August 18, 2017 Special Dispatch No. 7057

ISIS's Increasing Online Outreach In Spanish, Threats To Spain, In Report Posted by MEMRI's Jihad and Terror Threat Monitor (JTTM) Project In April 2017

August 18, 2017
Spain | Special Dispatch No. 7057

In April 2017 MEMRI's Jihad and Terror Threat Monitor (JTTM) posted a report about the Islamic States' increasing threats to Spain and on this organization's increasing media outreach targeting Spanish-speaking countries. Below is the report, a complimentary offering from the JTTM archive. (To view all JTTM reports, you must be a paying member of the JTTM; for membership information, send an email to [email protected] with "Membership" in the subject line)


On April 25, 2017, Spanish police arrested several suspected jihadi individuals in Barcelona in connection with the March 2016 Islamic State (ISIS) terror attacks in Brussels.[1] Spain has experienced no terror attacks since the 2004 bombings, although many jihadis have been arrested there in recent years. Indeed, several recruiters and ISIS operatives have been active in Spain; while the country is not the main ISIS target in Europe, it has a number of advantages for jihadi networks: it is part of the EU, it has proximity to North Africa, it has a constant influx of tourists and immigrants, and more. In the past few months, ISIS has increased its media outreach in Spanish, likely in an attempt to recruit Spanish-speaking Muslim youth in Spain and elsewhere. The Moroccan community in Spain is particularly targeted by recruitment efforts. It should be noted that in the jihadi mindset, and even more so for ISIS supporters, Spain is considered to be Al-Andalus, which all ISIS productions always include in the lands that are to be reconquered by means of jihad.[2]

In 2016, ISIS stepped up its media efforts threatening Spain, calling for attacks there, and promising to reconquer Al-Andalus. In March 2016, a pro-ISIS media outlet distributed a document titled "A Message to the People of Spain" threatening Spain with retaliation unless the country agreed "to stop fighting the Muslims and occupying Muslim land."[3] In July 2016, the same pro-ISIS outlet published a pamphlet titled "Spain [of] Fernando, We Vow [to Seek] Revenge" that called on Muslims to carry out terror attacks in order to avenge the crimes committed by Spain against Muslims, past and present, from the Inquisition to its participation in the coalition forces fighting terrorism.[4] Also, a video released in September 2016 featuring ISIS child soldiers shows one such child stating that they are prepared to "conquer Rome and Spain."[5]

A'maq news agency on Telegram in Spanish.

Al Haqq Media website.

As recently stated in the eulogy for American ISIS media official Ahmad Abousamra, online ISIS media operations aim to make it "unlikely that there [is] any group of people on earth whom the content produced by the Islamic State and its publications did not reach in their [own] language."[6] Thus, ISIS is translating and distributing its material in Spanish. On March 27, 2017, the ISIS news agency A'maq launched a Telegram channel in Spanish;[7] it distributes all official news flashes, bulletins, videos, and images. That same month, a pro-ISIS group called "Al Haqq Media Center" began publishing ISIS material translated into Spanish, on a newly created website,[8] Twitter account, and Telegram channel.[9] Al-Haqq Media, which appears to be an officially endorsed ISIS media operation, says on its website that its mission is "to spread the message of the Islamic state in different languages with the goal to unify all Muslims under a single banner. Al Haqq Media produces audiovisual and written material in Spanish and English focusing on the themes of bay'ah [allegiance to the caliphate], hijrah [migration to ISIS territories], tawhid [monotheism], and jihad."

ISIS is not the only jihadi group to publish in Spanish in an attempt to reach out to and recruit potential supporters in Spain. For instance, Al-Andalus Media, the media branch of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), recently published a full translation of the letter by the AQIM emir to the newly founded Al-Qaeda group in the Sahel.[10]

AQIM message in Spanish.


[1] El Pais (Spain), April 25, 2017.

[2] See MEMRI Daily Brief No. 85, Spain In The Crosshairs Of Islamism, March 28, 2016.

[7], accessed April 24, 2017.

[8], accessed April 24, 2017; hosted in Panama.

[9] Haqq Media, accessed April 24, 2017.

[10], March 17, 2017.

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