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Spain: Muslims continue demand for joint-use of Catholic churches
by Martin Barillas
Bishop Demetrio Fernandez of Cordoba, Spain, affirmed on June 12 that any "joint use" by Muslims wishing to worship at the Catholic cathedral in that city is but "a euphemism that means: Catholics, get out! We will not leave, except if we are kicked out, since for 16 centuries there has been Christian worship here." The cathedral, part of which was a mosque for several hundred years until the late 1400s, has been a Catholic place of worship ever since; it is regarded as one of the architectural gems of Europe.
Muslim rights groups have been demanding that the Catholic Church allow Muslims to use the space once again as a mosque in an as yet determined joint use agreement.
Bishop Fernandez added, "therefore, the answer to the question about joint use is, no, we will not leave because in this place the Catholic Church has existed for 16 centuries while the Muslims have been here but four and a half centuries."
Nonetheless, the bishop said that the Church maintains a good relationship with Muslims and is constantly seeking "peace, justice, and coexistence of nations; that is one thing, but it is quite another to share the same temple for worship, which is impossible."
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