There is a very important legend in Spanish Medieval History related to Santiago Matamoros (Santiago Kill-the-Moors). In the battle of Clavijo, it is said to have appeared and have helped the Christian Castillians against the Muslims to achieve victory. Since then, a lot of Spanish Catholic churches have contained portraits or sculptures of the Saint riding a horse and with a sword in his right hand, in a not very multicultural way. Santiago is also the Spanish Patron.
The neighbours at Ortexa are totally opposed to a possible displacement of the image that the Church of San Jaime has in its altar, a Santiago Apostle, as asked by a alleged Muslim citizen in a letter sent to the Major, Vicente Llinares Sellés.
In that letter, signed by Hasán Alí ben Zayyán ben Ibrahim and received by the Major’s office last Monday, the portrait is considered as “offensive to Islam” because the Saint is on horseback and over a Muslim. “That image is not favouring the dialogue between us, the believers of the sacred religion preeched by Mohammed and you, the believers of Jesus, who is also considered by us as a great profet, the second after Mohammed” the letter says.
That is why he asks for the image “to be put away from the altar and changed for other more respectful”. If that’s not accomplished, the sender says “we will think it is a direct attack to Islam similar to the irreverent cartoons that the anti-Muslim Infidels made of our Saint Profet. Just reflect over all this“, it continues.
But the Major does not fear these menaces, and has diminish the importance of it, considering that it is not very serious. The Socialist Vicente Llinares considers that is a consequence of the polemic that surrounds the Moors and Christians’ holidays, whose elimination has been demanded by some Muslim representative.
“I do not see anything offensive in the image of Santiago Apostle, an sculpture that has been here, between us, all our lives. If it would be my own decision I would never take it off. A lot of other villages have similar images“, he says. “In fact, the Church of the near-by village of Relleu, has the same image. But the decision depends of the Bishop, as the Major says. Yesterday he did not make any statement on the issue.
But the menaces and demands of Hasán Alí ben Zayyán ben Ibrahim have provoked a deep bad feeling in the neighbours if this little village of the Marina Baixa. “This image has been in this church all our lives, When we were born, it was there. We do not like that someone coming from abroad tells us what to do. We would not like it to be taken away“, they say.
With only 800 inhabitants and a great number of foreign people, Ortexa is a very quiet village where “people from here with foreign one, and there is no racism nor xenophobia. We all respect and love our Catholic Priest, Juan, who comes from Ruanda. This is a good proof of what we say”, they continue.
I should say we could do a campaign for supporting the Mayor and to ask the Bishop not to take away the image. If some people like this please leave a comment and we can prepare a campaign about this.