Police arrested the president of Spain’s Islamic commission, Mohamad Ayman Adlbi, on suspicion of having links to the financing of al Qaeda.
Spanish national police arrested Adlbi and two other suspects on Wednesday as part of an anti-terrorism operation. Adlbi, 74, was released after giving a statement to officers, but police sources told Spanish media that the investigation is ongoing.
“We must express our great displeasure that this has reached the point of detention when it could have been resolved with an interview,” Adlbi said in a statement, according to newspaper El Paìs, and called the suspicions against him “unfounded”.
Syrian-born Adlibi has headed the Islamic Commission of Spain (CIE) — which serves as the main representative entity for Muslims in the country and manages mosques, schools, and cemeteries — since July of last year.
Prosecutors Identify 416 French Islamic State Donors, Terror Group’s Cash Estimated in The Billions
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 27, 2018
Police sources say that the investigation that led to Adlbi’s temporary detention stems from a 2019 police operation that resulted in the arrest of ten Syrian nationals.
The arrested men allegedly ran a financial network that siphoned off cash in small quantities and sent the money to the Syrian region of Idlib, where one of the men arrested is said to have family linked to al Qaeda.
A similar network was uncovered in France in 2018 when Paris prosecutor François Molins revealed that over 400 French nationals had helped fund Islamic State through a multitude of “micro-transactions”.
Radical Islamic terrorism remains a major security issue in Spain, with a top Islamic State fighter and two other suspects arrested in April 2020.
Police described the Egyptian-born ISIS member as a “dangerous extremist” who was said to have arrived in the country illegally from North Africa.