Monday, October 02, 2006

Spanish Fiestas Are Toned Down
Updated: 11:48, Monday October 02, 2006
Spanish villages are toning down or abandoning traditional fiestas in which revellers blow up dummies representing the Prophet Mohammed.
The celebrations would normally see the head of the dummies packed with fireworks.
However, following the worldwide Muslim protests that accompanied the publication of cartoons caricaturing the Prophet earlier this year - and recent comments on Islam by the Pope - town councils and mayors have had second thoughts.
The Spanish newspaper El Pais found that several villages in the Valencia region were modifying their fiestas.
Bocairent's mayor, Antonio Valdes, said blowing up the Mohammed dummy was offensive.
"It just wasn't necessary, and, as it could hurt some people's feelings, we decided not to do it," he said.

The village may not have blown up the wood-and-cardboard Mohammed dummy this year - but it still threw it off a castle wall at the fiesta's climax in February.
Villages all over Spain hold annual festivals to commemorate the Reconquista, the reconquest of Spain by Christians from the Moors, which was completed in 1492 after more than 700 years of Muslim rule in much of the country.

Spain is now once again home to a growing number of Muslims, mainly Moroccan immigrants, who villagers feel might be offended by some of their traditional celebrations.

The newspaper carried out the investigation after a Berlin opera house decided last week to cancel performances of Mozart's Idomeneo because the production included a scene depicting Mohammed's severed head.

There were violent protests across the Muslim world earlier this year after a Danish magazine published cartoons depicting Mohammed.

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