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Funding religious minorities

José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero’s government created a State foundation attached to the Ministry of Justice. Its objective, according to a report from the Ministry of Justice of 5 October 2004, (see "El Gobierno exige la autofinanciación de todas las confesiones religiosas", ABC, 6 de octubre de 2004; "El Gobierno no financiará la práctica del culto musulmán", El País, 6 de octubre de 2004 y "Religiones Minoritarias recibirán más ayuda", El Periódico, 6 de octubre de 2004.) is to help "minority religions acquire greater visibility in Spanish society and religious centres become places of integration, in order to prove and make effective the compatibility of the freedom of beliefs with the underlying constitutional values of democracy". With this aim in view, three million euros, from the 2005 State budget, were allocated to this foundation. The Ministries of Education, Justice, Social Affairs, Defence, the Economy and Finances are represented, as are representatives of the FEREDE, the FCIE and the CIE. The goal targeted by the government is to have all religious groups achieve total self-financing in the near future

The activities that are likely to benefit from financial aid are activities of a social, cultural and educational nature. The projects that could receive support from the foundation include the establishment of cultural centres, training of religious personnel, teaching programmes in Spanish and in other official languages, activities intended to support families, women and young people. Any subsidies intended for the funding of religions are excluded.

Although the Agreements of Cooperation subscribed to in 1992 with religions with a notorious presence provided the possibility of funding these communities, until this foundation was created they had not been offered any economic guarantees. As for the agreements signed between the Catholic Church and the State, they expressly mention a financial contribution via income taxes, IRPF (Impuesto sobre la renta de las personas físicas).

D 14 September 2012    AIrene González González

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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