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April 09, 2003

Islam is blossoming in Spanish-speaking world

SEVILLE, Spain (dpa) - Islam is spreading in the Spanish-speaking world, experts said at the first World Congress of Spanish-speaking Muslims in Seville on Thursday.
There are from 10 to 12 million Spanish-speakers among the world's 1.2 billion Muslims, Spanish Muslim representative Mansur Escudero said.

Globalisation was prompting conversions to Islam in Latin American countries, including Mexico and Argentina, and among the Hispanic population in the United States, experts explained. Spain has up to a million Muslims, most of them Moroccan immigrants.

Spanish official Gaspar Zarrias called for a return of the spirit of tolerance characteristic of Al-Andalus, a name for Moorish Spain, where Muslims, Christians and Jews lived peacefully side by side for long periods