Feijóo and the Algeciras attacker

Feijóo and the Algeciras attacker


PP leader Alberto Nuñez Feijóo last week drew an incendiary comparison between Islam and Christianity


Friday, 3 February 2023, 16:24


In the wake of the bloody jihadist attack by a lone, machete-wielding Moroccan on two Catholic churches in Algeciras on Wednesday 18 January, Junta President Juanma Moreno appealed for calm.

The PP regional leader expressed his sadness after Diego Valencia Pérez, a sacristan at La Palma church, was killed after being chased into Plaza Alta. The parish priest at the chapel of San Isidro, Father Antonio Rodríguez, also suffered a neck wound and was taken to hospital in a serious condition before being discharged last Friday. And several passers-by were treated for cuts after trying to stop the attacker, 25-year-old Yassin Kanjaa, who had entered La Palma church shouting "Allah Akbar".

The suspect has not been linked to any terrorist group and is, reportedly, psychologically unstable.

Moreno said this was a "one-off, regrettable, repugnant event, which we all condemn". In an address last Thursday he also stressed that there should be no generalised rejection of Muslims.

His rational, heartfelt, call for calm was echoed by the Islamic Commission of Spain, which expressed "great shock" for the "abominable, murderous, and heartless criminal action".

Comparison between Islam and Christianity

And then there were the comments from the PP leader Alberto Nuñez Feijóo who last Thursday drew an incendiary comparison between Islam and Christianity.

"There are people who kill in the name of God, or in the name of a religion," he said. "However, it's been many centuries since we've seen a Catholic or a Christian killing in the name of their religion or their beliefs. But there are other peoples who have citizens who do that."

Either Feijóo was appallingly naïve with his comment or he was calculatedly seeking to woo Islamophobic Vox supporters in this election year. He will certainly fail to garner votes from the 1.2 million Muslims in Spain.

Feijóo is simply wrong not to acknowledge the religious element of the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s, especially the Bosnian War. Thousands of volunteers from across Europe joined the Orthodox Christian Bosnian Serb Army and the Catholic Bosnian Croat army, which attracted neo-Nazis.

The PP statesman is also presumably unaware that white supremacy groups, such as the Ku Klux Klan, use Christian religious teachings and symbolism to justify committing violent acts. He should read the 2021 European Commission report which warns that "right-wing violence is rising across the EU".

He also appears to have forgotten this century's high-profile lone-wolf attacks by white supremacists. Anders Breivik, a self-proclaimed "supporter of a mono-cultural Christian Europe" murdered 77 people who identified with a liberal Norwegian society, and was virulently anti-Islamic. And in the 2019 mosque attack shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand, 51 people were killed by an extremist who drew inspiration from Crusade-era battlegrounds in Eastern Europe.

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