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Spain's Escalating Mosque Wars
by Soeren Kern
Police in Spain have forcibly removed Muslim activists from an illegal mosque in a small town in Catalonia, an autonomous region in northeastern Spain that is home to the largest Muslim population in the country.
The eviction ends -- for now, anyway -- a highly public one-year standoff in which Muslim immigrants in the Catalan town of Mollet del Vallès openly and aggressively challenged the authority of municipal officials to evaluate and determine the proper location of new mosques based on established urban planning regulations.
The dispute over the unauthorized mosque is the latest in a growing number of mosque-related conflicts resulting from efforts by towns and cities across Spain to relocate overfilled mosques from congested downtown areas to uninhabited industrial parks.
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