A library photo of Muslims gathering outside a mosque in Sebta.

By Al-Amin Andalusi, IOL Correspondent

RABAT, March 8, 2006 (IslamOnline.net) – A song insulting Muslims, which won the top award of a local festival recently held in the Spanish colony of Sebta, has sparked an outcry from the Muslim majority, who demanded an apology from the administrative government for condoning the incident and the withdrawal of the award.

“The Democratic Party in Sebta [which groups many Spanish Muslims of Moroccan origin] is planning a legal action against the festival’s organizers for the racism displayed in the song’s lyrics,” party head Mohamad Ali told IslamOnline.net Wednesday, March 8.

Ali cited Articles 510 and 525 of Spanish penal law, which stipulate that whoever incites racial discrimination and derogates minorities is punished by imprisonment.

The lyrics of the award-winning song in the popular Chirigota festival described Muslims as “animals” and “bastards.”

The song, which also mocked the Adhan (call to prayer), further won the best lyrics honor.

Angry Muslim youths have vented their anger through graffiti denouncing the festival and blasting the singer and writer of the song.

The song added insult to injury in view of a global outcry over 12 Danish cartoons lampooning Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him). The drawings were first published in Denmark in September of last year and later reprinted by newspapers in many European countries.

A Berlin festival scheduled for March 16 will shun the country’s top rock band over a song lampooning God.

Irresponsible

One of the troupes that took part in the festival.

Maria Antonia, secretary general of the opposition Socialist Party, said Sebta (Ceuta in Spanish) is going through hard times since it used to be an example of harmonious coexistence between cultures and religions.

Antonia called the festival’s organizers reckless and irresponsible.

The ruling Socialist Party has further called on the administrative government in Sebta to make a “strong and clear condemnation of racism and hatred” after it supported the odious song.

The city’s municipality chief, Kwan Bebas, stood behind the festival’s organizers and rejected to withdraw the award.

“The song’s band will keep the award since it has been given by a professional and independent committee,” he argued.

Spanish Antenna 3 TV channel described the song as a stigma on the city’s government.

It said in a report that the song could serve as a powder keg in the city despite the painstaking efforts made by Muslim leaders to defuse the crisis.

The song controversy came less than a month after Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero paid a visit to the city where he met with representatives of all faiths.

A flourishing trade city under the Arabs, Sebta was annexed by the Portuguese in 1415 and occupied by Spain in 1580.

It lies in the north of Morocco on the Mediterranean coast near the Strait of Gibraltar. Its is approximately 20 km².

In 1985, Spain moved to entrench its grip over the island, applying a law that gave it an autonomous status. Muslims now make up more than half of the city’s 100,000 people.

Leila, 200m off the coast of Morocco, is another neighboring island occupied by Spain.