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COVID-19: Muslims Mourn Spanish Scholar Riay Tatary

The President of the Islamic Commission of Spain (CIE), Riay Tatary Bakry, passed away Monday, April 6, in Madrid, at the age of 72, adding to the list of Muslim victims of coronavirus.

Tatary was admitted to a Madrid hospital for several days together with his wife, who suffers from COVID-19 and is in serious condition.

“The Islamic Commission of Spain communicates that its president, Riay Tatary Bakry, who passed away today and expresses its most sincere and heartfelt condolences and support to his family and friends,” the Islamic Commission of Spain wrote in a statement.

“We pray to Allah for his soul. We also inform Muslims in Spain and society that the Islamic Commission of Spain will continue to work with the same enthusiasm and spirit marked by its deceased president.”

The renowned Muslim scholar was born in Damascus in 1948 and moved to Spain in the early 1970s.

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A father of five children, Riay Tatary was a doctor. Until his death, he worked as imam of the mosque in the Madrid neighborhood of Tetuán.

In 1971, he participated in the formation of the Muslim Association of Spain, holding the position of president.

In the 1980s, he was also a member of the Religious Liberty advisory commission of the Ministry of Justice.

In 1989, the Muslim Association requested that the Islamic religion be declared “widely known, deeply rooted” in Spain. This request came true in July of that year. This paved the way for the negotiation of a cooperation agreement with the State.

Subsequently, two organizations emerged, demanding a formal recognition as representing the Islamic community. The Spanish Federation of Islamic Religious Entities (FEERI), created in September 1989 and the Union of Islamic Communities of Spain (UCIDE), established in April 1991 and sponsored by the Muslim Association of Spain, headed by Tatary.

Tatary received, on November 7, 1997, the Order of the Civil Merit Order.

May his soul rest in perfect peace.