How a trip to Barcelona changed my perception of Muslims!

Arabic Writing In Barcelona
Arabic Writing In Barcelona

In case you don't know, I recently spent 10 days in Barcelona. When we realized we had booked a hotel in a Muslim neighborhood, we were literally terrified and almost canceled our trip. I'm glad we didn't, because it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

I've been wanting to write this MyTake for a while. I had originally intended to be really straight forward and post EXACTLY what we thought would happened to us on our trip, but I'm afraid if I do, this post will be removed which I do not want. But people who follow my posts and interact with me frequently, already know my perceptions of Muslims and their effect on Europe. So I will just say THIS, we thought all the horror stories you hear about Muslims in Europe would happened to us, especially after the 2017 La Rambla attacks. So to put it frankly, Yes, we were scared to death of these people. But with all the stories you read about terror attacks and rape gangs in Europe, can you really blame us? Hell, even our cab driver was scared when he pulled into the Muslim neighborhood were our hotel was located.

That being said, I don't want anyone to think that I've flipped completely and that everything you hear in the media is all fake news. I am only describing my experience with Muslims in BARCELONA. In other parts of Europe, the situation could be worst, or it could be better.

Like I said, I had originally planned to write this as a narrative, but instead I decided to list some of the things I found to be false, and some of the things I found to be true, based mostly on my personal experiences, but also some things that I've read. I am pleased to say, that I have more "falses" than I do "truths".

Lack Of Assimilation & Language Skills

PARTIALLY TRUE

I'm sad to say that this is one of the rumors I found to be true. First off however, I will say THIS, the immigrants from secular Muslim countries like Turkey have assimilated very well. Yes, they own Halal restaurants, but they speak Spanish and English, mingle with the opposite sex, and dress like Europeans. If you saw them walking down the street, you wouldn't even know they were Muslims. That's exactly how it SHOULD be. These are also the friendliest and most social of the Muslims in Barcelona. We ended up having three meals in the same Halal Turkish restaurant, because the staff was so warm and spoke English, and the atmosphere was so pleasant. So big props to the Turks!

Hijabi Woman At bus Stop
Hijabi Woman At bus Stop

The non-secular ones, are a different story. You will see them wearing hijab, and either walking with their boyfriend/husband, a large group of women, or a large group of men. You will never see a man in a group of hijabi girls, or vice versa. Most of these are Pakistanis, and good luck trying to communicate with the shop owners. Most of them mainly cater to other Pakistanis, and show you the price on a calculator, so they don't even bother learning Spanish. Many of them don't even open their businesses until noon, and when they don't feel like working, you will see them on the street talking to their friends and ogling women. The men will joke with you, and sometimes laugh AT you, but that's it. The women on the other hand look very intimidating and always seem pissed off. I definitely wouldn't ask them for directions, especially if you're a man. Then there are the burqa women. Yep, I even saw a few of those there. These ones even force their kids to cover their hair. Talk about lack of assimilation. This is the sort of thing Europeans don't want. But at least you don't see Pakistani or Turkish flags all over the place. So Barcelona Muslims are at least more respectful of the cultural landscape. Maybe it's because the local football club is sponsored by Qatar Air.

They want to impose Sharia Law, and make local women cover themselves

FALSE

Yeah, this one's false. I did read an article about local girls being converted to Islam, but the problem isn't as bad as it is in other parts of Europe. In fact, Barcelona doesn't even have a mosque, only an Islamic Center. The Muslims here don't even want a mosque, as they prefer to pray in small discrete homes. That being said, the orchestrators of the 2017 La Rambla attack, congregated in such a location, so there is always the fear they might be plotting something else. But at least you won't be hearing the call to prayer at 5 in the morning.

Strip Club In Muslim Neighborhood
Strip Club In Muslim Neighborhood

Barcelona seems to be home to those Muslims who don't follow the region as they should. What do I mean by this? Well, I saw a hijabi girl French kissing and getting frisky with her boyfriend in a secluded area behind the waterfront. I also walked by a strip club called, "Baghdad Strip Club", with a drawing of a naked girl on it. Okay, the owner may have been an Iraqi Christian, but the strip club was right in the middle of the city's Muslim neighborhood, which should be saying enough. But the fact that it's still standing, is a good indication that Barcelona's Muslims aren't as radical or devout as they are in other places in Europe.

Muslim Neighborhoods Are "No Go Zones"

FALSE

Yeah, this one's also false. Maybe this is true in other European cities, but in Barcelona, Muslims could care less if you walk through their neighborhood. There is even a 10th century Catholic monastery located smack dab in the middle of one of these so called "Muslim ghettos". That being said, it's not the most pleasant neighborhoods. Although trash is a rare site, you will see graffiti covered buildings, drunks, druggies, piss covered streets, and of course hijabi women. This was the worst Muslim neighborhood we visited in this city, and no one told us we're not allowed to walk there because we aren't Muslim. That being said, I did hear someone outside my hotel in the middle of the night say, "What are you doing here? If I see you here again, I'm gonna beat you up!" Could have been a Muslim, or it could have been the Russian hotel owner chasing someone off. Yes, there are Russians in these neighborhoods too, as well as immigrants from South America. That might explain it. I don't know. But all I will say is, we didn't encounter any of these "No Go Zones" you hear about. But that doesn't mean they don't exist elsewhere in Europe.

The Worst Muslim Neighborhood We Visited
The Worst Muslim Neighborhood We Visited

The country isn't as safe as it was before immigration.
MOSTLY FALSE

You will often hear Liberals saying, "Europe isn't anymore dangerous now than it was pre-immigration." Well, although the German government has officially acknowledged that crime has increased significantly after Muslim immigration, as much as I hate to admit it, in the case of Spain, the Liberals are right on this one. Since 1977, Spain has experienced a total of 30 terrorist attacks, some of which were carried out by members of al-Qaida. So terrorism in Spain is nothing new. That being said, from 2009 to 2016, the nation hadn't experienced a single terror attack, until the 2017 La Rambla attacks. That attack however wasn't carried out by Syrian refugees, but by a Moroccan immigrant who had sworn allegiance to ISIS. But since this was the first terror attack to be carried out within a 6 year period, it means that Spain still isn't as bad as some other European countries. However, the city is certainly not the same as it used to be. Tour guides are no longer allowed to drop people off at La Rambla, or drive up hill and police officers armed with machine guns, now patrol the city streets, and are prohibited from giving tourists event times. It is a fact, that had the borders been better secured the La Rambla attack wouldn't have happened. But at least the country has learned from it, unlike some others. The city has stepped up security, and the Spanish government is finally cracking down on illegal immigration from Morocco. The chances of you getting killed in a terrorist attack in Barcelona, are very slim. And don't worry, you won't get raped by Muslims, unless you're walking around through sketchy parts of town at night. In which case, you can just as easily be raped by a Spaniard. The only thing to really watch out for are pick pockets and aggressive prostitutes. Just avoid certain areas after dark, and you'll be fine. That being said, police with machine guns was something you only saw in war zones and Latin American cities. So that is something to think about.

Police Men Armed To The Teeth
Police Men Armed To The Teeth

European Culture Is Dead

VERY FALSE!

As is the case with most immigrant groups, Barcelona's Muslims tend to be concentrated in a specific area. Although that area is quite large, it doesn't extend into the city's tourist areas. If you visit the Muslim neighborhoods, you will feel like you're in the Middle East. Just like if you visit Chinatown, you will feel like you are in China. However, the rest of the city especially the tourist sites, still feel very European, with local street musicians, vendors and street performers.

Catholic Festival In Barcelona
Catholic Festival In Barcelona

Conclusion

So, what did I learn from all this?

First off, Muslims aren't as scary or as hostile as you might think. Sure, the hijabi and burqa girls can be a bit intimidating, but as long as you don't provoke them, they won't bother you, and I even found them to be more polite than Asians and local Spaniards. And Muslim girls are WAY hotter than Spanish girls. They're fairly respectful of other religions too. I saw an entire group of them at Montserrat. That being said, secular Muslims are still my favorite Muslims, and I DO feel that if they want to live in a WESTERN country, they should dress like WESTERN women. That's why I still have the most respect for the secular Turks.

Delicious Turkish Food
Delicious Turkish Food

As for multiculturalism, it has its pros and cons. I don't mind ethnic foods, as I wasn't a huge fan of Spanish food, so it was nice to have variety. But I didn't like seeing hijabi women all over the place. If I wanted that, I would go to a Muslim country. As I mentioned earlier, I think if they should be banned from wearing headscarves. If Muslims DO need to come to Europe, I want them to be secular Muslims who respect Western ideals.

Also, not all the Muslim women you see live there. Some of them, mainly the elegantly dressed ones, are tourists, who have every right to be in the country. With Spain being so close to Morocco, this should be expected.

I won't say I've necessarily changed my stance on immigration, and I still want Europe to stay white. Just like I want Africa to stay black and Mexico to stay Mexican. I think I've started to accept that Muslims have become part of European society. In some countries Muslims DO cause problems, so I still respect the rights of nations to decide who they take into their countries. So although this trip didn't do much to change my views on immigration, it did a lot to change my views on Muslims. Every group has a few bad apples that spoil the bunch, and of course the negative stuff shouldn't be ignored. Yes, the first couple days we were scared shitless. On our very first walk, we thought we were gonna get mugged or sexually assaulted. But after a couple days, our fears subsided, as we came to the realization that the majority of these people are harmless, and not something to be feared. Just watch out for the ones in sweat pants.


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ZeussLightningBolt is a GirlsAskGuys Editor
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Most Helpful Guys

  • Ok, I'm from Spain, and you forgot to mention two important facts to why Muslims aren't taking over in Spain.

    1) You went to Barcelona. Almost half the population in Catalunya don't like Spaniards, do you think they like Muslims? They're not gonna tolerate shit from them.

    2) Spaniards haven't forgotten. Might have been centuries ago, but the Arab takeover of Spain is still in our minds. Sure, we don't blame the current Muslims for what their ancestors did, but we know most still believe in the same beliefs that lead their ancestors to take over Spain.
    We get lots of Moroccans jumping the border in Ceuta and Melilla, and even more North Africans (mostly Muslims) coming by boat, illegally, to our coasts. We don't like that. We struggle to take care of the least fortunate Spaniards, and now we gotta help others who come illegally too? That creates resentment.
    So basically, Spanish people aren't gonna take as much shit from Muslims as Brits, Germans, or Swedes are doing.

    Now, I'm not saying we hate Muslims (some do, of course), we don't mind if they come as long as it's legal and they assimilate, something that doesn't happen as often as it should.

    I now live in a country that is perhaps too tolerant towards Muslims (less than Sweden or England, though), and I see too much segregation. Same type of segregation Europeans make fun of Americans for having, well here it's the same, just masked as "tolerance", when in reality it's just a lack of assimilation and understanding it's better to remain separate than together.

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    • I don't know. I read the Spanish government only NOW started cracking down on illegal immigration from Morocco, after being pressured by the EU. But that doesn't make any sense, as the EU is very pro-immigration.

      Catalans also say they want to break away, because they pay taxes to Spain, but get nothing from them. Is any of this true?

      I agree with your last comment. Americans, especially Liberals, want to forcefully integrate and mix people to create more "diversity", but they don't understand that everyone feels more comfortable with their own kind. It's not racism, it's just a survival instinct.
      If a white guy is dropped in a city full of blacks, the first thing he will try to do is find another white person. This is a basic survival instinct.
      But also, a lot of the time, locals don't want to accept immigrants, that's why they form their own communities and stick together.
      But I don't see the point of immigrating if you're going to bring the same shitty culture you fled.

  • I bring my culture with me wherever I go. I don't suddenly stop being who I am, culturally, just because I live in another country. I still know how to kick a mean lion-dance out. I write beautiful Chinese calligraphy when the mood strikes me. I celebrate the Lunar New Year with friends who celebrate it as well, or for friends who never celebrated it but want to know more about it. And I ask everyone who enters my home to take their damn shoes off because God knows where your shoes have been or stepped in. Open my fridge and you'll find kimchi, natto, fermented bean paste along with sea urchin, fish head, and dried scallop.

    "Culture" is a complex, multi-leveled creature.
    Seems to me you want people to throw away those aspects of their culture that offends your sensibilities.

    Or would you rather people eradicate all aspects of their culture and just take up all aspects of the dominant culture?

    Excuse me while I go and order a steak the size of my head, bite into Tide Pods, and snort a condom up my nose.

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    • THIS ONE
      Seems to me you want people to throw away those aspects of their culture that offends your sensibilities.

    • But I don't know, it's weird. In the US I love it, but elsewhere I hate it, because I want to see the culture of THAT country

Most Helpful Girl

  • Nice myTake, I was expecting something more negative. Lol. 😂😂😂😂😂
    When I went to France I was unnoticed until I started to speak English or ask If something contains pork. Yet they asked me If I am Spanish or Italian when I spoke English. Lol
    However in Netherlands or Germany they easily understood that I'm a foreigner (since majority of the people are blond there.) Still I didn't experience a significant culture shock, because of some reasons;
    I dress up like tshirt, hoodie and jeans which are completely normal in Western society. I am fluent in English with just a mild accent, and I don't go to Europe for free shit.

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What Girls & Guys Said

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  • My brother spent 2 years living in France in a Muslim neighborhood, he talked to Imams, went to a Mosque, read the Quaran. He was very pro Muslim when he moved in..

    After that experience he is now staunchly against Islam and is 100% against Muslim immigration into the west.

    You should fucking hear the stories he has to tell, it's some crazy shit. And he knows from first hand experience that it really is pretty fucking bad.

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    • From what I've read, Barcelona still isn't so bad. Maybe because it's under 7%. I think if I went to the UK or France, I would not have nice things to say about them.
      It's just like Muslim countries. Some have nice Muslims, others have shit Muslims.

  • I think trying to categorize all Muslims in any way shape or form is a very difficult process considering how wildly different the ones I've met in the USA, Jordan, Syria, and Canada were from each other...

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    • That's very true. They vary from country to country. Even from region
      Western and Central Turkey are very secular, Eastern Turkey is not
      Islamabad is very Liberal and tolerant, the rest of Pakistan is not

  • If I ever move abroad I'll never dress like a European or whatever. I'm more of the 'let me practice my own religion and you also mind your own damn business' kind of person 😂 I don't like the idea of imposing religion to others or someone else imposing their religion to me. Secular country is fine, but I don't like the idea of breaking God's commands to fit into a secular society myself. 🙃

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    • Also, you kind of cannot blame the hijabis women acting a bit alienated and hostile... Remember that when non-Muslims decide to attack Muslims it's these hijabis women that turn out to be their targets. Or they might not just be fluent in English or Spanish, they might have possessive husbands at home... Several reasons for why they wouldn't want a man coming to them asking for directions, doesn't mean that they are necessarily bad people.

    • Show All
    • One god with several names and descriptions (religions)

      That's the only thing I believe in and it's not part non secular religions

  • To destroy your false perception:
    How a trip to Barcelona changed my perception of Muslims.How a trip to Barcelona changed my perception of Muslims.

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    • The first one is too smsll for me to read

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    • >> I need to see the Muslims in other countries.

      There's somewhat of a difference between being a tourist in their country and living with them in their country.

      >> My next article will be, "How a trip to Huddersfield rechanged my perception of Muslims"
      To Mecca instead :D Although that article is likely to result in being posthumous.

    • "There's somewhat of a difference between being a tourist in their country and living with them in their country."

      YES! That is VERY true. That's why you hear tourists say Pollacks and Americans are friendly, but I think they're rude and greedy.

  • Didn’t read it all but, what do you live under a rock?
    Muslims are people for gods sake.

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  • Islam's standing in the world pretty much suffers in the same way as any large groups of people like Christianity or even a completely different group like gamers. Extremists and the most fervent tend to spew their beliefs and the media with agendas can spin it positively or negatively as well as touting their proverbial horn to the masses.

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  • The Muslims know to keep calm in Spain because thats the country from which the Reconquista ignited in Europe that destroyed Al-Andalusia.

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  • Can you answer my "what do you know about Spain" question?

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  • The problem isn't muslims, like with all things its certain types within the muslim community that are the issue. its the attitude they have when they enter the country that determines whether or not they will be good or bad for the country and the issue is that the European governments are removing all the standards that encouraged the good immigrants to enter the country while removing all the barriers that stopped the bad immigrants from entering. That's the primary issue. Its ironic too because they claim they are just not going to regulate immigration because it would be "racist" for them to do so, yet them not doing it is what is driving racist ideas to begin with. Just because you have locks on your doors doesn't mean you want no one to enter your home, you have them so that you can let in the people you want and keep out the ones you don't. Unfortunatley European nations don't understand that.

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  • If they live in western country, why should dress western? I mean they can dress however they want. And if some people from West go to the middle east they should also be allowed to dress however they want.

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  • As someone who lives in a Muslim country, I'd say my experience with them is 50/50. Means they are just like other people. There are good and bad Muslims. My best friend is a Muslim. I have dated a few Muslim guys in the past. They don't fit the stereotypes at all. I don't judge a group of people based on what I watch on tv or read in the media. I judge based on what I have experienced with them in real life. However, I have met some horrible Muslims but sadly not as horrible as some non-Muslims🤷‍♀️.

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  • good... its like the stock answer to do you hate muslims... yes except all the ones i know or have ever met. glad to see you got past your prejudice

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    • Who knows? Maybe if I go to UK, prejudices will return

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    • I went to Costa Brava and Tarragona

      I wanted to visit that church next to the amusement park, but read you have to access it through the park, which was closed.

      You see, that's the thing about Muslim country.
      Is it really worth the risk?

    • i was so pleased i went so no... i would have more fear visiting america given that was such a rare event in egypt

  • Good take :)

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  • very interesting read, thanks for sharing!

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  • Travel broadens the mind.

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  • Okay

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  • You mean it changed your perception of Muslims in Barcelona. That small minority doesn't make up for the rest of the middle-east. You know that.

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  • "Impose sahria law and make local women cover themselves"
    This only happens ijn Saudi Arabia and Iran. As a Muslim, i do not agree with it. Each woman or girl should decide wether she wants to cover herself or not. None of your or my buisness. If she wants to wear this its okay, and if she wants to wear that its okay too. As for the culture of the people who immigrated to Barcelona or wherever, you can't just tell people to forget about their culture... The turk people looked more secular. That is because they look the same way in their country too they didn't adapt to anything but learning the language probably or something else. Ofcourse they still have their own culture but in terms of cloth wearing it s the same. A pakistani guy who wears something u dont recognize or isn't familiar shouldn't be a problem. You can't tell someone to forget about their culture!! When he has kids, he probably sure will keep them in Barcelona because of the better living conditions but he most likely will try to teach them a word or 2 in his mother language u know? I COMPLETELY disagree with how you think people with cultures should adapt and forget about their own cultures. Pretty good mytake, remember Muslims are people too some are bad some are good. Some like to play video games like me ! Grow some balls and come visit an Arab country. Go to the Emirates Morocco Egypt Lebanon. Or are you afraid they gonna eat you there? Dont be XD. PLUS plus try to know more about the religion it seems you take a lot of decisions based on ignorance and what you see in the media. They all say the same they keep saying Sharia law and oppressors of woman. So try to get to learn from other sources ;)

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    • Some cultural aspects have no place in certain places.
      And Iran also forces women to cover their hair.

      Morocco and Egypt are dangerous right now. Lebanon is so so. UAE is safe

  • So, you have basically had your eyes opened: very little of the western media hype against Islam has any accuracy.

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    • Yeah, pretty much.
      These people aren't as dangerous as I thought

    • I'm white American. But ever since middle school, I've had friends that were Arabic and Muslim. Before 9-11, I knew that the bin Laden example was not typical of most Muslims.

      I hope you will remember this. Extremists of any group are usually a minority, and Islam is no exception.

      Muslims still have cultural differences. But I think that you will find that most are easy-going and really just want an "ordinary life" in the place that they reside. They really aren't that different just because of their religious views.

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