Muslim Community Fares Well One Year After Train Bombings

March 14, 2005


On March 14, 2005 reported, "A year ago Madrid's cavernous Atocha train station was filled with twisted steel and mangled bodies, killed by suspected Islamist terrorists. Spain is an ancient battleground between Christians and Muslims. The bombings of March 11, 2004, posed the question: would it be so again? The answer—no—is clear from an inconspicuous memorial at Atocha. It's a postmodern wall where people can leave their handprints or pen a message. Occasionally someone will scrawl an insult: 'Look at how these immigrants thank us!' But another, possibly a Muslim, will write: 'Don't generalize. We feel the same pain.' Those who feared a backlash have been heartened... Think of it as a new reconquista, but in reverse. The anniversary of March 11 finds a Spain that has rediscovered its Islamic past—and its Muslims. During the last year, newspapers have churned out stories on the 'forgotten Spaniards.[ Though hard statistics are impossible to come by, Muslim leaders agree that the number of small, neighborhood mosques—so-called garage mosques—is on the rise. So is the number of Roman Catholics converting to Islam."