Rabat – A 37-year-old Moroccan man stabbed a 44-year-old homeless Georgian national in the throat on Saturday, June 8, at Rome’s central Termini station. The victim was wearing a crucifix around his neck.
The suspect shouted insults at the Georgian before stabbing him and attempting to slit his throat, Il Giornale reports. The suspect then attempted to flee the scene but only managed to make it a few steps before being detained and arrested.
“Everything took place in a few moments,” one witness explained. “The Georgian got off the bus and was heading towards the metro station in Piazza dei Cinquecento on the Via Giolitti side when the Moroccan joined him and attacked him,” he added.
The Moroccan man is being accused of attempted homicide with “religious hate” being an “aggravating factor.”
The incident caused Italy’s far-right Interior Minister and Deputy Premier Matteo Salvini to increase security measures. In a letter, Salvini called for an “increase [of] checks and attention in places of aggregation of Islamic citizens in order to prevent any type of violence against innocent citizens.”
The approach Salvini has taken to increase security measures to counter radical Islam is a controversial topic, with many people arguing that it is discriminatory to single out Muslims for security checks.
News of the incident is circulating on anti-terrorism sites alongside a direct quote from the Qu’ran taken out of its context, “When you meet the unbelievers, strike the necks…” (Qur’an 47:4).
Giorgia Meloni, leader of the conservative-populist Brothers of Italy made a vitriolic comment against Muslims on social media. In her remark, she said, “If Muslims think of bringing the holy war into our house, it is time to take drastic measures: it remains only to block any kind of Islamic immigration until these ideas are clarified,” she said.
Muslims represent the second largest religious community in Italy, with approximately 1.4 million practicing Muslims in 2017 (3,1 percent of the whole Italian population).