Posted on September 16, 2004

Row As Muslim Prisoners Take On Governors

Expatica, Sep. 9

MADRID — A group of 110 Muslim fundamentalists are imposing their religious customs in a Spanish prison and their calls to prayer have led to protests from other prisoners, it was reported Thursday.

The Spanish daily El Mundo reported that in Topas prison, near the eastern city of Salamanca, guards claimed Muslim inmates had converted a lecture theatre into a mosque.

The officials said other prisoners avoided the area for fear of reprisals following the complaints by other inmates, who say they are disturbed by five daily muezzin calls to prayer, including just before midnight and six o’clock in the morning.

According to the report, prison guards have asked the group to try to keep the noise down.

Of 1,512 inmates, 806 are non-Spaniards, though their nationalities were not revealed in El Mundo’s report.

The friction between the Muslims and remaining prisoners has, the paper added, forced prison authorities to separate them into different groups.

One of those held at the jail is Moroccan Khalid Oulad Akcha, the brother of two of the seven members of a group suspected of carrying out the 11 March bombings in Madrid and who blew themselves up on 3 April during a police raid.

Khalid Oulad Akcha was questioned over the 11 March attacks but judged to have had no connection to Spain’s worst terror attack.

He is serving time for robbery and grievous bodily harm.