MADRID, Spain – More than 1,000 Muslims gathered at an ornate mosque Friday for the funeral of a Moroccan killed in the Madrid terror attacks, with many fearing a backlash against Islam if the bombings were carried out by Al Qaeda (search).
The imam (search), or priest, denounced Thursday's bombings, which killed nearly 200 people and wounded about 1,400.
"This is a crime that not even animals would commit," the imam, Ali El Messery (search), told the crowd.
Friends of the dead Moroccan identified him only as Assad, saying he was 22 and had lived in Madrid for three years.
For seven centuries, Muslims from North Africa occupied Spain until the "reconquest" in 1492, building mosques — including one of the world's biggest, in Cordoba — and tolerating Judaism and other religions.
In the modern era, Spain has accepted many migrants, many of them Muslims.
"Spain has always treated us well," said Messery, standing behind Assad's black wooden coffin. "We share blood and history with Spaniards. Let us be grateful to them."
But some of those at the services for the slain Moroccan — one of at least 14 foreigners who died in the bombings — fear the attack may spawn intolerance.
Suspicion has fallen on Al Qaeda and the Basque separatist group ETA. "I don't know who committed yesterday's crime, but I do not want it to be Al Qaeda," said Mustafa Bissad, a 38-year-old immigrant from Senegal who attended the funeral service.