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As Islam in Spain steadily grows, so does the risk of radicalization. The opposing phenomena of insular religious radicalism and Spanish xenophobia toward Muslim immigrants have obstructed the social integration of the country’s rapidly expanding Muslim community. Spain’s location across the Mediterranean renders it a prime destination for immigrants from North Africa, but also a prime target for foreign radical elements. To many such individuals, al-Andalus—the territory of the Iberian Peninsula lost by Islam in the fifteenth century—is no longer simply an abstract cause, but rather a concrete jihadist objective.1 

For the country’s main political parties, meanwhile, the issue of Islamic radicalism remains largely taboo. The Rajoy government has been loath to engage in the controversial debates arising from the Muslim minority in Spain, leading some to accuse the government of altogether “abdicating the battle of ideas” between moderate and extreme interpretations of Islam. However, on the counterterrorism front, the administration’s recent efforts indicate a more aggressive, determined stance towards the prosecution of suspected terrorists.   

Level of Islamist Activity: 
Islamist Activity: 

There are five principal groups in Spain that, either overtly or covertly, advocate a rigid adherence to Islamist doctrine: the Salafists, Al Adl wal Ihsane (“Justice and Charity”), Hizb ut-Tahrir, Tablighi Jama’at, and the Muslim Brotherhood. While some of these groups display a more moderate public face in order to avoid social marginalization or persecution, some scholars assert that these groups provide fertile ground for Islamist recruitment and actively hinder the integration of Muslim communities into the social fabric of Spain.2  Of the more than 1,000 mosques throughout the country, Spanish intelligence sources currently estimate that 20 percent are involved in the active promotion of radical Islamic doctrine, primarily by calling for the rejection of Spanish society in favor of a strict adherence to a sharia-based lifestyle.3  To that end, Spain’s Interior, Justice and Labor Ministries published a joint 2010 report which concluded that, despite the comparatively small percentage of radicals among Spain’s Muslims, there are reasons for serious concern regarding both the intensity of their radicalism and their skill in promoting it.4  

Numerous studies and investigations commissioned by city councils and the Mossos d'Esquadra (the autonomous regional civilian police of Catalonia) chronicle the advance of the Salafist movement in Spain.5  Salafists are generally concentrated in the regions of Catalonia and Murcia and their surrounding areas. Local newspapers in these areas have reported cases of Salafi imams publicly advocating for a radical, violent ideology in their communities. In one such instance, nine men in Reus sentenced a woman accused of adultery to death by stoning. The woman managed to escape, and the men were arrested by the local Mossos d’Esquadra.6  When brought to court, however, such cases have not often led to successful convictions, possibly due to the strong bonds of loyalty between the imams and their congregations that may inhibit objective testimony.7   

Nevertheless, a significant number of well-known jihadist commanders who espouse Salafism currently reside in Spanish prisons, including Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas, alias Abu Dahdah, who has been directly linked to al-Qaeda and the 9/11 attacks. Other prisoners were connected to the radical cells responsible for the 2004 Madrid train bombings, whose perpetrators received training abroad from the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group (GICM). Often, the most radicalized groups on Spanish soil maintain ties with different groups working in North Africa. These connections open pathways to the network of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).8  Spain has also served as an important hub for the Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA) and the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), whose members frequently interact with the GICM as well as with radicals in Catalonia.9  

The Spanish region of Murcia, which lies on the Mediterranean Sea, boasts an estimated 120 mosques and prayer rooms. There, the local landscape of Islamist activism includes the adherents of Al Adl wal Ihsan. Founded in 1983 by Moroccan preacher Sheikh Abdesalam Yassine, the organization attracts followers from poor districts as well as from universities and other more educated circles. The group has been outlawed across the sea in Morocco because it does not recognize the religious legitimacy of the Moroccan Crown. Although it does not have as much visibility in Spain, Spanish authorities believe that it has the potential to “damage the integration of Muslims into Spanish society by defending the prevalence of Islamic law over Western law, and have therefore labeled the group a radical organization.”10  In 2010, the Spanish naturalization application of the vice president of Murcia’s Islamic Federation (FIRM), Mounir Benjelloun, was rejected because of his ties to Al Adl wal Ihsan. It seems that Benjelloun has forged a close and potentially strategic relationship between FIRM and Al Adl wal Ihsan. Since FIRM reportedly controls 45 of the 120 existing mosques and prayer rooms in Murcia, some fear that Al Adl wal Ihsan has obtained through this relationship a strong, legitimate platform from which to disseminate its message.11 

The municipal government of Ceuta, one of Spain’s two North African exclaves, has also expressed concern about the potential for strategic collaboration between Al Adl wal Ihsan and yet another Islamist group, Tablighi Jama’at, whose Spanish off-shoot is led by prominent imam and Ceuta resident Laarbi al-Lal Maateis.12  As with Al Adl wal Ihsan, Spanish Intelligence Services have tried to deny citizenship to members of Tablighi Jama’at on the premise that they are radicals opposed to social integration. However, the Spanish National Court often overturns such decisions.13 

Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HUT) prefers to cloud itself in secrecy, so the exact size and number of HUT cells in Spain is still unknown. In 2007, the Athena Intelligence Journal defined the group’s three primary activities in Spain as: proselytizing and distributing propaganda, especially to “foment division and confrontation between Muslims and non-Muslims;” increasing its presence in Islamic cultural and social organizations; and advancing an Islamist, anti-Western agenda through online forums and discussions.14  

Through its affiliation with the Spanish Muslim Association founded in 1971, the Muslim Brotherhood is one of the more solidly established Islamic groups in Spain. Radical Muslim Brotherhood elements were especially active in Spain at the turn of this century. The infamous Abu Dahdah network, an al-Qaeda hub based in Madrid, provided funding to the Brotherhood while coordinating logistics for recruits transiting Europe.15  The Spanish Institute of Strategic Studies (IEEE) notes that the network played a significant part in not only the 9/11 attacks, but also the attacks in Morocco in 2003 and Madrid in 2004.16  Although their activity has faded from the media spotlight, the Brotherhood maintains a serious presence in Spain, largely in the regions of Andalusia, Valencia, and Madrid.17    

Since the Madrid bombings in 2004, approximately 400 Islamic militants have been arrested in Spain.18  The radical Islamist cells in Spain typically include immigrants from the Maghreb (mainly Algerians and Moroccans who belong to cells originating in their home countries) and from Pakistan, due to the historical presence of a large Pakistani immigrant community in Catalonia. Cells and networks have traditionally been small and autonomous rather than interconnected. Recent investigations by Spanish security forces, however, have detected increasing links connecting these radicals with their counterparts outside of Spain.

In fact, the existence of organized transnational terrorist groups on Spanish soil has been proven by the trial and sentencing of elements of the Algerian Comando Dixan cell in 2002 and the legal processes against militants from a Catalonian jihadist network in Santa Coloma de Gramenet, who were captured during 2009’s Operación Tigris. More recently in 2012, Barcelona’s police forces initiated Operación Kartago (Operation Carthage), which attempts to “neutralize” the threat of lone-wolf terrorism by preventing potential Spanish terrorists from traveling abroad to seek training.19  

The number of arrests in recent years reflects a threat level that seems to justify these law enforcement efforts.20  On June 22, 2013, a German national of Tunisian descent was arrested in Mallorca for publicly proclaiming that Allah had sent him to “kill all the Spanish.”21  Also in June, Barcelona police arrested five Tunisian men accused of disseminating Osama bin Laden’s speeches online, and sharing through social media instructional videos of bombmaking, training, and executions carried out by terrorists.22  Earlier this year as well, two suspected members of an underground terrorist cell with ties to AQIM were apprehended. Spanish police compared cell members’ lone-wolf style radicalization to that of the Tsarnaev brothers, who were accused of committing the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.23  

In 2012 alone, five people were arrested for terrorist ties in two separate high-profile cases. On June 26, Rachid Abedellah Mohamed and Nabil Mohamed Chaib—both Spanish citizens—were arrested in Melilla for organizing and running a terrorist cell intended to recruit new members for training in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Then, on August 2, with the cooperation of international security services, three al-Qaeda activists were arrested in Spain’s biggest recent operation against violent Islamic extremism. Two of the suspects, Eldar Magomedov and Muhamed Ankari Adamov, were Russian citizens of Chechen extraction, while the group’s ringleader, Cengiz Yalzin, was originally from Turkey. Allegedly, the three men planned to stage a major attack on British Gibraltar during the 2012 Olympic Games. Upon investigation of the men’s apartments, Spanish authorities found “enough explosives to blow up a bus.”24  However, since no specific target had been determined, the judge presiding over the case ruled that intent to commit terrorism could not be definitively proven, and thus the suspects were released.

Other earlier cases also highlight similar legal difficulties associated with state efforts to prosecute jihadist networks. These include:

  • The case of five Algerians arrested by Spanish security forces in September 2011 for providing logistical and financial support to AQIM. All five were released when the judge ruled that there was insufficient evidence to convict.25 
  • The May 18, 2010 acquittal by Spain's Audencia Nacional (National Court) of two jihadists accused of attempting to make dirty bombs with red mercury.26 
  • The November 2005 arrest of ten Algerians who had allegedly engaged in credit card forgery to raise funds for the GSPC and al Qaeda in Alicante, Granada, and Murcia. Five of these men were tried in the National Court in May 2010. They were acquitted of all terrorism charges, although three of the five were sentenced to prison for forgery.27  
  • The January 2008 arrest of eleven Pakistanis in Barcelona accused of plotting terrorist suicide attacks on the Barcelona metro system on the orders of Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud. On December 14, 2009, the eleven detainees were found guilty of some of the charges leveled against them, but were found not guilty on the charges of terrorism; it was determined that the plot had not reached the level necessary to be a terrorist conspiracy.28 

In spite of the pattern of non-conviction, past U.S. intelligence assessments have confirmed the alarming nature of Islamist activity in Spain. The Spanish daily El País recently published a Wikileaks cable written by the U.S. Embassy in Madrid in 2005, which reported that Spanish authorities had only minimal intelligence on radical groups in the country and recommended that a counterterrorism center be established at the U.S. consulate in Barcelona.29  Although it remains unclear whether or not such a center was ever established, another U.S. cable from 2007 reports that Spanish authorities still deemed Barcelona’s large Muslim population “susceptible to jihadist recruitment.”30 

Islamism and Society: 

As of 2013, Spain’s Muslim population constituted approximately 1.6 million people, or just over three percent of the country’s total 47.4 million inhabitants.31  Approximately 30 percent of this population is comprised of natural-born Spanish citizens. Half of the remaining 70 percent are Moroccan immigrants, and the remainder comes from Algeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Nigeria, the Gambia, and Mali.32  The percentage is lower than Europe’s overall five percent average of Muslim inhabitants, but proportionally similar to Germany (where Muslims make up approximately 3.7% of the population).33 

Nevertheless, it would be erroneous to conclude—based solely on these numbers—that Islam is a fringe phenomenon in Spain. On the contrary, the rapidity with which Islam has grown and expanded in Spain makes it both notable and potentially problematic. Since the turn of the century, Muslim immigration to Spain has increased dramatically. A study by the Union of Islamic Communities of Spain indicates that over a ten-year period from 1998 to 2007, Spain nationalized 61,086 Muslim immigrants. Yet in only three years from 2008 to 2011, 52,095 Muslim immigrants were nationalized, nearly triple the rate of the previous decade.34  The percentage of Muslims as a subset of the national population has also more than tripled since 2000,35  and in total, Muslim immigrants account for more than 20 percent of Spain’s immigrant population.36  

Muslims in Spain tend to belong to the following associations: the Federación Española de Entidades Religiosas Islámicas (Spanish Federation of Islamic Religious Entities; FEERI), the Unión de Comunidades Islámicas de España (Union of Islamic Communities in Spain; UCIDE), and, more marginally, the Junta Islámica de España (Islamic Junta of Spain). FEERI possesses a significant Moroccan composition, and Al Adl wal Ihsan has attempted to infiltrate the organization in the past. UCIDE, by contrast, involves Muslim clerics of Syrian and Saudi origin. FEERI and UCIDE are, together, the key members of the Islamic Commission of Spain, the official Islamic partner of the Spanish government. By contrast, the smaller Junta Islámica is more overtly political, involving converts to Islam and so-called “progressives” while promoting a distinctive version of Islam that is occasionally at variance with the state.37  Although none of the three organizations provide figures concerning their membership or structure, it is estimated that FEERI and UCIDE together account for 70 percent of all Muslim groups in Spain.38  This in turn signifies that approximately 30 percent of Spanish Muslims fall outside of official religious institutions. Whether this exclusion is by choice or because of a lack of access has not been determined.

The comparatively recent explosive growth of the Muslim population in Spain has been mirrored by a growth of Islamic institutions. While the number of legal, officially approved mosques in the country remains low (no more than two dozen), a large number of cultural associations have sprung up in recent years, filling the need for new venues of worship and prayer. The 2007 census conducted by the Ministry of Justice's Office of Religious Affairs identified around 450 of such associations.39  However, UCIDE has admitted to the existence of more than 700 such facilities, and law enforcement authorities estimate that there are actually over 1,000 illegal mosques in existence in Spain today.24 Despite this institutional growth, UCIDE reports that 5% of Spanish Muslim communities lack access to a mosque, while 95% lack a Muslim cemetery (almacabra).40  

As the statistics above suggest, Spain’s Muslim community is religious—and increasingly so. In its April 2010 survey of national religious attitudes, the Spanish government found a marked increase in piousness among the country’s Muslims (with religious adherence rising from 41 percent in 2006 to 52 percent in 2009). These statistics stand in stark contrast to the prevailing trend of widespread secularism among the country’s native population that has developed over recent decades. For example, less than 20 percent of Spaniards today define themselves as practicing Catholics, compared to 50 percent in 1976. Meanwhile, more than 60 percent of Spanish Muslims regard Islam and democracy as “compatible, but sometimes at personal cost.”41 

Differences between the native-born Spanish Muslims or converts and their immigrant counterparts foster divisions in the larger Muslim community, particularly over the issues of interpretation and proper delegation of religious authority. For instance, there is a struggle underway between the competing interpretations of Islam and Islamic law practiced by Morocco and Saudi Arabia. Both versions of Islam are conservative (although the Saudi is considerably more so), while the Moroccan is additionally nationalistic, claiming sovereignty over Spanish territories in North Africa—namely, the cities of Ceuta and Melilla, two smaller territories (Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera and Peñón de Alhucemas), and the Chafarinas archipelago. 

Unlike other immigrant communities in Spain, Muslims are not evenly distributed throughout the country. Seventy-five percent of the Spanish Muslim population lives across the Mediterranean coast in Ceuta and Melilla.42  On the mainland, Spanish Muslims are concentrated in three regions: Catalonia (427,000), Andalusia (253,000), and Madrid (242,000).43  Andalusia, because of its geographic proximity to North Africa and its need for extensive manpower for agriculture, has attracted comparatively high levels of Muslim immigrants. So has Madrid, which serves as Spain’s largest engine of economic growth and thereby provides greater opportunities for employment to immigrants.44  But Catalonia accounts for the majority of Muslim immigrants, in part because the region’s official antagonism to the Spanish language has led regional authorities to prioritize non-Spanish speaking immigrants in the belief that it would be easier to immerse the newcomers into Catalan separatist culture.

The future of the Muslim population in Catalonia particularly bears watching. The region’s historic secessionist attitudes have been greatly inflamed by recent economic woes and the Catalonians’ frustration with the government in Madrid. The region will hold a referendum on independence in 2014. If the referendum succeeds, the would-be state will have the third-highest concentration of Muslims in Western Europe: 6 percent, or 450,000 out of 7.5 million inhabitants.45  This proportionally larger demographic, however, has galvanized anti-Muslim reactions among some of the region’s non-Muslim citizens. Most visibly, a dozen Catalonian towns became the first in Spain to ban the burqa and the niqab in municipal buildings. Lleida, a city in Western Catalonia whose population is a full 25 percent Muslim, is at the epicenter of this movement. Beyond banning the niqab, its mayor shut down the city’s lone mosque because there were allegedly too many Friday worshippers. In February 2012, angry townspeople began accusing Lleida’s Muslims of poisoning dogs in revenge.46   

Indeed, access to mosques has been a source of intense friction among rural Spanish communities. Between the mid-1990s and 2012, there have been 60 registered disputes between Muslim communities and their Spanish neighbors over the construction of mosques.47  Riay Tatary, president of UCIDE, has angrily protested what is perceived as a segregationist movement to “exile” mosques by relocating them to areas outside of city and residential neighborhoods.48  The most publicized incident of this nature occurred in 2012 in Torrejon, a town of 120,000 (of which Muslims comprise nearly 10%). The Muslim citizens of the town purchased land to expand the city’s mosque, at the time located near the town’s center. However, angry protests and petitions from the rest of the town’s residents, as well as a demonstration by the anti-immigration Platform for Catalonia, induced the municipal authorities to revoke the building permit and change the site to one near an industrial park outside of town.49  In other instances, residents have strewn pig’s blood and pork meat over potential mosque sites in a deliberate attempt to permanently contaminate the sites in the eyes of Muslims.50  While revealing a measure of grassroots fear in some areas, these acts have the potential to alienate the moderate Spanish Muslim community, even turning some towards radicalization and retribution.

Although Catalonia has been the focal point of such conflict, it mirrors a xenophobic attitude in the entire country that further endangers the peaceful integration of Muslim communities. According to the Pew Global Attitudes Project 2011 Report, 58 percent of non-Muslims in Spain believed that relations between Muslims and Westerners were poor. Sixty-six percent believed that Muslim immigrants do not want to adopt Spanish national customs.51  Among those asked which religion is the most violent, 87% responded “Islam.” Sixty-one percent expressed concern about Islamic extremism at home. Spain was one of the only Western countries in the project in which the majority of the population (63%) had an unfavorable attitude towards Muslims.  Pew also reported that the three top stereotypes about Muslims held by Spanish non-Muslims are “fanatical” (80%), “violent” (61%), and “arrogant” (48%). The report concluded that Spain was the only Western country in which a majority of non-Muslims associate three or more negative characteristics with Muslims.52  In spite of these sentiments, Spanish xenophobia has not yet reared a viable political head. Unlike their counterparts elsewhere in Europe, groups like Plataforma x Catalunya and Spain 2000, which profess a complete rejection of Islam and Muslim immigrants, have been unable to gain much traction among the Spanish population.53  

It is important to note that the majority of Spanish Muslims reject the use of violence and consider themselves well integrated into the broader Spanish community.54  However, for the minority that does not share these feelings, the blend of isolation and xenophobia that they experience is a toxic recipe. Since the Muslim community in Spain is so immigrant-heavy, it encounters many obstacles to integration: unfamiliarity with the Spanish language, lack of documentation, an unnaturally high percentage of unmarried men, and frequent unemployment. All of these factors have the potential to increase dissatisfaction and estrangement, driving the Muslim community away from its non-Muslim counterpart and consequentially increasing the risk of radicalization.55  The 2010 Religious Attitudes study found that approximately four percent of Muslims in Spain do not condemn the use of violence in pursuit of political objectives. This demographic (approximately 50,000 to 60,000 Muslims in Spain) would possibly be more predisposed to radicalization. As the Spanish government struggles with its finances, the resulting social chaos will likely cause increased perceptions of deprivation and insularism on both sides—an aggravated “us versus them” mentality—which radical elements on both sides will no doubt be eager to exploit.

Islamism and the State: 

In light of the wave of burqa bans, the previous government under President Luis Rodríguez Zapatero attempted to pass a new, more expansive Religious Freedom Law in order to redefine Spain as secular and neutral to all forms of religious expression.56  However, the attempt was not successful, and Zapatero acknowledged that the lack of a political and social consensus in Spain would have prevented the law’s passage.57  

Meanwhile, the issue had gained national prominence with the People’s Party’s (PP) June 2010 proposal of a motion urging the Spanish Senate to extend the burqa ban nationwide, both in public buildings and in the street.58  The Zapatero administration rejected the proposal and blocked the passing of that same motion in Congress days later.59  Shortly afterward, the ban came under further attack when eleven mosques and prayer rooms run by Salafist preachers in Lleida, Barcelona, and Tarragona challenged the ban in court. On its second appeal to the Spanish Supreme Court, the Lleida prohibition was overturned in a landmark March 2013 ruling. However, the ruling was based on the judges’ opinion that municipal governments do not have the authority to make a ban that requires the backing of constitutional law. Thus no judicial precedent has yet been set on whether the national government could pass such a measure constitutionally.60  

Mariano Rajoy Brey, the leader of the People’s Party, succeeded Zapatero as President on December 21, 2011. Rajoy appears to be sensitive to the size of the Spanish Muslim population, and in his public statements since taking office he has been careful to distinguish between “Islam” and “Islamism.” However, another recent legal initiative has infuriated Rajoy’s opponents and those wary of Islamist doctrine. Sustained pressure from Rabat, Morocco on the Spanish government led to a controversial agreement passed in February 2013 (and subsequently incorporated into the Spanish legal code) that gave Moroccan religious authorities the right to “monitor” any Moroccan children adopted by Spanish citizens in order to ensure that the children remain religiously and culturally Muslim during their upbringing. Some critics have called this measure “an unprecedented encroachment of Islamic Sharia law within Spanish jurisprudence [and]… a frontal assault on the freedom of religion.”61 

While trying to maintain a policy of religious neutrality, the federal government has adopted an assertive stance in pursuit of jihadist cells. The May 2013 deportation of Moroccan national Noureddin Ziani for disseminating Salafist ideology demonstrates at least a partial commitment by the Spanish government to counter ideas that they deem a “threat to society.”62  Then in June 2013, Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz announced the administration’s intention to amend the Spanish penal code in order to include proselytization from prison and indoctrination by imams in the definition of a crime of terrorism.63  This legal step is likely a response to harsh critiques over the cases of multiple terrorist suspects that have been released from Spanish prisons due to excessive punishment or lack of evidence.64  An inability to convict is an unfortunate consequence of the aggressive policies of quick intervention in cases of suspected terrorism (established in 2004 after the attacks in Madrid)—in many instances, doing so without having the necessary evidence to guarantee a conviction. 

Spain’s counterterrorism strategy remains closely linked to the issues of immigration and border control. Spain is a founding member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum, and maintains an inter-ministerial Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) working group, described by the U.S. State Department as “tied closely to the fight against illegal immigration and the integration of existing immigrant communities.”65  The government has stepped up its cooperation with other Western countries through mechanisms such as the U.S. Immigrant Advisory Program and increased access to Europol information databases on terrorism and organized crime.66 


[1] In a post-9/11 broadcast, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri termed the loss of Andalusia a “tragedy.” For more, see Rafael L. Bardaji and Ignacio Cosidó, “Spain: from 9/11 to 3/11 and Beyond,” in Gary J. Schmitt, ed., Safety, Liberty, and Islamist Terrorism: American and European Approaches to Domestic Counterterrorism (Washington, DC: AEI Press, 2010).
[2] Rogelio Alonso, “The Spread of Radical Islam in Spain: Challenges Ahead,” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 35, no. 6, 2012, 471-491.
[3] Ibid., 478.  
[4] In the study, radical views were found in five percent of the 2,000 adult respondents. See Ministerios de Interior, Justicia y Trabajo, La Comunidad Emigrante En España De Origen Musulmán (Madrid: Demoscopia, April 2010); Comments on this report can be found in Olga R. Sanmartin, “Rubalcaba Dice Que El Gobierno ‘Observa’ Las Mezquitas Radicales [Rubalcaba Says the Government ‘Observes’ Radical Mosques’],” El Mundo (Madrid), April 8, 2010, 14.
[5] Ferrán Balsells, “El Salafismo Se Hace Con El Control De Cinco Mezquitas En Tarragona [Salafism Takes Control Of Five Mosques In Tarragona],” El País (Madrid), June 21, 2010, 31.
[6] “Un ‘juicio’ islamista condeno a una mujer a morir por adultera en Reus [An Islamist ‘trial’ condemns a woman to death in Reus],”, December 5, 2009,
[7] Ferrán Balsells, “La Policía No Haya Pruebas Del Supuesto Juicio Islámico De Tarragona [Spanish Police does not Find Evidence of the Supposed Islamic Trial],” El País (Madrid), June 20, 2010, 27.
[8] See “Marruecos Desarticula Un Grupo Terrorista Vinculado Al 11-M [Morocco Arrests a Terrorist Cell Connected with the March 11, 2004 Attacks],” La Vanguardia (Barcelona), March 3, 2010, 17.
[9] C. Echeverría Jesús, “La Conexión Paquistaní se Consolida También en España [The Pakistani Connection Is Also Acting in Spain],” Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos GEES Analysis, January 23, 2008,
[10] Jose Maria Blanca Navarro and Oscar Perez Ventura, “Movimientos Islamistas en España [Islamist Movements in Spain],” Insituto Español de Estudios Estratégicos, January 11, 2012,
[11] A. Negre, “Justicia Vincula A La Federación Islámica De La Región Con Una Organización Radical [Justice Ties The Islamic Federation Of The Region To A Radical Organization],” La Verdad (Murcia), May 6, 2010, 1-3; “UCIDE Dice Que La Federación Islámica Controla Siete Mezquitas Radicales [UCIDE Says That The Islamic Federation Controls Seven Radical Mosques],” La Verdad (Murcia), May 7, 2010, 13.
[12] “Movimientos Islamistas en España.” See also El Pueblo de Ceuta, July 12, 2009,
[13] Alonso, “The Spread of Radical Islam in Spain: Challenges Ahead,” 485.
[14] “Hizb-ut-Tahrir en España,” Athena Intelligence Journal 2, no. 2, April 21, 2007,
[15] Aaron Mannes, “El Once de Marzo: A Familiar, Maddening Scene,” National Review Online, March 12, 2004,
[16] “Movimientos Islamistas en Espana.”
[17] Ibid.
[18] Some of these detainees have since been released. See Al Goodman, “Spain arrests 2 men suspected of al Qaeda group links,” CNN, April 24, 2013,
[19] “Interior: la operación de Barcelona persigue ‘neutralizar’ el terrorismo yihadista,” Europapress, June 12, 2013,
[20] For a fact-based, detailed account, see Judge Javier Gomez Bermudez, “No Destruirán Nuestra Libertad” [They Will Not Destroy Our Freedom] (Madrid: Temas de Hoy, 2010).
[21] Soeren Kern, “Islamic Supremacy Rears its Head in Spain,” RealClearWorld, June 22, 2013,
[22] “Spain police arrest 5 Tunisians in Barcelona accused of spreading Internet terror propaganda,” FOX News, June 12, 2013,
[23] Goodman, “Spain arrests 2 men suspected of al Qaeda group links.”
[24] “Spain had near-miss with terrorism attributed to Chechen group,” Public Radio International’s The World, April 20, 2013,
[25] United States Department of State, Office of the Coordinator of Counterterrorism, Country Reports on Terrorism 2011 (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of State, July 31, 2012),
[26] Union de Comunidades Islámicas de España, “Estudio demográfico de la población musulmana [Demographic study of the Muslim population],” 2013,
[27] Al Goodman, “5 Terror Suspects On Trial In Madrid,” CNN, May 23, 2010,
[28] See “Recent Highlights in Terrorist Activity,” Combating Terrorism Center at West Point CTC Sentinel 3, iss. 1, January 2010, 27.
[29] “US Embassy feared Barcelona was an Islamist hub,” Deutsche Welle, December 12, 2012,
[30] ibid.
[31] UCIDE, “Estudio demográfico de la población musulmana.”
[32] Ibid; Alonso, “The Spread of Radical Islam in Spain: Challenges Ahead.”
[33] “Germany,” Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook, May 15, 2013,
[34] UCIDE, “Estudio demográfico de la población musulmana.”
[35] See, for example, Hossein Kettani, “Muslim Population in Europe: 1950-2020,” International Journal of Environmental Science and Development 1, no. 2. June 2010,
[36] Alonso, “The Spread of Radical Islam in Spain: Challenges Ahead,”
[37] The websites of FEERI, UCIDE and the Junta are, respectively,,, and They provide some details as to the organization’s ideologies and their program of activities.
[38] Patricia Bezunartea, Jose Manuel Lopez, and Laura Tedesco, “Muslims in Spain and Islamic Religious Radicalism.” Microcon, May 2009,
[39] See Escobar Stemman and Juan José, “Activismo Islámico En España [Islamic Activism In Spain],” Política Exterior 124, July/August 2008.
[40] UCIDE, Estudio demografico de la poblacion musulmana.”
[41] Alonso, “The Spread of Radical Islam in Spain: Challenges Ahead.”
[42] Ibid., 476.
[43] UCIDE, “Estudio demográfico de la población musulmana.”
[44] See “Poblacion Musulmana En España [Muslim Population Of Spain],” El País (Madrid), June 10, 2010.
[45] Soeren Kern, “The Islamic Republic of Catalonia,” Gatestone Institute, October 12, 2012,
[46] Such reports are still unsubstantiated. See Dale Hurd, “Under Siege? Spain resists Islamic invasion,” CBN News, February 12, 2012,
[47] Alonso, “The Spread of Radical Islam in Spain: Challenges Ahead,”480.
[48] “Spanish Muslims denounce the ‘exile’ of their mosques,” El País (Madrid), June 3, 2013,
[49] Guy Hedgecoe, “Local mosque row a Spanish problem,” The Irish Times, July 10, 2012,
[50] Alonso, “The Spread of Radical Islam in Spain: Challenges Ahead.”
[51] Pew Research Global Attitudes Project, “Muslim-Western tensions persist,” July 21, 2011,
[52] Ibid.
[53] “Far-right extremist parties find support across Europe,” Public Radio International, 30 November 2012,
[54] Alonso, “The Spread of Radical Islam”
[55] Kern, “The Islamic Republic of Catalonia.”
[56] “Ni Crucifijos Ni Funerales Católicos [Neither Catholic Crucifixes Nor Funerals],” El Pais (Madrid), 13 June 2006.
[57] Jorge Otero, “Zapatero: ‘La ley de libertad religiosa es conveniente, no urgente,”, 10 Nov 2010.
[58] “Spanish Senate Calls for Nationwide Burqa Ban,” Deutsche Press-Agentur, 23 June 2010,
[59] Alan Clendenning and Harold Heckle, “Spain Rejects Burqa Ban – For Now,” Associated Press, 20 July 2010,
[60] Fiona Govan, “Spain Overturns Islamic face veil ban,” The Telegraph, 1 March 2013,
[61] Soeren Kern, “Islamic Supremacy Rears its Head in Spain,” RealClearWorld, 22 June 2013,
[62] “El gobierno del PP acuerda la expulsion definitive de Espana de Ziani por ‘difundir ideas Salafistas,’” [The government of the People’s Party agrees to Ziani’s definitive expulsion from Spain for spreading Salafist ideas), Noticias de Navarra, 16 May 2013,
[63] “El gobierno quiere tipificar como delito de terrorismo ‘recibir ‘entrenamiento pasivo’ en prisiones, internet, o mezquitas. [The government wants to classify the receipt of ‘passive training’ in prisons, online, or in mosques as a crime of terrorism],” La Vanguardia, June 12, 2013,
[64] Kern, “Islamic Supremacy Rears its Head in Spain.”
[65] United States Department of State, Office of the Coordinator of Counterterrorism, Country Reports on Terrorism 2011.
[66] Ibid; See also United States Department of State, Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Country Reports on Terrorism 2012 (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of State, May 2013),