In Barcelona, a heartening rejection of Islamophobia

Source: The Washington Post

 August 20 at 4:09 PM

 In the aftermath of Europe’s latest terrorist attack , a set of familiar tensions clouded this sunny, vibrant city Sunday .

Some here insist that Barcelona is a state of mind, a nonstop celebration of the good life where anyone is welcome and anything goes. But then came the almost predictable events of last week. In a scheme that resembled recent assaults in Paris and Brussels, a group of young, local Moroccan Muslim men — some of whom spoke Spanish and Catalan better than Arabic — staged Spain’s deadliest attack in more than a decade. The Islamic State later claimed responsibility for their actions.

Suddenly, Barcelona — and the surrounding region of Catalonia — is being put to a test that has faced not just Paris and Brussels, but also Nice, Berlin, Stockholm and London in the past two years. At stake is the place of the region’s Muslim community, the largest in Spain.

For now, Barcelona seems to be responding differently than its neighbors, whose reactions to similar violence were often marked by a fierce anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiment that, in some cases, even translated into political traction. With the rise of the once-obscure Marine Le Pen, for instance, some saw the French elections in May as a referendum on Muslims in France. The migration issue also looms large in Germany’s elections, slated for next month.

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