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Italy: Tunisian Muslims charged with beating Christian

Anja Hoffmann, executive director of the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe (OIDACE), observed that “these incidents call for a firm commitment of politicians and religious leaders to safeguarding the right to freedom of religion for all, including the right to change one’s religion, as enshrined in international human rights law.”

This is correct. The persecution of Christians should be a focus of governments all across the world that have commitments to human rights and religious freedom.

“Tunisian Muslims charged with beating Christian in Italy,” by Jack Bethel, Christian Daily, April 26, 2024:

Three Muslims from Tunisia were detained this month in Italy for beating and robbing a Christian convert from Islam because he attended a church, according to a watchdog group.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office at the Court of Perugia on April 13 issued the pre-trial detention orders based on aggravating circumstance of religious discrimination for the attack that took place on Nov. 12, according to the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe (OIDACE).

The unidentified, 28-year-old victim reportedly told officials that, on an evening walk with a friend in the Ponte San Giovanni District of Perugia, the Muslims accused him of “frequenting the church of Christians” and then threatened, beat and kicked him. The Christian broke free and escaped after the assailants tore a necklace from him.

The General Investigations and Special Operations Division confirmed the religious motive behind the attack, which noted that he had converted to Christianity in the past few months and attended a local Catholic church. His participation in Christian celebrations angered some Muslim Tunisians in the country, according to the division.

Italian news site ANSA reported a hospital source saying at that time that the injuries would take a month to heal. The victim, a legal immigrant, complained to the police after receiving hospital treatment.

The three Muslims were reportedly remanded to custody because of the seriousness of the alleged offenses, previous police records and the risk factor of further attacks.

The suspects remain under investigation for issuing threats, personal injury and robbery committed with the aggravating circumstance of religious discrimination, according to the OIDACE.

Two of the original assailants allegedly approached the Christian in a shop within the same neighborhood just five days later, Nov. 17. They demanded that he withdraw the police complaint and stop attending “the Catholic church.”

A Wider Problem

Anja Hoffmann, OIDACE executive director, said that “apostasy” is punishable by death under sharia (Islamic law).

Converts in parts of Muslim communities in Europe face “widespread rejection and hostility,” she said.

“Converts with a Muslim background are, therefore, the group of Christians most likely to experience verbal aggression and even physical violence in Europe,” Hoffmann told Christian Daily International. “This problem has become particularly visible during the refugee crisis, leading to human rights organizations and politicians across Europe to call for measures, including separate housing, due to reports of discrimination and violent aggressions against Christian converts in asylum shelters.”

Countries with high migration rates such as Italy are especially affected by these issues, Hoffmann said.

“These incidents call for a firm commitment of politicians and religious leaders to safeguarding the right to freedom of religion for all, including the right to change one’s religion, as enshrined in international human rights law,” she said….

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