Radical Islamists are more active in Barcelona than in most other Spanish cities. The reason lies partly in the autonomous nature of the government, and partly in the multicultural character of the city.
"The threat in Catalonia is clear." With these unflinching words in 2010, made public by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, the US State Department was already voicing concern over the potential for radicalization among young Muslim men in Barcelona.
The city was a "crossroads of worrisome activities," according to the leaked document, with a large Muslim community of which a small portion was vulnerable to being recruited by jihadi groups. Migrants from North Africa, Pakistan and Bangladesh had turned the region into a "magnet for terrorist recruiters," it said.