‘Shout Allahu Akbar in Venice & we’ll shoot you within 3 steps,’ mayor vows
The Venetian mayor, Luigi Brugnaro, made the comments during a conference of mayors in the city of Rimini on the Adriatic coast.
“If someone shouts Allahu Akbar while running through St Mark's Square, we'll shoot them. A year ago, I said after four steps, now I’m saying after three,” Brugnaro said, according to Corriere Della Sera.
“We arrested four terrorists in Venice who wanted to blow up the Rialto Bridge. But we will send them directly to Allah without having to do any harm before,” Brugnaro continued, referring to a foiled terror plot in March of this year.
“Unlike in Barcelona, where they did not have the protections, we keep our guard high. We do not challenge anyone. We are sending a message of support to the police forces who must know that we are on their side.”
Following the debate Mayor of Florence Dario Nardella, burst into a room yelling “Allahu Akbar,” prompting chuckles from Brugnaro and other assembled delegates.
The comment was caught on camera and quickly became widespread in Italian media. Nardella was widely criticized, particularly as the joke came in the aftermath of the terror attack in Barcelona.
The Florentine mayor made a statement on Facebook apologizing for his actions.
“I apologize for some expressions in an online video. It was not my intention to offend anyone, not least the Muslim community, nor to joke about its religion, nor to evoke the tragic events of these days.”
Nardella also distanced himself from Brugnaro’s statement.
Business man Brugnaro, who took office in 2015, seems to revel in his “non-politically correct” image.
He previously attracted controversy for banning 49 books about discrimination and homosexuality from Venetian schools and he also tried to ban the city’s gay pride parade.