Muslims in Spain demand the right to worship at Cordoba Cathedral
Spanish Muslims have written to the Vatican to demand the right to worship at Cordoba Cathedral.
Spain's Islamic Board wrote to Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday, calling on him to grant them permission to worship in the cathedral, parts of which were built as a mosque during Spain's period of Islamic rule.
The group said in their letter: "What we wanted was not to take over that holy place, but to create in it, together with you and other faiths, an ecumenical space unique in the world which would have been of great significance in bringing peace to humanity."
They said that senior Spanish Catholic clergy had earlier rejected requests for Muslims to be allowed to prostrate themselves inside the Cathedral.
Mansur Escudero, the board's secretary general, said security guards often stop Muslim worshipers from praying at the old mosque.
He said: "There are reactionary elements within the Catholic Church, and when they hear about the construction of a mosque, or Muslim teachings in state schools, or about veils, they see it as a sign we are growing and they oppose it."
Mansur said Muslims came from around the world to see Cordoba's Cathedral, which is still commonly known as the Cathedral-Mosque.