STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
A SPECIAL division of the Guardia Civil has been allocated the task of keeping a watch on the fifty or more mosques that have been built on Majorca, four of them in Palma.

The object of the exercise is to maintain vigilance over any type of activity related to Islamic terrorism. It is possible that after last Tuesday's sentencing of the perpetrators of the atrocities of the 11th March in 2004 when Al-Qaeda supporters placed bombs on crowded trains heading for Madrid's Atosha train station during rush hour, extra attention may be necessary.

Leaders of Muslim Association on Majorca had already criticised the decision taken in 2004 by the then Minister for the Interior, José Antonio Alonso to impose a police watch on mosques so that advantage was not taken by would-be terrorists of Spain's constitutional right to religious freedom.

The country's High Court said last Wednesday that the atrocities of 11th March 2004 were the work of “cells, or groups of terrorists who adhered to extreme Islamic doctrine,” but the Prosecution lacked sufficient evidence to point a finger at any specific individual(s) to say they were without doubt the intellectual author(s) of the massacre.

The court decision absolved seven of the accused (another was dismissed during the hearing) and condemned another six with sentences far less severe than those sought by the Prosecution. Only two of the accused, Jamal Zougam and Otman El Gnaoui were considered to be responsible for the operational side of the bombing. The judges' decision could reportedly have triggered a nationwide alert on mosque activity across the country including the region of Majorca. Since 2006, Palma has hosted the first Islamic centre in the Balearics called “Attauhid” which operates as a centre of Islamic learning and Muslim culture. The facility exists for those who are already followers of Islam and for those who want to know more about its history and traditions. The centre, located in a building on Camí de Son Gotleu, comprises more than 400 square metres divided onto two floors housing a mosque and study halls. It is visited by the highest concentration of Muslim followers on the Island who recently celebrated the end of Ramadan.

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