The group of these two parties at the municipal town council supported the petition launched by the general secretary of the Spanish Islamic Commission, Mansur Escudero, that the Muslims might occupy a part of the former mosque of Cordoba, today converted into a cathedral, and a symbol of the Catholic reconquest of the Iberian peninsula. According to Mansur Escudero, the petition was presented to the Vatican, who replied that it was up to the local bishop to give a ruling on this request.
For their part, Muslims across Spain are lobbying the Catholic church in Cordoba to make a symbolic gesture of reconciliation between faiths by allowing them to pray in the city’s cathedral. Zakarias Maza, rector of the mosque in Granada, the neighbouring town of Cordoba, has declared: “We hope the Vatican will give a signal that it has a vision of openness and dialogue. Cordoba has been a symbol of the union of three cultures for centuries. Even now, Jews and Muslims live together with Christians in the neighbourhood around the mosque."
The number of Muslims in the south of Spain is growing as a result of immigration from north Africa and Spaniards converting. Cordoba has about 500 Muslims, too many for the present mosque.
A spokesman for the local bishop said that the proposal faced many obstacles and it would be many years before it came to anything. The proposals have also provoked anger from some Catholics. "Will Christians be able to pray in the mosques of Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Iran or Kuwait?" demanded one contributor to a Catholic website.
According to the Australian daily, The Sydney Morning Herald of April 20, 2004, which reported this information, Muslims are going out of their way to portray the proposals as a union, and not a clash of faiths.- After the bloody attacks at Madrid train station?