Al-Andalus is the Arabic name given to those parts of Spain, Portugal and France occupied by Muslim conquerors (also known as the Moors) from 711 to 1492. Muslims claim that territories Muslims lost during the Christian Reconquest of Spain still belong to the realm of Islam and Islamic law gives them the right to re-establish Muslim rule there.
Islamic State justifies attacking Spain based on a list of grievances for wrongs done to Muslims. This list goes back to the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa on July 16, 1212, when King Alfonso VIII of Castile routed the Almohad Muslim rulers of the southern half of the Iberian Peninsula and killed more than 100,000 Muslims in the battle. They apparently view the far greater list of Christians and Hindu slaughtered by Muslims as the norm.
One document calls on jihadists to “reconnoiter airline and train routes for attacks” and “poison food and water” with insecticides.
Since January, both Islamic State and al-Qaeda has released several propaganda videos with Spanish subtitles where it directly threatens Spain.
Texts typically include threats to violently conquer Spain such as “I swear by Allah that you will pay a very heavy price and your demise will be very painful. No Muslim can forget Córdoba, Toledo or Xàtiva. Faithful and sincere Muslims swear they will return to al-Andalus.”
Meanwhile, 33 jihadists were arrested in Spain in 17 different raids during the first nine months of 2016. A total of 636 jihadists have been detained in the country since the March 2004 Madrid train bombings, in which nearly 200 people were killed and more than 2,000 injured.
Most recently, a Spanish citizen of Moroccan origin — Karim El Idrissi Soussi, a 27-year-old computer science student who watched jihadist propaganda videos in class and threatened to massacre his fellow students, was arrested in Madrid on jihad terror charges. He visited a public library almost daily to connect to the internet and browse jihadist websites and expressed hope that someday Spain would become an Islamic emirate.