A delegate of Madrid’s Department of Health, Safety, and Emergencies, Javier Barbero; the Deputy Director of the Pluralism and Coexistence Foundation, Puerto García, and the third Deputy Mayor and head of the Human Rights Plan of the City Council of Madrid, Mauricio Valiente, recently published a manual for the city’s police on how to manage religious diversity – the first such guide in Spain and Europe which covers all of the religious groups in the city of Madrid.

The manual was prepared by the Diversity Management Unit of the Municipal Police of Madrid with the collaboration of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, the Archbishopric of Madrid, the Federation of Evangelical Religious Entities of Spain, the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain, the Spanish Islamic Commission, Church of Scientology, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Jehovah’s Christian Witnesses, Federation of Buddhist Communities of Spain, Orthodox, Baha’i Community, Hindu and Sikhs within the framework of a collaboration agreement of the Area of Health, Safety and Emergencies of the Madrid City Council and the Pluralism and Coexistence Foundation, under the Spanish Ministry of Justice.

“All religious denominations present in Madrid have collaborated in this document. It is a way of expressing that we are capable of reaching agreements and that we are capable of integrating differences in a city that can be plural and inclusive,” said Barbero.

Garcia, the deputy director of the ‘Foundation Pluralism and Coexistence’, stated that the Foundation especially values the manual because “it is a pioneer project in an area that the Foundation and the Ministry had not before developed. We have worked in the field of city planning, funeral services and others, but not this. We can now say we have a reference manual for other municipal police services. With it, we advance significantly because it is ultimately a matter of state competence and in the end, people exercise their rights in cities, including that of freedom of religion or belief.”

Religious wealth and diversity

Madrid is a multinational metropolis with a wide variety of social and cultural enrichment where all of the religious and ethnic communities enjoy the same rights and duties.

Poor participation from the European institutions with religious communities

In more and more cities, such as through this particular initiative by Madrid, there is greater religious diversity and understanding through participation in the public sphere, despite the controversies or barriers that the differences can sometimes create.

However, the European Union does not seem to go at the same speed. It has a Transparency Register that only has a limited number of faiths listed Additionally, most of the actions that the EU institutions take only look at issues outside of the bloc’s neglect of internal problems in Member States that are not abiding by the very fundamental rights they have all signed up to and are committed to upholding.