Since 2010, Barcelona has seen the largest concentration of radical Islamists in Europe, a ground-zero for Salafi-Jihadism on the continent and one of the top incubators for Islamist terrorism.
Catalonia, historically one of the wealthiest and most industrialized regions of Spain, boasts an economy of which is larger than Portugal’s. But Catalan politicians are blaming the central government in Madrid for the region’s current economic woes, and not immigration.
As the Catalan saying goes, the elephant in the room has been the steady influx of migrants, but the issue remains mum: Tothom és amo del que pensa i esclau del que diu [Everyone owns what is on their mind but are a slave to the consequences of their words].
From 2011 to 2015, the number of Muslims in Catalonia has grown by 19.5 percent. That translates into 83 000 newcomers in 4 years. Moreover, the risk of terrorist attacks has tripled while the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, has made funding of 100 000 euros available to an observatory “against Islamophobia”.
Immigrants now number more than one million people in a population of only 7 million. Cities like Barcelona house a non-European population of more than 30 percent.
While the issue of independence of Catalonia has been covered at length by the European media, the fact that behind push for autonomy there are also local Muslim communities, gets almost no coverage in Europe.
Leading Islamists in Catalonia support the Catalan separatist movement, including Abdelwahab Houzi, a Moroccan Salafist in the city of Lleida. The current imam of the Palau de Vidre community, Houzi,
invited “a wise Salafist from Algeria” to promote sharia laws last year.
As revealed by a Moroccan eyewitness who videotaped a speech in 2010 and sent it to Spanish media on condition of anonymity due to the imam’s vast influence, Houzi bluntly advocated using the pro-independence, far-leftist Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) movement to Islamize the region.
“We must take advantage of the independentistas because they rely on us to get votes, but what they do not know is that when they let us vote we will all vote for the Islamic parties because we do not believe in left and right. This will make us win local councils, and as we begin to accumulate power in the Catalan autonomous region, Islam will begin to be implemented.”
The Islamist-Separatist alliance is so strong that some 10 000 Catalans with links to the separatist movement even converted to Islam in recent years.
There are no less than five Salafi mosques in Barcelona. The Barcelona mega-mosque, larger than the iconic architectural masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia now dominates Barcelona’s skyline. This 2,2 billion Euro project is the third-largest mosque in the world, after those of Mecca and Medina.
And the Catalan independence movement has shamelessly pandered to Muslim voters: “If you support us in the referendum, there will be a mosque.”