The jihadist terror group Islamic State, formerly the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), has made clear their intentions to create an Islamic caliphate that extends across most of Europe and Asia. They are now further emphasizing their intention of capturing Spain, “land of our forefathers,” in a Spanish-language video.
The video, released by ISIS and translated by the Middle East Media Research Project, shows two jihadists currently in Syria who have a message in Spanish for the Muslims of Spain. Neither jihadist gives a name, though the one apparently “hosting” the clip introduces “my brother” in Spanish. Also speaking in Spanish, the brother vows in the name of the terrorist group to “liberate” all Muslim land.
“We are going to die for her until we liberate all the occupied lands, from Jakarta to Andalusia, Allah willing,” the brother says, referring to the capital of Indonesia and the southern state of Spain, which was populated by Muslims in the medieval era. He concludes that “Spain is the land of our forefathers, and, Allah willing, we are going to liberate it, with the might of Allah.”
The intent to capture Spain should be no surprise, but the extent to which ISIS is expanding its propaganda to include far-reaching lands with no affiliation to its original definition of the Islamic State – Iraq and Syria – is alarming. A map distributed through social media by supporters of the group shows what many consider the ultimate goal of the terrorist organization: a state under the yoke of their interpretation of Islamic law that stretches from Andalusia to the western territories of China. The map also includes India, Sri Lanka, and a number of post-Soviet territories.
The Spanish government has been actively fighting the spread of jihadism in the country for years. This June, the Spanish government arrested eight individuals suspected of entering the country to recruit young Muslim men to the cause of jihad. The government noted in announcing that arrest that it had detained several dozen men believed to have jihadist ties and be engaging in jihadist activity. The threat to Spain and Europe generally from jihadists is so great that Attorney General Eric Holder publicly requested of his European counterparts they use the legal system more strongly to combat violent Islamism.
“Clearly Spain forms part of the strategic objectives of global jihad. We are not the only ones, but we are in their sights obviously,” said Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz in March, as the nation mourned the tenth anniversary of the Al Qaeda subway bombing in Madrid. Fernández Díaz noted then that Spanish law enforcement was assigning 1,800 Spanish police and counter-terrorist security forces to combat the threat.