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Spain court approves deportation of ‘Salafist’ to Morocco

A court in Spain has approved the deportation of Moroccan Muslim activist, who is accused of being one of the “main advocates” in Spain of the Salafist movement of ultra-conservative Islamism.

Police arrested Mohamed Said Badaoui on Tuesday in the northeastern province of Tarragona, where he was the president of the Association for the Defence of the Rights of the Muslim Community (Adedcom).

The 40-year-old was transferred to Madrid and he will be deported to Morocco on Thursday, the National Court said in a ruling dated October 19 which was only made public Thursday.

The court said it had approved the interior ministry’s deportation order due to “his participation in activities contrary to national security” and “public order”.

Spanish police consider Badaoui to be “one of the main advocates in Spain of the most orthodox Salafism, which he preaches so influentially that an increase in radicalism occurred in Tarragona” since he moved there, it added in its ruling.

They also accuse him of “taking advantage” of the “vulnerability” of minors who arrive in Spain without their parents, “mainly of Moroccan origin”, to indoctrinate them in the “most radical Salafism,” which promotes a strictly conservative lifestyle.

Badoui has rejected these accusations. Well-known in Spain’s northeastern region of Catalonia where he has lived for nearly three decades, he presents himself as an activist and anti-racism campaigner.

He has been supported by Catalonia’s main separatist parties which govern the region as well as by the regional branch of far-left party Podemos, the junior partner in Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s coalition government.

In a joint statement the parties said police had accused Badoui of “religious extremism” without providing proof.

The National Court also approved Thursday the deportation of another Moroccan, Amarouch Azbir, who is in charge of the Al Furquan mosque in the Catalan port of Vilanova i la Geltru.

He is also accused of promoting Salafism and was also arrested on Tuesday in a separate police operation.