Qatari expansion in Spain raising fears from expected extremism
Qatar tries to expand its influence in Spain by launching a large number of investment projects, aiming at bringing it close to the Spanish government and making this government dependent on Doha.
It offers cultural services and constructs mosques that work to attract the members of the Islamic community in Spain.
These services and mosques hide Qatari attempts to infiltrate this European state behind them.
In July 2019, the Spanish ambassador in Doha said Qatar was her country's most important economic partner.
In 2018, trade exchange between Qatar and Spain rose by 5% to $1.4 billion, compared with 2017, the ambassador said.
In September 2018, the Spanish prime minister signed an agreement with the deputy Qatari prime minister for the enhancement of investment cooperation between their two countries through an institution that launches joint investments in Latin America.
According to the newspaper, Latin America Tribune, Qatar had promised to invest $4 billion in Spain, including $300 million in Spain's bank.
Expanding in Catalonia
The Muslim Brotherhood has been trying to expand in Spain over the years.
The Islamist group has tried to do this through a network of cultural centers and mosques, most of them in Catalonia, which works to gain independence from Spain.
In June 2014, the British newspaper, The Guardian, revealed that Qatari ruler, Tamim bin Hamad, wanted to buy the main bullying arena in Barcelona.
It said the Qatari emir wanted to turn the arena into the largest mosque in Europe.
The newspaper said Qatar has been increasing its investments in Spain, including by sponsoring soccer teams. It added that the Qatari Armed Forces had bought a five-star hotel in central Barcelona.