims in the Madrid bombings, as well as those which took place in Casablanca. The president declared his hope that the new Socialist government will “throw a more favourable light” on immigrant integration and that it will introduce changes to support their integration.