Deadly Machete Attack at Spanish Church Labelled "Jihadist Attack" P-admin Atheist Republic

Read More Atheist Republic Spanish authorities have arrested a 25-year-old Moroccan man after two Catholic churches in Algeciras, Spain, were attacked. The suspect is accused of killing a sexton and injuring a priest with a machete on January 25. Police are investigating the attack as an act of terrorism.

Spanish police raided the home of a Moroccan man who was held over the machete attacks at two Catholic churches that left a church officer dead and a priest injured in the southern city of Algeciras.
— The Associated Press (@AP) January 26, 2023
The Spanish interior ministry did not identify the perpetrator, and he’s currently held in custody by the Spanish national police. The judge investigating the incident released a preliminary report suggesting that the attacks were committed to “terrorist ends” and were connected to “Salafi jihadism.”
The ministry reported the assault started at 7 pm when the assailant went inside the Maria Auxiliadora y San Isidro church and attacked a priest, who was severely injured.
After assaulting the priest, the suspect went to Nuestra Señora de La Palma church, five minutes from San Isidro, where he attacked a sexton. The sexton, tasked with taking care of the Nuestra Señora church, fled outside to a public square, followed by the assailant, who mortally wounded him.

The Algeciras town hall identified the slain sexton as Diego Valencia and the wounded priest as Antonio Rodríguez, hospitalized and in stable condition. Local media also reported that three other people were injured in the attacks.
According to Spain’s interior minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska, the perpetrator has “never been on the radar of any national service in relation to radicalization,” and he was only arrested previously for “irregular migration and an irregular stay in Spain.”
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez expressed his condolences for the family of the murdered sexton and hopes for a fast recovery for the wounded priest in a Twitter post.
The secretary general of Spain’s Episcopal Conference, Francisco García, and Algeciras mayor José Landaluce also joined the public in condemning the incident and expressing their sadness. The Algeciras town hall declared a day of mourning, where flags were flown at half-mast.

Amidst an outpouring of grief and condemnation from the government and various groups and individuals, leaders of the conservative People’s Party (PP) and the far-right Vox Party have been criticized for using the attack to smear and stigmatize the Muslim community in Spain.
For instance, the People’s Party leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo said that “there are people who kill in the name of God, or in the name of a religion,” arguing that Christians were no longer killing people in the name of the religion.
“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.” Feijóo added.
Members of the ruling Socialist Party (PSOE) condemned Feijóo’s statements, with some saying that his comments showed his weak grasp of Europe’s recent history. In a Tweet, education minister and PSOE spokesperson Pilar Alegría said: “Sometimes it’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear responsible than to talk like this.”
Feijóo tried to clarify his statements and insisted that no religion should be stigmatized. However, he later stated that there isn’t any problem with Catholic terrorism in general and insisted that Islamic fundamentalism is a problem worldwide.
Santiago Abascal, leader of the Vox Party, expressed his condolences to the victims and blamed illegal immigrants and the government for opening up Spain’s borders and giving away subsidies.
“Some open the doors to them, others pay for them, and it’s the people who suffer. We can’t tolerate the spread of Islamism on our soil,” he added.
Six Spanish NGOs, including the Spanish Committee for Refugee Aid and the SOS Racism Federation, condemned Abascal and Feijóo’s remarks with a joint statement, expressing their concern for hearing politicians making speeches “filled with dangerous, xenophobic, racist and hateful messages about origins and beliefs.”
UPDATE: The suspect has been identified as 25-year-old Yassin Kanjaa and Spain’s High Court has described the incident as a “targeted jihadist attack.”