On the 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th of October, the 19th Islamic Cultural Festival took place in Almonaster la Real, a beautiful and significant town in the Sierra de Aracena y picos de Aroche, in Huelva.
The festival is a collaboration between the City Council of Almonaster, the Seville Mosque Foundation and the Islamic Community of Spain with the intention of celebrating the historical Andalusian heritage of this town, as well showing Islam in a practical way far from extremist topics, through coexistence, commerce and education.
This occasion has become a key date in Huelva’s calendar, but its significance goes further thanXI its locality, not only because people come from the nearby provinces, but because what is celebrated part of the Mediterranean heritage, a place that has historically been a meeting point of different cultures and ways of living.
For this reason, the meaning of these days has gone beyond its localization and includes the entire Mediterranean, but also the entire Muslim world. Beginning with the previous edition, the embassy of a Muslim majority country is invited to have a presence during the festival, the intention being to expand the conception of Islam as a single culture and people and to show that Islam is present in different places, from Indonesia to the United States, and that in each of them grows a native culture and way of life.
In this edition, the guest country was Malaysia who had a wide presence during the Festival, with an intervention and dance in the presentation and an information booth.
The days have passed with normality and a great influx of public attending the souk, lectures and recitals, guided tours of the mosque, the XIV International Symposium, which this year dealt with ‘The Arts of Islam: Dance, Film and Calligraphy’, and other workshops and activities that complete the program.
The activities of the Seville Mosque Foundation, in addition to participating in the general organization of the souk and other activities, participate in the different conferences and talks and help with diplomatic relations, were centred around two conferences, one that was delivered by Jalid Nieto, under the title ‘The distribution of wealth in Islam’ and another by Shaikh Ahmed Bermejo, under the title ‘Islam as a model of social behaviour’, a guided tour of the mosque, a recital of poetry and an evening of dhikra that takes place in the historic mosque and that is open to the public. In addition to this, the Seville Mosque Foundation has an institutional stand where the public can find information and books about Islam.
From the Seville Mosque Foundation, we want to thank all the people and institutions involved, especially the City Council of Almonaster, who makes possible the realization of this event year after year, the Malaysian Embassy, whose presence has been significant, the Three Cultures of the Mediterranean Foundation and the Diputación de Huelva.
We hope that these days have been full of moments of joy and teaching for everyone and that we might continue this event year after year, God willing.