The Spanish region of Catalonia has decided to start teaching the Islamic religion in public schools to encourage integration and interfaith unity.
The plan, which the Education Department published on Wednesday in the form of a resolution in the Official Journal of the Generalitat de Catalunya (DOGC), states that primary schools will start teaching the Islamic faith from the year 2020/2021, Spanish El Pais newspaper reported.
The new plan will promote unity and diversity. It will also revisit the history of Muslims in Spain.
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The pilot plan will kick off in Barcelona, Baix Llobregat, Girona, and Tarragona.
It is a result of the cooperation agreement between the Spanish State and the Islamic Commission of Spain, following increasing demands of the growing Muslim population.
The plan guarantees that Muslim students will receive Islamic religious education in public schools at the levels of child education, primary, compulsory secondary, and high school.
Teachers appointed by the Islamic Commission of Spain will teach this curriculum.
In Catalonia alone, there are more than 1.5 million Muslims out of two million Muslims in Spain. It is followed by Andalusia, with a population of more than 300,000 Muslims, and Madrid, with 280,000 Muslims.
According to the Union of Islamic communities (UCIDE), Muslims make up 3.8 percent of the Spanish population, 40 percent are Spanish and the remaining 60 percent are immigrants.
Muslims in Spain are mostly from Morocco although there is a significant presence of Pakistanis and Senegalese Muslims in cities like Barcelona, Valencia, and Logrono.