Hundreds of Muslims gathered just meters away from where the Barcelona terror attack of last Thursday took place to protest against Islamic-inspired violence.
Spain was hit by its worst terrorist attack in more than a decade on 17 August, when a van driver rammed into dozens of people enjoying a sunny afternoon on one of Barcelona’s most famous thoroughfares, killing at least 13 people and leaving 80 bloodied on the pavement. A second vehicular attack, in the seaside town of Cambrils, was foiled with the police fatally shooting four would-be assailants. A fifth died later of wounds.
Around 50 Muslim associations backed Monday’s rally which converged in the Plaza de Catalunya close to where the van, driven by a Moroccan immigrant inspired by the so-called Islamic State terror group, ploughed into pedestrians on Las Ramblas. The assailant was killed by the police on Monday in a shootout.
The message was loud and clear from Miriam Hatibi, a Muslim community spokesperson:
“We have been demonstrating in different places across Catalonia showing we are against barbarism and unreason, but today we want to want the Muslim and non-Muslim majority, to come together with a loud voice, to say no to terrorism, no to violence So that our young Catalan Muslims do not embrace perverse ideologies, which have no justification or explanation, and which have nothing to do with Islam, nor with any religion”.
The Barcelona attack was at least the sixth time in the past few years that assailants using vehicles as deadly weapons have struck a European city.