The Muslim Brotherhood wants the progressive Islamization of European societies | Atalayar
Abel Vecino, Legal Attaché, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Embassy of the United States of America in Spain, highlighted the disturbing rise of racially and ethnically motivated violent extremism in the United States and Europe, insisting on strengthening shared collaboration in the face of this new global threat, which he described as “domestic terrorism”. He also highlighted the important work being done to prevent terrorist groups from spreading their messages through the Internet.
These statements were made to the 9th Elcano Forum on Global Terrorism, which this year addressed “Terrorism-related Extremism in the West: Emerging and Persistent Challenges”. Experts in the field analyzed the challenges posed by recurring phenomena like radical Islamism and other new phenomena that are gaining strength in the United States and Europe, such as the rise of the far right.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Legal Attaché Abel Vecino insisted on strong and effective reciprocity of information and intelligence to deal with standard forensic investigative techniques of both countries, Spain and the United States., as well as the exchange of experiences as established parameters to combat this scourge and without ignoring the forms of action poured into the technological system that eliminate extremist content on the Internet. “Spain has a bitter experience and we thank them for their cooperation because when you give oxygen to hatred, it comes out of stones.” It is a very relevant threat to the internal security of every country due to its rapid expansion at the moment,” said Abel Vecino.
During the first roundtable, Lorenzo Vidino, director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, warned that the objective of this forum was to contribute to an ongoing debate in Spanish society on the Muslim Brotherhood, whose objectives in Europe are: to become leaders in the European communities, to talk to the privileged members of the administrations or official representatives of a homogeneous community, to approach the legislative power and to polarize society with a false face. Vidino also warned of the imminent risk and breeding ground of a legalistic Islamism that operates within the law, “the greatest threat to democracy and the rule of law: the Muslim Brotherhood and their presence in Spain, mixed with political lobbying and jihadists”. derivatives”. The Muslim Brotherhood pursues the progressive Islamization of European societies, protecting Islamic identity and social anchoring through an orthodox interpretation of Islam.
In his own words in a study with Sergio Altuna, associate researcher at the Royal Elcano Institute, Granada, Madrid, Valencia and Catalonia are the main centers of Muslim Brotherhood activity in Europe. The presence of networks linked to the movement is not limited to these cities. Associated militants operate in other regions with varying intensity. The Islamic Center of Spain quickly realized the strategic importance of the place where Nizar Ahmad al-Sabbagh, the first leader of the Brotherhood and founder of the center, settled to serve as its leader and khatib (head of the Friday prayer).
In conclusion, Vidino posed a question: “Is the Brotherhood a threat or a terrorist group?” and thus gives way to the final presentation of his speech on the push of the Muslim Brotherhood network for an Islamophobic narrative (Islam is under attack), coupled with the justification of violence. Arguments that impact the minds of 18-year-olds via the Internet.
During the second round table, Manuel Rodríguez García-Risco, chief commissioner of the Central External Information Unit of the National Police, made it clear that the forces and state security bodies prosecute crimes and not ideological currents, however radical they may be. Behavior related to radicalism is sometimes not prosecuted as a terrorist offence. It should be noted that the jihadist threat in neighboring countries is inspiring, across the online spectrum, the recruitment of young people. Recently, local franchises of Al-Qaeda have been detected, which does not mean that they will commit terrorist acts. Similarly, in August, a returnee from the Balkans was arrested, “which increases our concern, compared to those returning by sea, who are subject to a biometric protocol”.
The Colonel-in-Chief of the Special Central Unit 2 of the Information Headquarters of the Guardia Civil, Francisco José Vázquez, pointed out the importance of international collaboration with the United States, precisely because of the presence of radicalization in prisons, as well as the emergence of the lone wolf, a phenomenon that does not manifest its presence in organizations. It is a person who does not leave his physical space, connected to the internet, where he consumes content such as the oath of allegiance, the manufacture of his own explosives, etc. During recent operations, profiles have been identified in the field of conversion, linked to the processes of transition to extremism, behavioral problems, membership of the army and the recruitment of minors. “It’s an explosive cocktail”.
Today there is a change of mechanisms in the production of content in Spanish, linked to networked media tools, exposed to the public and reproduced, in turn, by spontaneous agents. “We are talking about vectors of penetration in Spain and Latin America”. “In the identification and dissemination of propaganda, we carry out enormous activities with the idea of obstructing the space of terrorists, making it uncomfortable for them to use this platform.”
In the third panel, Cynthia Miller-Idriss, professor at the School of Public Service, American University, argued that the far right is a very complex concept to define as it includes neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic, anti-LGBTBI, white supremacist, anti-government and conspiracy theories, with no clear leader. Strategies devised earlier, after 9/11, to deal with terrorist violence do not correspond to the emerging far-right phenomenon. There is democratic deterioration, political violence and white supremacism, rooted in a subculture (the widespread belief that white people are superior to other ethnicities) of global online networks that fuel gun-related extremism in the media: an existential threat to immigration in its own right, identified with criminality.
Thereby, the human potential for extremism has grown across a broad spectrum this includes the paramilitary training of young people, the creation of suspicious Muslim communities, the conspiracy theory refuted by the argument that everything European is going to be destroyed by the immigrant, as well as the anti-COVID movements.
During the closing session, the Secretary of State for Security of the Ministry of the Interior, Rafael Pérez Ruiz, recalled that the latest police actions have identified 1,124 user profiles dedicated to the dissemination of terrorist and extremist content, and located and removed 563 digital contents on 106 Internet sites, which served as guidance for the manufacture of explosives or for the preparation and execution of terrorist attacks.
In any case, the Secretary of State for Security stressed tit must continue to be “proactive” in the fight against terrorist groups in order to anticipate their recruitment, induction and training plans and to dismantle their financing structures throughout the world.
The Royal Elcano Institute Forum has support from the U.S. Embassy in Spain, the Secretary of Security at the Department of the Interior, and the Extremism Program at George Washington University.
Carmen Chamorro Garcia Director CIP and ACPE