Radical Islam in Spain: Summary of the Real Instituto Elcano Report

November 18, 2013


1) Seven out of ten Spanish jihadists become radicalized in Spain (homegrown terrorists).

2) They are concentrated in Madrid, Catalonia, Valencia and Ceuta.

3) It takes four to five years to become terrorists.

How are jihadist terrorists radicalized in Spain ? How long does it take them ? Where does this happens? These are some of the answers offered by the Real Instituto Elcano in an investigation that has just been published and signed by experts Fernando Reinares and Carola García-Calvo, who have been assessing Islamist terrorism cases from 1996 to 2012 .

The most striking finding of the report is that radicalization has become a “native” phenomenon in Spain: seven out of ten of those who become jihadists do it on Spanish territory. In terms of age, radicalism has greater impact on those under 30 years with  individuals in their twenties  being the most vulnerable.

However, it is not a widespread phenomenon throughout Spain. 90 per cent of Salafi radicalization cases have been recorded in particular in Madrid, Valencia , Catalonia and Ceuta, places where there is a large Muslim community.

During the research, the authors found a singularity of the ‘ Spanish ‘ phenomenon compared to other countries, as for example in the UK : most cases of recruitment and radicalization does not occur in places of worship, like mosques or Islamic cultural centers, but in private homes.

Once the individual begins the process of radicalization, which is “not irreversible” says the report of the Instituto Elcano, it takes between four and five years before he or she starts acting.

In what concerns the number of women participating in Jihadist activities in Spain, the report offers no indication.


El confidencial digital: http://www.elconfidencialdigital.com/seguridad/Chequeo-radicalismo-islamico-Espana_0_2167583228.html


Full report in Spanish: http://www.realinstitutoelcano.org/wps/portal/rielcano/contenido?WCM_GLOBAL_CONTEXT=/elcano/elcano_es/zonas_es/dt16-2013-reinares-gciacalvo-radicalizacion-terrorismo-yihadista-espana

Demographic study of the Muslim population in Spain

17 February 2013Población+1

In terms of national origin, the two main Muslim groups in Spain are the Spanish and the Moroccan, adding now the growing Pakistani group (a majority in some towns like Barcelona and Valencia); being the rest divided among different nationalities considered in the census made by the Observatorio Andalusi and the Union of Islamic Communities of Spain (UCIDE), for the year 2012.

By its geographical location, the Muslim settlements are higher in the southeastern half of the country, Andalusia, Catalonia, Madrid and Valencia, followed by Murcia, and the clear percentage of Ceuta and Melilla; having smaller presence in the northwest quadrant of the Peninsula.

The reasons to migrate and even to move around Spain are related to the economic crisis; to the search for employment and better life conditions.

Summary of the Demographic Study of Muslims in Spain

The number of Muslims in Spain has reached almost 1.6 million (1,595,221), of which 1.1 million are foreigners in opposition to the 464,978 Spanish Muslims, according to the exploitation of the census of the Muslims in Spain made by the Andalusian Observatory, the autonomous body of the Union of Islamic Communities of Spain (UCIDE).

The study reveals that the community with the highest number of Muslim citizens is Catalonia with 427.138 Muslims from which 66.029 are Spanish; and 361.109 are foreign; followed by Andalusia, with 252,927 Muslims from which 93,579 are Spanish and 159,348 are foreign; and Madrid, with 248,002 Muslims from which 123,952 are Spanish and 124,050 are foreigners.

On the other hand, communities with fewer people professing Islam are Cantabria, with 4.146 Muslim citizens (472 Spanish and 3.674 foreign Muslims); Asturias with 6.386 Muslims (677  Spanish and 5.709 foreign Muslims); and Galicia, with 13,151 Muslims (1.647 Spanish and 11. 504 foreign Muslims).


Muslims represent about 3% of the total population of inhabitants.

30% of Muslims is Spanish while 70% are immigrants (50% Moroccans and 20% of other nationality).

90% of the Muslim students have no Muslim religion classes.
90% of the Teachers of Muslim religion are unemployed.

5% of Islamic religious communities have no mosque or oratory.

95% of the Islamic communities have no cemetery.


Download report PDF

The national Police detains in Valencia a suspect of Islamic terrorism

08 February 2013


Spanish Police Force arrested yesterday in the city of Valencia a suspect of Islamic terrorism, a Moroccan citizen, Mohamed Echaabi.
The monitoring and control carried out by the National Police on the detainee and his activities, have confirmed his intentions to commit terrorist acts against personalities or other targets, according to the doctrine of the Global Jihad, both in Spain and in other European countries, for which the prisoner took steps to acquire firearms and explosives.
Mohamed Echaabi had undergone a process of radicalization by which he gained firm convictions that led him to leave Spain and travel to the Gaza Strip in January 2011, in order to carry out a suicidal action against Israeli interests.
Echaabi is considered by the police as a “lone wolf or a terrorist” recruited by terrorist networks, and self-radicalized through the Internet. Moreover, the alleged terrorist presented a profile almost identical to the one of French terrorist Mohamed Merah, author of several murders in Toulouse (France) in March 2012.

Spanish and Moroccan children separated in the classroom

10 Octobre 2012

The local authorities in Valencia had authorized the creation of two exclusive classrooms for Moroccan children from 3 to 5 years old (at the school La Paz) although having now pushed back the measure. The parents of the Spanish children asked for the North African students to be distributed in the other three centers of Callosa, Valencia.

Arrest without bail for the Al-Qaeda librarian

The head of the Central Court of Instruction, Pablo Ruz, has ordered the prison without bail of Mudhar Hussein Almalki, considering that there is evidence that he was engaged in internet broadcasting of all types of Salafi-jihadi exaltation materials, and manuals on making explosives, gases or poisons.
The judge understood that Hussein Almalki, arrested Tuesday in Valencia, may belong and exercise “activities as a veteran and prominent member of the jihadist support group Ansar Al Mujaideen, following the guidelines and instructions from Al Qaeda.”
Among the numerous documents seized, there was a post of support and exaltation of Mohamed Merah, author of the slaughter of Toulouse.


A Saudi citizen is detained in Valencia for supposed links to al-Qaeda

According to the Civil Guard sources within the al-Qaeda organization the Saudi citizen detained in Valencia is known as the librarian of Al Qaeda. The Civil Guard believes that he ran from Valencia one of the best-known jihadist forums dedicated to indoctrination and recruitment of terrorists. According to the Ministry of Interior the prisoner has provided jihadists with transport and eventual trips to Afghanistan although for now it is not known how many people have made these trips.
The initials of the arrested are M.H.A. Born in Amman and of Saudi nationality, he was being tracked since February 2011by the Central External Unit of the Spanish Civil Guard.
The Civil Guard sources say that the Valencia detainee worked directly for Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. The pattern is repeated: Married to a Spanish woman with whom he had a daughter, living in Spain, dedicated fully to his terrorist activities (8 to 15 hours a day), and known in police circles for acting as a leader in scenarios such as mosques and other places that were used as jihadist schools. The operation remains open and more than 100 Civil Guard officers have participated in the investigations.

Spanish Muslims ask not to generalize isolated terrorist acts and fear even more Islamophobia

Levante-EMV – 31/03/2012

On Friday sermon at the Islamic Cultural Center of Valencia,
the Toulouse killings in France were condemned and it was highlighted that this violent behavior had nothing to do with Islam. Just four days later, the Muslim communities of Valencia were painfully surprised by the arrest of the Al Qaeda Librarian, a Saudi ‘jihad’ accused of capturing terrorists through the Internet and encouraging the implementation of terrorist acts.
With “fear” that this will result in “an increase in Islamophobia” in the Region Valencia, the president of the Islamic Cultural Center of Valencia, Abdelaziz Hammaoui, launched yesterday “an appeal for calm to the whole society”, and “not generalize” these isolated attitudes because “that can do great damage not only to the Muslim community, but to the Spanish society as a whole, and can break down the work of awareness and approach we have been doing in recent years. Do not fall in what these people precisely want to plant: discord and hate. “

Torrent’s mosque will not be relocated

October 25th, 2010

The Muslim community in Torrent (situated in the region of Valencia) has voted against the relocation of the local mosque proposed by a neighbours association. As the local Muslim community has grown, the old location is no longer adequate for the number of believers that gather especially on Friday and during the Aid, when some of the people need to pray on the street due to the lack of space inside the small mosque. As this bothers the neighbours, the community has been looking for a possible relocation for the past five years, however on different occasions the relocation could not go through due to the opposition of some of the future neighbours. The Neighbours Association proposed a possible space but the Muslim community voted against it, as the new location would suppose a higher economic cost, larger distance and possibly higher insecurity.

Most deceased Muslims are repatriated to their home countries

October 25th, 2010

Representatives of the Muslim community in Lorca ask the town council to lend a place in the public cemetery for the burial of Muslims. As there is no Muslim cemetery in the city, the deceased are transported to the close-by region of Valencia or repatriated to their home countries to be buried. This repatriation can cost the families up to 3.000 euros.

Muslim organizations in Valencia unite to negotiate with Regional administration

Some Muslim organizations in Valencia reached an agreement to join forces and create a temporary commission in order to found the Islamic Commission of the Autonomous Region of Valencia. The Commission would unite 100 Islamic associations. It is conceived as a union of moderate and progressive Islamic entities and means to marginalize those associations that do not conform to the democratic values.