One of the most influential Salafists in Spain has been deported to Morocco after Spanish authorities accused him of promoting Islamic separatism and of being a national security risk. The expulsion, vociferously opposed by “woke” activist groups and vote-seeking politicians, has cast a renewed spotlight on the insidious alliance between Islamists and Leftists in Spain who shamelessly exploit each other to achieve their political goals. It has also shed new light on how Islamists are taking advantage of pre-existing divisions in the societies they seek to influence. If the process proceeds unchecked, experts warn that it could result in the creation of an Islamist enclave in the Iberian Peninsula.
Mohamed Said Badaoui, a prominent Salafist in Catalonia, a region in northeastern Spain, was deported to Morocco on November 19 after losing several appeals against his expulsion order. He has been banned from returning to Spain for ten years.
Spain’s General Commissariat for Information (Comisaría General de Información, CGI), a domestic intelligence service within the National Police (Policía Nacional), accused Badaoui of being “one of the main advocates in Spain of the most orthodox Salafism, which he preaches, with such influence that there has been an increase in radicalism in the Tarragona region [near Barcelona] because of his speech.”
The CGI added that Badaoui, 40, has dedicated himself “for years” to “proselytizing and recruitment activities, especially with the most vulnerable and manipulable groups, paying special attention to minors, specifically unaccompanied minors, mainly of Moroccan origin, taking advantage of their situation of vulnerability, indoctrinating them in the most radical Salafism.”
Badaoui is further accused of having “ties to radical individuals linked to terrorism,” of disseminating “pro-jihadist postulates,” of promoting “victimhood and Westernophobia,” and of “interfering in politics to destabilize the Spanish State and its institutions.”
Islamists who are deemed to pose a threat to national security are routinely deported from Spain without much fanfare. Badaoui’s case, however, has generated significant media attention. Human rights organizations and other activist groups have organized pro-Badaoui rallies and the Catalan government has lodged a formal complaint about the deportation with the European Union.
Spanish intelligence analysts told FWI that Badaoui’s case is unique because it manifests a confluence of interests between Islamists and activists who espouse “wokeism,” a Marxist political ideology ostensibly focused on “social justice,” but that in reality seeks the same objective as the one pursued by Islamists: the end of liberal democracy.
To achieve their goals, politically astute Islamists like Badaoui have tactically aligned with the woke movement on select issues such as immigration, racism and “Islamophobia.” At the same time, Leftist groups benefit from the political legitimacy bestowed upon them by their “inclusive” association with Islamist groups.
The alliance between Islamists and Leftists is built upon a foundation of hypocrisy because of the impossibility of reconciling their competing views on the rights of women, gays, and transsexuals. As a result, both sides choose to remain silent about the other side’s position on these issues. “Islamist ideologues are willing to co-operate with non-Muslim Leftists as long as it serves their purposes,” Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born Dutch-American advocate for the rights and self-determination of Muslim women, recently warned in an in-depth article about the Islamist embrace of wokeism.
The alliance of convenience appears to be a win-win situation for both sides, as Islamists and wokeists often leverage their collaboration to obtain taxpayer-funded public subsidies to perpetuate their activism.
Badaoui, a self-proclaimed anti-racism campaigner, heads a Spain-based activist group, the Association for the Defense of the Rights of the Muslim Community (Asociación para la Defensa de los Derechos de la Comunidad Musulmana, ADEDCOM), that claims to promote “multicultural coexistence” between Muslims and non-Muslims in Catalonia.
In court documents, Spanish police said that Badaoui leveraged ADEDCOM to ingratiate himself with woke and separatist politicians and pressured them into carving out special privileges for Muslims. He allegedly tried to “neutralize” an initiative to prevent the radicalization of Muslim youth and sought to “impose” the use of the hijab head covering in schools and hospitals and on identity documents. He was also accused of “leading” a lawsuit to obtain a special status for Muslims “outside the Spanish legal system.”
Badaoui has denied the accusations against him and insists that his deportation was politically motivated. “They are going against me and want me to stop claiming the rights of the Muslim community, which I will continue to do until the day I die,” he said. He has also blamed “Islamophobia” for his plight: “I am very sure that if I were not a Muslim person, I would not be criminalized in this way,” he claimed. “Without a doubt, there is Islamophobia in my case and behind all the cases of people who are accused of radicalism.”
Woke defenders of Badaoui have accused the Spanish government of “political repression” and “Islamophobia.” In a statement, the Catalan Parliament claimed that Badaoui’s deportation was aimed at “preventing immigrants, especially Muslims, from living their lives to the fullest,” and called on the Catalan government to “activate all administrative, legal and diplomatic tools” to prevent Badaoui’s expulsion from Spain.
Although Badaoui promotes Salafism, an ideology that encourages gender segregation, his cause has been embraced by wokeists who claim to be advocates for feminism. One of his staunchest defenders is Tània Verge, who as head of the Catalan government’s Department of Equality and Feminism recently launched a publicity campaign that encouraged women to go topless in public spaces to “fight against discrimination against women.” Verge, ignoring Badaoui’s efforts to force Muslim women in Spain to wear veils when in public, tweeted pictures of herself posing with him and insisted that “participation in public life cannot be penalized according to nationality.”
Najat el Hachmi, a Spanish-Moroccan feminist author based in Catalonia, has been sharply critical of Spanish feminists for their hypocritical alliance with the Islamists. She accused leading woke politicians of ignoring the plight of Muslim women in Spain. “We continue to be locked up in the prisons of Islam and Islamism,” she wrote. “The veil is the visible part of an infinity of rules that tell us how we have to dress, behave, with whom we can relate and with whom not.” Spanish feminists have, unsurprisingly, dismissed to El Hachmi’s concerns.
Spanish commentator Pablo Planas, an expert in Catalan politics, believes the leftwing parties are hypocritically supporting Badaoui because they covet the local Muslim vote. In a recent opinion article for Libertad Digital, he wrote that “the Maghrebi community is a granary of votes and Badaoui controls a not inconsiderable percentage of the electorate.”
Another commentator, Ignacio Cembrero, linked the unusually large “mobilization” of Leftist support for Badaoui to the Catalan independence movement. In an essay published by El Confidencial, he argued that the aim of the independence parties is to prevent “Muslim voters from derailing the nationalist project, as happened in Quebec in 1995, when, by a tiny margin, immigrants who had recently obtained Canadian nationality, voted against the independence of the French-speaking province.”
Catalonia has 7.5 million inhabitants, including an estimated 600,000 Muslims, who account for 8% of the total Catalan population. A police report leaked to Cadena Ser, a major Spanish radio network, noted that an independent 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. The report said that the main Salafist leaders in Catalonia would support secession from Spain “because that way it would be easier for them to carry out their idea of the ideal state.”
In an interview with the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, Hirsi Ali warned Catalan separatists that their embrace of Islamists will end badly for them: “If the Catalan nationalists continue to favor Muslim immigration and the creation of Islamic infrastructures, they will end up having a Catalonia that is independent, not from Spain but from the West, from modernity, peace, tolerance and civil liberties.”
Soeren Kern is a contributor to Focus on Western Islamism.