Elshishtawy Travels to Spain, Meets with Muslims Leaders

January 2, 2014

Recently, Hoda Elshishtawy, MPAC’s National Policy Analyst, traveled to Spain as part of a U.S. State Department trip to meet with Muslim communities and learn about the issues they face with integration, education and civic engagement.

Her first stop was in Madrid, where Elshishtawy met and spoke with local activists working on civil and human rights for immigrant communities in Spain. In turn, she told them about MPAC’s model of engagement for the American Muslim community and the challenges and opportunities for the Spanish Muslim community to develop and invest in institutions that work on their behalf for the integration of that community.

In Valencia, Elshishtawy spoke at the University of Valencia Law School to students who focused their studies on human rights and immigrant and minority communities.

In Barcelona, Elshishtawy’s time was focused on meeting with experts, academics, public officials, think tanks and representatives from the Muslim communities in the Catalonia region. She discussed the role of Muslim communities and institutions in the American public and political sphere.

Her final meeting in Barcelona was with a group of Muslim women leaders who are working to ensure Muslims are part of the civic and political life in Spain. The women were extremely diverse ranging from bestselling authors to entrepreneurs and businesswomen. She spoke about contemporary issues facing American Muslims from a woman’s perspective, and she said she was impressed with how active Spanish Muslim women are in working to affect change.

Though her trip focused on speaking with the Muslim community, Elshishtawy visited historic sites including Catholic churches, neighborhoods from 11th Century Spain and mosques. Elshishtawy’s trip was educational as she learned and understood the challenges and opportunities other Muslim communities face as they work to improve their quality of lives. 

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