When Abdelbaki Es Satty came to Ripoll, a small town of 10,000 people in Catalonia's Girona province, around 100 kilometers north of Barcelona, in 2015, Muslims here were grateful. "It is getting harder to find an imam, so it was a big surprise when he turned up," says Hammou Minhaj, the secretary of a section of Ripoll's Muslim community, known as Annour.

The imam lived in a two-bedroom apartment he rented on the sixth floor of a building next to the famous monastery of Ripoll and aroused few suspicions.

"He was a perfectly normal imam; we never noticed anything strange about him or what he said. He came to prayers, helped, met with the faithful," says Minhaj, adding: "But he was a loner, unobtrusive."

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