The motivation of an Afghan migrant who stabbed two American tourists at Central Station in Amsterdam on Friday was due to people in the Netherlands insulting Islam and the Prophet Muhammad, according to the 19-year-old suspect.
The man, identified by Dutch media only as Jawed S., traveled from Germany to the Netherlands to carry out the attack “because he thinks that the Prophet Muhammad, the Koran and Islam are frequently offended here.”
The two victims of the attack, both 38-year-old men, sustained serious injuries, and are still in the hospital. Their attacker, “S.” was shot and wounded by police, and prosecutors say that German police had searched the man’s home in Germany and seized computer memory devices.
S. also stated that he was offended over statements that had been made by right-wing Dutch politician and sharsh Islam critic Geert Wilders.
Wilders reacted to the news by tweeting, “Moslimterroristen haten onze manier van leven en onze vrijheden. Ze beantwoorden islamkritiek met geweld. Zo ook deze Jawed S. Bijna wekelijks vinden in heel Europa dit soort gruwelijke steekpartijen plaats op onschuldige mensen. Ik zeg:
#grenzendicht en #deislamiseren!”
Translation: “Muslim terrorists hate our way of life and our liberties. They answer criticism of Islam with violence. Almost every week this kind of gruesome stabbing takes place against innocent people throughout Europe. I say: #coming and #deislamising!”
Moslimterroristen haten onze manier van leven en onze vrijheden. Ze beantwoorden islamkritiek met geweld. Zo ook deze Jawed S. Bijna wekelijks vinden in heel Europa dit soort gruwelijke steekpartijen plaats op onschuldige mensen.
— Geert Wilders (@geertwilderspvv) September 3, 2018
The attack came on the heels of Wilders having cancelled plans to hold a competition last week of cartoons that depicted the Prophet Mohammed and had a clear “terrorist motive,” prosecutors said.
The decision to cancel the cartoon contest was made after terrorists threatened to attack the event. Wilders canceled after an Islamist posted a video to Facebook announcing he was in the Hague and ready to kill the Dutch politician.
“He named Wilders, but did not say anything about the cartoon competition,” a statement said. “Up to now there is no evidence the suspect worked with others.”
The Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte confirmed on Twitter that the investigation Saturday was focused around extremist ideology. “Onderzoek naar steekpartij op Amsterdam CS richt zich op terroristisch motief. Onze gedachten zijn bij de 2 zwaargewonde Amerikaanse slachtoffers. Diepste respect voor de politie en NS-personeel. We zijn en blijven alert.”
Translation: “Research on stabbing on Amsterdam CS focuses on terrorist motif. Our thoughts are with the 2 seriously injured American casualties. Deepest respect for the police and NS personnel. We are and remain alert.”
Onderzoek naar steekpartij op Amsterdam CS richt zich op terroristisch motief. Onze gedachten zijn bij de 2 zwaargewonde Amerikaanse slachtoffers. Diepste respect voor de politie en NS-personeel. We zijn en blijven alert.
Meer info ➡️ https://t.co/vFzcFDImNm
— Mark Rutte (@MinPres) September 1, 2018
On Saturday, the US ambassador to the Netherlands confirmed the two injured men were in fact American tourists visiting the country. Pete Hoekstra said US embassy officials had been in contact with the victims and their families.
“We are aware that both victims were US citizens and have been in touch with them and their families,” Pete Hoekstra said in a statement on Saturday.
“We wish them a speedy recovery and are working closely with the city of Amsterdam to provide assistance to them and their families,” Hoekstra said.
A few train services in and out of the station were suspended during the incident and two platforms were closed during the investigation.
Central Station is used by an estimated 250,000 travelers every day, according to the BBC. The train station is quite busy, with the terminal linking Amsterdam to the city’s Schipol airport. Friday being one of the busiest days for train travel, with tourists arriving for the weekend, the attacker knew the station would be more populated than usual.
Central Station is patrolled regularly by security staff and armed police.
“The examining magistrate has decided that S. will remain stuck for at least two weeks. He is examined psychologically and psychiatrically. In fourteen days, the council chamber decides whether the pre-trial order will be extended once more,” reports Nederlandse Omroep Stichting (nos.nl).
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