A high school teacher in southern Spain is being sued for child abuse by the parents of a Muslim student who claims that the teacher "defamed Islam" by talking about Spanish ham in class. The case is one of a growing list of recent controversies that illustrate the increasing assertiveness of Muslims in Spain at a time when Spaniards are slowly waking up to the integration challenges posed by uncontrolled immigration from Muslim countries.
Although Spanish legal scholars are divided over whether the lawsuit has real merit, nearly everyone agrees that the case has potentially major implications for free speech in Spain. They also agree that the constant threat of lawsuits will force Spanish school teachers to carefully consider their choice of words in the future.
The latest dust-up occurred at the Instituto Menéndez Tolosa, a secondary school in the town of La Línea de la Concepción in the southern region of Andalusia, where José Reyes Fernández, a geography teacher, was giving a lecture about the different types of climates in Spain. During the class, Reyes mentioned that the climate in Andalusia offers the perfect temperature conditions for curing Spanish ham (Jamón Ibérico), a world-famous delicacy.