Madrid: Sira Abd Rigo Al-Rifai or simply Sira Rego Monday took charge as a minister in Spain becoming first Arab woman of Palestinian descent to hold a government position in the largest country in Southern Europe.
Sira Rego was inducted in the new cabinet by Spain's Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. The new cabinet has a total of 22 ministers, 12 women and 10 men.
A member of United Left (IU), Sira Rego was elected as a Member of the European Parliament in 2019. In that capacity she was nominated as European United Left–Nordic Green Left's candidate for President of the European Parliament, placing 4th in the election held on 3 July 2019.
First Arab woman to hold a ministerial position in Spain, Sira Rigo has been made Minister of Childhood and Youth in the line-up of the new Spanish Socialist government.
Sira Rego is very vocal against Israeli aggression in Gaza and called the massacre of Palestinians by the Zionist forces a genocide. Sira Rego is also active on social media platform X, where she condemns Israel’s actions and highlights Palestinian suffering.
Sira Rego's commitment against violence is not limited just to Palestine. She has been fighting against violence against women in all areas and throughout the world.
Sira Rego's father is a Palestinian who lives in the Occupied West Bank with her brother.
Muslims have ruled in Spain for nearly 800 years. But today, Spain is a Christian majority country, with Islam being a minority religion, practised mostly by immigrants from Muslim majority countries, and their descendants. Muslims comprise just 4.45% of the Spanish population as per 2019 data.
Muslim Spain is also known as ‘Golden Era of Jews’, also called as ‘golden age of Jewish culture’ where Jews were generally accepted in society and Jewish religious, cultural, and economic life flourished.
Sira Rego is not alone in her opposition to Israeli aggression in Gaza. Ione Belarra, the Social Rights Minister and the leader of the Unidos Podemos, the far-left junior partner in Spain’s coalition government, in the last month posted several times on social media in support of Palestine while criticising the Israeli occupation.
She also called on Spain to bring Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before the International Criminal Court for war crimes.
Spain’s Equality Minister, Irene Montero, echoed this appeal, saying the same call was made “a few weeks ago in the case of the [Spanish] aid worker murdered in the war in Ukraine”, according to Al Jazeera.
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