The inauguration of a discotheque called Mecca in Spain infuriated Muslims in the country and raised questions about the position of Muslim workers offered jobs in the controversial place.
After 10 years of renovations, an old discotheque in the city of Aguilas in the southwestern province of Murcia opened its doors on June 18 under the name La Meca amid protests from Muslim individuals and organizations, the Arab Spanish newspaper Andalus Press reported Wednesday.
A poll conducted after the inauguration of the discotheque revealed the indignation of Spanish Muslims who viewed the action as disrespectful and prejudiced.
Mohamed Ali, head of the Spanish Federation of Islamic Religious Entities (Federación Española de Entidades Religosas Islámicas- FEERI), said Mecca is the most venerated place for Muslims all over the world.
“Muslims pray towards Mecca and it is there that the prophet received the holy Quran,” he said in a statement. “Calling a place for dancing and drinking by that name shows disregard to the feelings of Muslims.”
The inauguration of La Meca raised questions about Muslims who work there. In fact, a Moroccan man rejected an offer to work in the discotheque in protest of the name.
“It is up to him to decide,” Ali added. “It depends on his financial situation and whether he has the option to work in other places.”
Antonio García Petite, founder of the Committee of Muslim Arbitration and Good Deeds (Comité de Arbitraje Musulmán y Buenas Prácticas), said that the name Mecca is usually used commercially to refer to a center or destination of a specific activity.
“Expressions like ‘the Mecca of cinema’ and ‘the Mecca of Jazz’… etc. are commonly used without any offence,” he said.
However, he added, it is inappropriate to call a discotheque by that name.
“A discotheque is for worldly pleasures and what takes place inside it, like drinking alcohol, is not in line with the principles of Islam.”
As for the Moroccan worker, Petite said that he acted in accordance with his religious beliefs.
“We do support him in that,” he concluded.
(Translated from the Arabic by Sonia Farid)