Police say witnesses provided them with recordings of sermons Laaroussi preached at the Badr Mosque in downtown Terrassa (where more than 1,500 people attend prayers services each Friday) in which he instructed his listeners to “hit women with the use of a stick, the fist or the hand so that no bones are broken and no blood is drawn.”Laaroussi was questioned by police on March 6 but refused to provide evidence because he does not recognize the legitimacy of the Spanish state. If he is found guilty, Laaroussi could face up to three years in prison.
The incident is just one of a long and growing list of Islam-related controversies in Spain, where the number of Muslims has jumped to an estimated 1.5 million in 2011 from just 100,000 in 1990. As their numbers grow, Muslims in Spain are becoming more assertive than ever before.Soeren Kern is Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook