Spain And The Islamic Republic Of Catalonia
By Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute – “A successful push for independence in the Spanish autonomous region of Catalonia would lead to the establishment of a country with the third-largest percentage of Muslims in Western Europe, just behind France and Belgium, and far ahead of Britain and Germany.
An independent Catalonia, with its capital in Barcelona, would also be home to the largest concentration of radical Islamists in Europe; it would emerge as ground-zero for Salafi-Jihadism on the continent and become one of the top incubators for Islamist terrorism in the West…
On September 25, Mas announced a snap election in Catalonia (to be held on November 25), which is being viewed as a plebiscite to gauge popular support for his pro-independence platform. The Catalan parliament also approved a resolution to hold a non-binding referendum on secession once the new legislature is installed.
The ruling parties of Catalonia have also sought guidance from Brussels on the legality of secession from Spain, requesting a ‘roadmap’ for membership of the European Union, along with the use of the euro, as an independent state.
Catalonia has 7.5 million inhabitants, including an estimated 450,000 Muslims, who account for 6% of the total Catalan population. In some Catalan towns and cities, the Muslim population now reaches up to 40% of the population.
As a result of mass immigration from Muslim countries, which began in the 1980s, Catalonia has emerged as ‘a major Mediterranean center for radical Islamists,’ and the United States has even proposed setting up an intelligence hub at the U.S. Consulate in Barcelona to counter the growing threat, according to American diplomatic cables that were obtained by Wikileaks and published by the Madrid-based El País newspaper.
A five-page cable, dated October 2, 2007, for example, describes the link between mass immigration to Catalonia and the rise of radical Islamism in the region.
The document, which is classified ‘secret’ and apparently authored by then-Ambassador Eduardo Aguirre, states: ‘Heavy immigration — both legal and illegal — from North Africa (Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria) and Southeast Asia (Pakistan and Bangladesh) has made Catalonia a magnet for terrorist recruiters. … The Spanish National Police estimates that there may be upwards of 60,000 Pakistanis living in Barcelona and the surrounding area; the vast majority are male, unmarried or unaccompanied, and without legal documentation. There are even more such immigrants from North Africa. … They live on the edges of Spanish society, they do not speak the language, they are often unemployed, and they have very few places to practice their religion with dignity. … Individually, these circumstances would provide fertile ground for terrorist recruitment; taken together, the threat is clear.’…
Salafism is a branch of radical Islam that seeks to forcibly re-establish an Islamic empire (Caliphate) across the Middle East, North Africa and Spain, which Salafists view as a Muslim state that must be reconquered for Islam.” Read more.