CATALONIA – With all eyes fixed on the disputed district, Catalonia could elect its first female Muslim MP in the region’s elections on Thursday.
“It’s not my goal to be the first Muslim woman member of parliament, but the first of many,” Najat Driouech told the BBC.
“It’s sad to turn on the television and never see a black face or an Arab personality”, she adds, suggesting she regularly sees and hears about discrimination in her community.
“I don’t want my children to suffer half of what their grandparents suffered, or a quarter of what I had. I want them to find a society that is inclusive, equal and recognizes diversity.”
Expected to win next Thursday’s vote, Driouech has led a successful life since arriving in Spain at the age of nine.
Her life has been a line of many “firsts”: She was the first girl from her community to win a literary prize, and also the first to go to university.
In the public sphere, she has been fighting prejudice and hate as a community worker for Masnou council, just outside Barcelona, for 17 years.
Driouech will enter the election in the electoral list for the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) to take her fight against prejudice to a higher level.
“I am taking this step at such a complicated time for Catalonia because I believe it’s necessary to civilize part of society – that minority which believes that another minority is second-class,” Driouech said.
There are 515,000 Muslims in Catalonia, comprising almost 15% of the population.