Police interrogate Spain’s top Muslim official over funding of extremist groups

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Police briefly detained and questioned the top representative of Spain’s Muslim community as part of an investigation into the funding of extremist organizations, police and government sources said Wednesday.

Mohammed Ayman Adlbi, who heads the Islamic Commission of Spain, was arrested late Tuesday but later released without charge, a spokeswoman for the national police said.

His arrest was part of an anti-terrorism investigation, an interior ministry source told AFP.

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Spanish media said the investigation was focused on an international extremist funding network that worked for al-Qaeda and sent money to Syria and other conflict zones.

But neither the police nor the interior ministry would confirm reports about the precise nature of the investigation.

The Islamic Commission of Spain represents Muslims before Spanish state bodies and oversees religious services at the country’s mosques as well as Muslim education.

Ayman Adlbi was appointed as its head last year.

The inquiry is being handled by an investigative unit which deals with terror-related issues.

Since 2015, Spain’s alert level has been held at level four out of five, indicating a high risk of an attack.

Europe’s worst extremist attack occurred in Spain in 2004 when militants bombed commuter trains in Madrid, killing 191 people and wounding another 2,000.

The attack was claimed by militants who said they were acting on behalf of al-Qaeda over Spain’s role in the US-led invasion of Iraq.

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