VALLADOLID, Spain (ChurchMilitant.com) - A Muslim man stormed the San Pablo Church in Valladolid, Spain Saturday evening and disrupted a wedding while shouting "Allahu Akbar!" The 22-year-old unnamed Moroccan charged the altar and tore off the altar cloth as the groomsmen tried to grab him.
Witnesses said the man tried to assault the priest. "A lot of people, including the bride's mother, were crying," according to the priest who was officiating the wedding, "and there were people who had already jumped out of the pews because we did not know whether this person came alone or not or if he was armed."
The man, a local student, was arrested outside the church after the confrontation. He's accused of "disturbing public order, threats and crime against religious feelings." After the incident, police inspected the church for possible explosives before the wedding ceremony picked up where it left off. All of this took place with about 100 guests in attendance at the wedding.
The priest also said that given Saturday's most recent terror attack in London, he feared the man may have been armed. He said a "group of young troublemakers" were making noise in the back of the church. The entire incident halted the wedding ceremony for about 20 minutes.
Morocco is a 99-percent Muslim country in North Africa immediately south of Spain. On June 2, a man suspected of terrorism and wanted by the government of Morocco was arrested in Madrid.
In May, Spain and Morocco co-operated to successfully dismantle an ISIS cell, which resulted in the arrests of two Moroccans in Catalonia. Morocco also arrested six additional ISIS affiliates across several cities across the country.
One of the suspects in Saturday's attacks in London is reported to have been born in Morocco and had been living in Dublin. ISIS militants in Marawi, filmed smashing statues and crucifixes in the Philippines, are also reported to be foreign fighters from Indonesia, Morocco, India and Saudi Arabia.
In 2016, ISIS publicized threats of terror attacks in Spain with the goal of re-establishing Muslim rule in Spain, following more than 500 years since the Reconquista by Catholic armies in 1492. The group claims, "We will recover our land from the invaders."
In 2010, an incident took place inside the Cordoba cathedral, previously a mosque until the 13th century, in which six Muslim tourists simultaneously stopped to pray inside while on tour with over 100 others. Security intervened and a confrontation ensued, which ended with two guards injured. Muslims have tried to lobby the bishop of Cordoba for permission to use the building for Islamic prayer.
Spain is a 67-percent Catholic country with a large secular population. Islam constitutes the largest share of the 2-percent Spanish population belonging to non-Catholic religions. Barcelona is home to the massive Sagrada Família (Holy Family) Cathedral, currently undergoing a gigantic renovation project on track to be completed in 2026, even though Mass attendance in Spain is only 18 percent, typical in Europe.