A woman was arrested on the Canary island of Lanzarote on Tuesday on charges of attempting to recruit young girls and preparing them for travel to parts of the world under Islamic State control.
The suspect, a Spanish national who converted to Islam and has only been identified as S.C.C., was in direct contact with members of the Islamic State in Syria and the Levant.
This woman “encouraged” the minors to travel to these locations, helped them to plan their trip and taught them the security measures to adopt in order to avoid detection during transit, according to the Interior Ministry.
Legal sources said the suspect had not yet been able to take any young women out of Spain, despite her efforts
Legal sources said the suspect had not yet been able to take any young women out of Spain despite her efforts.
The arrest took place early on Tuesday morning in the La Vega neighborhood of Arrecife. At the time of her detention, there were three teenage girls inside the same home, located on Juan Negrín street.
The apartment was rented out three years ago by the suspect’s brother, who said it was meant for their mother.
Hussein Ladraf, coordinator of the Islamic Cultural Center in the Canary Islands, expressed “absolute surprise” at the arrest, and said the archipelago’s Muslim community – which comprises between 30,000 and 50,000 people – “is traditional, of Sufi origin and far removed from radical sects.”
Once in Syria, young female recruits mainly perform supporting work involving housework and cooking, as well as ensuring that other women follow Sharia rules, said the Interior Ministry. They are also sexually exploited. Only a tiny percentage get sent to the front.
Tuesday’s arrest brings the number of people detained in Spain this year for allegedly collaborating with the Islamic State up to 40. Most of the suspects engaged in recruitment activities.
This is the first such arrest to take place in the Canary Islands: most of the others have taken place in Catalonia and the Spanish exclave cities of Ceuta and Melilla, in northern Africa.
In December 2014, three men and four women were also arrested on charges of recruiting 12 women who were promised a life “as real jihadist fighters.” Four other people were also held in February of this year for recruiting women. In March, a Moroccan woman was arrested while attempting to join the Jihad.