CATALUÑA could elect its first female Muslim MP in the region’s elections on Thursday.
Najat Driouech is standing for imprisoned vice-president Oriol Junqueras‘ party, Republican Left of Catalonia.
The party is pro-independence, but Mrs Driouech refuses to say whether she supports the cause or not, claiming instead that she is in favour of “the right of the people to decide”.
Having arrived in the region from Morocco as a nine year old, she has been a community worker for Masnou council – just outside Barcelona – for 17 years. Forecasters predict she will be elected on Thursday.
“It’s not my goal to be the first Muslim woman member of parliament, but the first of many,” she told the BBC.
“It’s sad to turn on the television and never see a black face or an Arab personality”, she adds, suggesting she regularly sees and hears about discrimination in her community.
“I don’t want my children to suffer half of what their grandparents suffered, or a quarter of what I had. I want them to find a society that is inclusive, equal and recognises diversity.”
Catalonia is home to 515,000 Muslims – 15% of the population – according to reports.
The final official poll suggested that Thursday’s regional election is too close to call and is likely to end in a hung parliament.