TERRORISM

Foreign minister compares fight against jihadism with World War II

Democracies facing totalitarians with whom dialogue is impossible, says García-Margallo

Spain's foreign minister José Manuel García-Margallo chats with Jordan's Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour.
Spain's foreign minister José Manuel García-Margallo chats with Jordan's Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour.Zipi / EFE

Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo, who is on a tour of the Middle East, has compared the fight against jihadism with World War II, a time when democracies battled against totalitarianism.

Speaking in Amman, the capital of Jordan, on Sunday, García-Margallo stated that attempting to dialogue with the Islamic State, Al Qaeda or any of its offshoots “would be a first-class political error.”

The conservative politician even used a popular historical slogan coined by Spanish republicans when Franco’s troops were threatening to take over the country during the Civil War: “No pasarán” (“They shall not pass.”)

The terrorist attacks in Paris last week altered the Popular Party (PP) representative’s agenda on the first day of his Middle Eastern tour.

Dialogue with Al Qaeda or the Islamic State “would be a first-class political error” 

García-Margallo had been scheduled to meet with King Abdullah, foreign minister Nasser Judeh and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, all of whom traveled to the French capital to march in the rally against the attack on satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.

The events in France, the Spanish minister said, had brought back two demons from the 20th century that seemed to be gone forever: attacks against freedom of the press and antisemitism.

The politician said he hoped that “to these two horrors, another one will not be added: islamophobia.”

García-Margallo said Jordan was a shining example of the kind of Islam that defends peace and tolerance. Reinforcing such moderate Arab regimes, he added, was “the best recipe” to stop the expansion of religious extremism.

The foreign minister is also scheduled to visit Israel, where he is likely to be asked about recent claims by a Jewish human rights group that Spain funded an antisemitic event last year.