Thousands of Muslims voiced their rejection of jihadi extremism on August 21, marching through central Barcelona with banners reading “Terrorism has no religion”, Morning Star Online said.
It came in the wake of the August 17 terrorist attacks in Catalonia, which killed 13 and was claimed by Islamic State.
Improvised placards reading “We are also victims,” “Terrorism has no religion,” “We are all Barcelona, not terrorism,” were held by the crowd. The demonstration was attended by local politicians, including members of all parties represented in the Catalan parliament and Barcelona City Council.
Chanting “Islam is peace”, “Not in our name” and “They are not Muslims, they are terrorists”, the crowd demonstrated at the Spanish city’s Canaletas Fountain.
TeleSUR English said the country’s Muslim community is fearing backlash. Catalan’s Moroccan community is particularly concerned after it was revealed that four of the main suspects, including Abouyaaqoub, had roots in Morocco.
“There is a lot of fear, people don’t go out,” said Raja Miah, an imam at a small mosque in the city, who moved to Barcelona nine years ago from Bangladesh. “Very few people come to pray. Normally we are about 40 people, last night we weren’t even 15 and this morning 10.”
Miah said he was stopped by authorities while leaving the Las Ramblas area on August 17 and questioned because he was wearing a robe and has a beard.
“We fear that the same will happen here as in France, Britain or other places,” Islam Zahid, another member of Barcelona’s Muslim community said, referring to the rise of far-right parties in parts of Europe.
The day after the August 17 attack, 100,000 people came out on to the streets, spontaneously shouting “I’m not afraid”, the blog of Barcelona’s left-wing mayor Ada Colau reported. A minute of silence was held in Placa de Catalunya to condemn the terrorist attack.
The Barcelona City Council also met for an extraordinary session to show solidarity with the victims.
The council’s official statement, describing the attack as “blows of hate”, noted the attack targeted “people of many nationalities and all ages, individuals and families taking a stroll and enjoying our city”.
The statement described the attack as, “One more in a long list of barbaric attacks which, from Baghdad to Orlando and Mogadishu, along with Madrid, Paris, Nice, London, Brussels, Berlin and Manchester”.
It thanked the public service workers for their response, before concluding: “Finally, we wish to send a clear and unequivocal message to those responsible for these attacks: we will not yield.
“These cowardly attacks will not change the values of a brave city. We will not allow hate nor racism to take root among us. Barcelona will continue to be a city of peace, proud of its diversity and harmony.
“Fear will not prevail. We shall walk down La Rambla again and do so freely, with love for our city and life.”