Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Spain: Catalonia's Continuing Jihad Problem

In this mailing:
  • Soeren Kern: Spain: Catalonia's Continuing Jihad Problem
  • Judith Bergman: Sweden: New Government, Old Policies

Spain: Catalonia's Continuing Jihad Problem

by Soeren Kern  •  January 22, 2019 at 5:00 am
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  • Police said that the jihadis were known to have committed at least 369 robberies and thefts in and around Barcelona. In addition to theft, the cell members sustained themselves through drug trafficking and document fraud.
  • "There is little doubt that the autonomous region of Catalonia has become a prime base of operations for terrorist activity. Spanish authorities tell us they fear the threat from these atomized immigrant communities prone to radicalism, but they have very little intelligence on or ability to penetrate these groups." — American diplomatic cable, October 2, 2007.
  • "The Salafist religious centers detected in Catalonia are opposed to any reading of the Qur'an that is not the most rigorous... and at the same time are demanding a 'purification' of Muslim believers from foreign influences.... This religious interference results in the... prohibition, especially for female teenagers, of attending schools with male students. This supposes a deep break with the values ​​of individual freedom that are guaranteed by the laws of Europe." — Intelligence report leaked to the Catalan newspaper La Vanguardia.
Police in the Spanish region of Catalonia recently arrested 18 members of a jihadi cell plotting an attack in Barcelona, drawing renewed attention to the continuing problem of radical Islam in Catalonia. Pictured: Police and medics tend to wounded survivors of a terrorist attack by Younes Abouyaaqoub in Barcelona, on August 17, 2017. Abouyaaqoub murdered 15 people and wounded 130 others. (Photo by Nicolas Carvalho Ochoa/Getty Images)
Police in the northeastern Spanish region of Catalonia arrested 18 members of a jihadi cell plotting an attack in Barcelona — and then released all but three.
The arrests have drawn renewed attention to the continuing problem of radical Islam in Catalonia, which has one of the largest per capita Muslim populations in Europe.
The cell — comprised of individuals from Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya and Morocco — was broken up on January 15, when more than a hundred police officers raided five properties in Barcelona and the Catalan town of Igualada.
The arrests were part of a year-long counter-terrorism investigation called "Operation Alexandra," launched in May 2017 after police received a tip that local jihadis were preparing an attack.

Sweden: New Government, Old Policies

by Judith Bergman  •  January 22, 2019 at 4:00 am
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  • Keeping the Sweden Democrats away from any kind of political influence seemingly became the main reason the government crisis lasted so long. Swedish political leaders are especially opposed to the policies of the Sweden Democrats concerning immigration.
  • "Sweden needs to build a migration policy from scratch, with fixed rules, and respect for the country's borders, citizens and laws... Fire brigades and ambulances cannot move into immigrant-dominated areas without armed escort. Those who live and work in our suburbs get their stores robbed, broken or taken over by criminals. The few perpetrators who are actually sentenced for serious crimes escape with mild punishment, while their victims do not receive support or redress. As a result of the uncontrolled immigration, terrorists... walk freely on the streets and squares and utilize our welfare and asylum systems." — Sweden Democrats.
  • There is not a word in the new agreement about terrorism and internal security, even though the Swedish Security Service (Säpo), in a January 15 press release, stated, "The level of the terror threat remains elevated, a three on a five-point scale. This means that a terrorist act is likely to occur".
Pictured: Sweden's House of Parliament (Riksdagshuset) in Stockholm. (Image source: Holger.Ellgaard/Wikimedia Commons)
On January 18, more than four months after Sweden's September elections, Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven became prime minister for a second term, when he won the backing of the Swedish parliament: 115 parliamentarians from his own party and its coalition partner (the environmentalist Green Party) voted for his proposed government coalition, while 77 parliamentarians abstained and 153 voted against. There are 349 seats in the parliament.
Under Swedish parliamentary rules, a prospective prime minister can form a government even if he has not secured a majority of votes, as long as there is not a majority against him in parliament. Löfven was far from winning a majority of votes, prompting the question whether, despite becoming prime minister for a second term, he actually won the election.


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