The festivals commemorate Spain's expulsion of the Moors, which was completed in 1492 after nearly 800 years of rule in much of the country. The fiestas, which each village holds on a different date, are common in many areas of Spain, particularly around the southeastern city of Valencia. Revelers typically dress up in period costumes and sometimes stage mock battles. In the finale, Christians defeat Muslim Moors, and an image of the prophet is destroyed.
But after the worldwide Muslim anger over the Prophet Muhammad cartoons, published a year ago, some villages are toning down their festivals, the newspaper El Pais said. In the most recent case, last month the village of Beneixama near Valencia did away with the custom, the newspaper said.
"It was not an essential act, and as it could hurt some people's feelings we decided to skip it," mayor Antonio Valdes told the daily.
The paper said several other communities were also scaling back. It said that amid the cartoon uproar in February, the Valencia-area village of Bocairent abstained from its traditional practice of destroying the effigy.
SPIEGEL: You are trying to say that critics of Islam are systematically silenced in Germany?
Tibi: Yes. Even the comparatively moderate Turkish organization DITIB says there are no Islamists, only Islam and Muslims -- anything else is racism. That means that you can no longer criticize the religion. Accusing somebody of racism is a very effective weapon in Germany. Islamists know this: As soon as you accuse someone of demonizing Islam, then the European side backs down. I have also been accused of such nonsense, even though my family can trace its roots right back to Muhammad and I myself know the Koran by heart.
SPIEGEL: You have said numerous times that the conflict between the Western world Muslim groups here is an "ideological war."
Tibi: The result of a conflict between two sides is that people politicize their cultural backgrounds. In Germany representatives of the Islamic communities try to hijack children who are born here, along with the entire Islamic community, to prevent them from being influenced by the society which has taken them in. Children born here are like blank sheets on which you can write European or Islamic texts. Muslim representatives want to raise their children as if they don't even live in Europe.
Former Rep. Mark Foley, under FBI investigation for e-mail exchanges with teenage congressional pages, has checked himself into rehabilitation facility for alcoholism treatment and accepts responsibility for his actions, his attorney acknowledged Monday. The attorney, David Roth, would not identify the facility, but told the Associated Press in West Palm Beach, Fla., that Foley had checked in over the weekend.
"I strongly believe that I am an alcoholic and have accepted the need for immediate treatment for alcoholism and other behavioral problems," Foley said in a statement, Roth told the AP.
Foley, a Republican, abruptly quit Congress on Friday after reports surfaced that he'd sent sexually charged electronic messages to boys working as pages. In the statement, Foley said the "events that led to my resignation have crystalized recognition of my long-standing and significant alcoholism and emotional difficulties."