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EXTREMISM

Court in Spain approves deportation of ‘Salafist’ extremist to Morocco

A court in Spain has approved the deportation of a Moroccan Muslim activist, who is accused of being one of the "main advocates" in Spain of the Salafist movement of ultra-conservative Islamism.

national court spain madrid
The National Court also approved Thursday the deportation of another Moroccan, Amarouch Azbir, who is in charge of the Al Furquan mosque in the Catalan port of Vilanova i la Geltru. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

Police arrested Mohamed Said Badaoui on Tuesday in the northeastern province of Tarragona, where he was the president of the Association for the Defence of the Rights of the Muslim Community (Adedcom).

The 40-year-old was transferred to Madrid and he will be deported to Morocco on Thursday, the National Court said in a ruling dated October 19 which was only made public Thursday.

The court said it had approved the interior ministry’s deportation order due to “his participation in activities contrary to national security” and “public order”.

Spanish police consider Badaoui to be “one of the main advocates in Spain of the most orthodox Salafism, which he preaches so influentially that an increase in radicalism occurred in Tarragona” since he moved there, it added in its ruling.

Tweet posted by Badaoui which reads “You are not only responsible for what you do, but also for what you do not do, what you do not defend and what you remain silent about.” 

They also accuse him of “taking advantage” of the “vulnerability” of minors who arrive in Spain without their parents, “mainly of Moroccan origin”, to indoctrinate them in the “most radical Salafism,” which promotes a strictly conservative lifestyle.

Badoui has rejected these accusations. Well-known in Spain’s northeastern region of Catalonia where he has lived for nearly three decades, he presents himself as an activist and anti-racism campaigner.

He has been supported by Catalonia’s main separatist parties which govern the region as well as by the regional branch of far-left party Podemos, the junior partner in Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s coalition government.

In a joint statement the parties said police had accused Badoui of “religious extremism” without providing proof.

The National Court also approved Thursday the deportation of another Moroccan, Amarouch Azbir, who is in charge of the Al Furquan mosque in the Catalan port of Vilanova i la Geltru.

He is also accused of promoting Salafism and was also arrested on Tuesday in a separate police operation.

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EXTREMISM

Spain to repatriate women and children of IS fighters from Syria

Spain has decided to repatriate several Spanish wives and children of Islamic State fighters from jihadist detention camps in Syria, the government said Monday.

Spain to repatriate women and children of IS fighters from Syria

The return of relatives of captured or killed jihadist fighters from Syria and Iraq has been a thorny issue for European countries since the fall of the Islamic State group’s so-called “caliphate” in 2019.

Thousands of extremists in Europe decided to join the group as fighters, often taking their wives and children to live in the “caliphate” declared in territory conquered in Iraq and Syria.

Spain plans to repatriate three women and 13 children before the end of the year, a government source told AFP, confirming a report in top-selling Spanish daily El País.

One of the women is married to an Islamic State fighter and the other two are widows of jihadist fighters.

Previously, Spain has refused to repatriate such family members of jihadist fighters.

The women face charges of cooperating with a terrorist organization for allegedly aiding the Islamic State group. If convicted, they face jail terms of up to five years.

The women have been in the detention camps since 2019. They say they were tricked by their husbands to go to Syria and did not take part in any jihadist activities, according to El País.

Spain has also agreed to repatriate a Moroccan woman who is the widow of a Spanish fighter and the couple’s three children, but they fled from a detention camp near Iraq in 2020 and their whereabouts is unknown.

France, Germany and the Netherlands are among the other European nations which have repatriated relatives of jihadist fighters this year or announced plans to do so.

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