Feijóo and Abascal incite Islamophobic messages after the attack in Algeciras
Spain is one of the safest countries in Europe, the homicide rate has not stopped falling for more than two decades and, in any case, most of these crimes are committed by citizens with Spanish nationality. Even so, the extreme right of Vox and also the PP of Alberto Núñez Feijóo have taken advantage of the attack against two churches in Algeciras on Wednesday, in which a person was murdered by a young Moroccan, to launch Islamophobic messages and transfer to the population an alarm message.
Feijóo, on the attack in Algeciras: “For centuries you will not see a Christian kill in the name of his religion as other peoples do”
On Wednesday afternoon, police officers arrested a 25-year-old young man for the murder of a sacristan and another attack on a priest, seriously injured, in the aforementioned Cadiz town. The deceased, Diego Valencia, received several machete blows in the La Palma church, while the wounded priest suffered attacks in the San Isidro temple, a few meters from the first church. During the night, the National Police searched the house of the young man, of Moroccan origin, and found the sheath of the knife with which the attack was carried out. The first investigations indicate that the attacker acted alone, erratically and that he consumed jihadist propaganda.
Just minutes after the first information about the attacker’s arrest came out, the leader of Vox, Santiago Abascal, had already launched a tweet in which, in less than forty words, he agitated Islamophobia and denounced the government’s immigration policy. “Some open the doors for them, others finance them and the people suffer from them. We cannot tolerate Islamism advancing on our soil, ”said the message that he spread on his social networks.
This Thursday, both the leader of Vox and many of the members of the party continued to spread this type of hate messages based on unverified or directly false information. “He entered Spain illegally, he had an expulsion order, he was under surveillance for jihadism, he was a squatter. How many will there be like him in Spain?”, he insisted in another tweet.
According to the information that this newspaper has been able to verify, the 25-year-old was arrested on June 16 under the immigration law and an expulsion file was opened for him, although he was later released. The suspect does not appear in the terrorism files of the State Security Forces and Corps and no country collaborating with Spain in anti-terrorism matters had ever alerted him, according to sources from the Ministry of the Interior.
Abascal, however, insisted on maintaining that “the human trafficking mafias and the politicians who open their borders and shower them with subsidies cannot hide their responsibility.” The deputy of his party, Víctor Sánchez del Real, has followed the path set by the leader by pointing out the absence of messages of condolences from the Moroccan embassy in Spain. “The same would be logical, now that the nationality of the jihadist is known, some position or a mere condolence from his embassy in Spain,” he wrote in his profiles on social networks, in which he stated that the Moroccan legation “often” calls on all its citizens “to remind them of their faithfulness”.
The party also took the debate to the European Parliament, where it sent a letter to the presidency of its group to request a debate on a resolution “against the increase in violence and jihadist terrorism against Christians in Spain.”
Islamophobic and xenophobic messages are commonplace among the extreme right, but this Thursday, the leader of the Popular Party, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, also considered it appropriate to make a difference between followers of Catholicism and Islamists. “We must know that there is a problem. There are people who kill in the name of a god or in the name of a religion, and yet we, for many centuries, will not see a Catholic, a Christian, kill in the name of their religion or their beliefs, and there are other peoples that some citizens have who do do it”, he pointed out, at a meeting of the Círculo Ecuestre in Barcelona
Just four years ago, a single man entered the Al Noor Mosque and then the Linwood Islamic Center in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing 51 people and injuring 40. The perpetrator of the massacre was a white supremacist who He later published a manifesto on his networks full of Islamophobic notes and references to the well-known theory of ‘The great replacement’. He justified his action as a way to make up for the “hundreds of thousands of deaths caused by foreign invaders in Europe” throughout history. The same supremacist and ultra-Catholic ideas that the members of the American Ku Klux Klan relied on to commit their crimes and murders, always accompanied by crosses and symbols of Christianity.
The inspiration in certain Christian values also served several of those who attacked the capitol to argue their actions and has served as a foundation for numerous dictatorships in the world, including the Spanish one, to justify their violations of human rights. General Efraín Ríos Montt, who led the Guatemalan dictatorship between 1982 and 1983, was a fundamentalist Protestant with a mission to save the country from him – and even the continent – in the name of Jesus Christ. During his dictatorship, the Mayan population was massacred and he sent the Army to destroy towns suspected of harboring guerrilla sympathizers. In 1955, during the second Government of Juan Domingo Perón, a faction of the Army bombed the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires with planes bearing the inscription ‘Cristo Vence’. 364 people died in the attack and it was the cornerstone of the coup that overthrew the government months later.
“Islamic terrorism is a problem for the whole of European society and we must act together,” the leader of the main opposition party added later. After these comments, he asked for prudence: “For a country in the geographical situation in which we are, it is evident that it has to be treated with great rigor and with a vision of the State (…) we must know if there are certificates or not, if acted alone or not, if there are more suspects and be prudent”.
Feijóo’s words generated such controversy that he himself was forced to try to qualify them a few hours later. “It is evident that what has happened has nothing to do with religions. You cannot criminalize a religion. Fanaticism is one thing, ”he added at the beginning. Immediately afterwards, however, he insisted that “there is not a problem of Catholic terrorism in the world but there is a problem of Islamic fundamentalism in some parts of the world, also in some Islamic countries.” “Everyone who wants to use it in a tortious way is up to him, but I have asked for respect for the facts, prudence and not to use a case of fanaticism to stigmatize or criminalize any religion,” he said.
This call for prudence did not sink in with the party’s think tank either, the FAES foundation headed by former president José María Aznar, which after what happened published a statement in which it predicted that the investigations “will probably reveal a radicalized fanatic, in conflict with the society to which he has arrived and decided to materialize his fanaticism”. FAES believes that there are more like him and warns of the risk that from attacks like this one or those that occurred in other European countries, “which may seem unconnected”, “an organized jihadist terrorism of a purely European matrix will be woven, constitutes a hypothesis that, however remote it may seem, it would be no less dangerous.”
The general secretary of the PP, Cuca Gamarra, asked that the monitoring commission of the anti-jihadist pact be convened because they do not have “information about that attack”, a request to which Ciudadanos adhered. The spokesman for that formation, Guillermo Díaz, asked the Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande Marlaska, to explain how it is possible that the author of the attack continued to “wander” in Spain since his expulsion was decreed seven months ago. The two asked Vox not to take advantage of this event to “stigmatize” a group or to make “propaganda”.
The Islamophobic messages from the right and the extreme right stirred up the PSOE and Unidas Podemos. “The extreme right should not be allowed to try to make a profit,” said Science Minister Diana Morant, who defended the “diversity” of democracy, which will not “allow violence to break coexistence.” The Secretary General of Podemos and Minister of Social Rights, Ione Belarra, described this Thursday as “miserable” the tweet of the leader of Vox, Santiago Abascal, whose policy, she said, is to “spread hatred” against immigration.
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