Thursday, December 10, 2009

Spain: "Nonviolent" Islamic Salafism and Vigilante Sharia Law

I've added a new label for my blogs posts, Salafism. At the end of the post on the growing number of women wearing headscarves in Egypt, we came to understand that the Salafist goal was Sharia Law.

I didn't post the story of the woman in Spain who had been kidnapped and sentenced to death by a Sharia court for adultery, because I thought it was just a one off horrible peculiar story. But this analysis by Paola Del Vecchio for ANSAmed links the case to others in the region and attributes the behavior to Salafists. So, we may be looking at a trend:

MADRID, DECEMBER 8 - The reported capturing of a Muslim women in Reus (Tarragona) and the issuing of a stoning sentence for adultery by religious fanatics are a gauge of a phenomenon that has already appeared in Holland and France, and which is now taking root in Catalonia: the creation of Islamic "moral brigades" by fundamentalists, who claim the role of judges and police officers imposing a strict observance of Sharia, or Islamic law.

The theatre of the incursions of these Islamic "moral patrols" are the rural towns where the mosques are controlled by Salafists, a fundamentalist sect of Islam, with a substantial presence in the province of Tarragona. These groups are heavily inspired by the Koran and the rigid regulations applied in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Nigeria.

Confirming investigators' worries are several disturbing episodes reported by police. Specifically, on November 14, nine alleged Islamic extremists were arrested, accused of having captured and sentenced a Northern African woman to death after convicting her of adultery. The investigation, still in the preliminary phases, is classified. However, according to reports in the media, the woman was captured and held for three days in an abandoned factory, and then in the home of the group's spiritual leader in Reus, where she was tried before an "Islamic tribunal" made up of seven people, who found her guilty of infidelity and sentenced her to death by stoning. The woman, who was pregnant, managed to escape and call the Catalonian police, the Mossos d'Esquadra, for help, and she is currently under their protection. In the meanwhile, the operation against the fundamentalist cell is ongoing.

Investigators have warned that the phenomenon of these "brigades", which could increase, has not only been found in Tarragona, but also in the provinces of Girona and Segarra, where mosques are controlled by Salafites. Many of the victims do not dare report their persecution, and intimidation continues for them. Investigators have confirmed beatings and segregation by their parents or spouses of women who do not wear veils, and the case of a Moroccan teenager who was beaten because he played football with other non-Muslim children.

It is also important to note that Salafists have been understood to be apolitical and nonviolent. The AP article by Sarah al Deeb on Egyptian women wearing headscarves stated:
Salafi groups are nonpolitical and shun the violent teachings that drove Egypt's Islamic insurgency in the 1990s.

But Wikipedia has this entry about Salafi Jihadis. Notice that this entry actually classifies Al Queda as a Salafi group.

Hat Tip: Women Against Shariah

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