IBIZA CENTRAL Government Delegate in the Balearics, Ramon Socias, said yesterday that Muslims must abide by Spanish law when they are living in Spain. His comments came following the arrest of a Muslim religious leader in Sant Antoni de Portmany on Ibiza for allegedly having hit 12 children. The Imam was later released.

Socias said that the case, which is now in the hands of the judiciary, had come to light after several teachers at an Islamic school in Sant Antoni de Portmany had detected signs of physical abuse on the children and reported them to the Guardia Civil. An investigation was opened which led to the arrest of the Imam and of a teacher at the Islamic school. After questioning, the detainees were released.

Socias said that there are various beliefs and practices which fail to respect human rights. He said though that it must be the judge who determines the guilt or innocence of the Imam. For the moment, said Socias, the Imam is continuing his work at the local mosque, awaiting the outcome of a judgment which may “force him to change his behaviour.” Allegations are that the Imam hit the children with a stick whilst they were studying the Koran, but he apparently told the Guardia Civil that he only used his stick to hit the ground or blackboard to call attention.

He denied hitting the children.