Priest attacked by man claiming to be asylum seeker

A Belgian priest has been stabbed after refusing to give money to a man who claimed to be an asylum seeker. Father Jos Vanderlee, who is responsible for eight parishes in the Limburg province, had allowed the man to take a shower but was then asked for money. Fr.Vanderlee refused to hand over any cash and was then attacked with a knife.

The attack took place on Sunday (31st July) in the town of Lanaken, close to the Belgium / Netherlands border, when man who presented himself as an asylum seeker knocked on the door of the priests home, asking for help. Bruno Coppin, a spokesman for the Limburg prosecutor, said that the man, who has not been identified, said he was going to ask asylum in the Netherlands. He also added that the priest has suffered “injuries to his hands” after trying to fend off the attack. The attacker then fled the scene.

Fr.Vanderlee, who has been a priest for 40 years, was taken to a nearby hospital where he received surgery on his injuries. The mayor of Lanaken, Marino Keulen, said in a statement that “Despite the fact that we are shocked, we must stress that this incident can’t be linked to terrorist acts at this stage of the investigation.”

Police and prosecutors have refused to link the attack with Islamic State, adding that the suspect is not a resident of the local refugee center.



Photo: Wikimedia Commons