- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 24, 2017

The mayor of Venice, Italy, turned heads during a conference Tuesday after he reportedly threatened that anyone who yells “Allahu akbar,” or “God is the greatest” in Arabic, in the city’s main square will be shot on sight.

Luigi Brugnaro, an Independent, made the threat while speaking in Rimini about the recent attack in Barcelona, Spain, where 13 people were killed and 130 injured when terrorists drove a van down the popular tourist street, La Rambla, The Times reported.

“In contrast with Barcelona, where they had not set up protection, we keep our guard up,” Mr. Brugnaro was quoted as saying. “If anyone runs into St. Mark’s Square shouting ‘Allahu akbar,’ we will take him down. A year ago I said after four steps, now after three. I will say it in Venetian: ‘Ghe Sparemo’ [We will shoot him].”

“In Venice, we arrested four terrorists who wanted to blow up the Rialto Bridge, saying they wanted to go to Allah. But we’ll send them straight to Allah before they can do any damage,” he added, Business Insider UK reported.

Business Insider UK rightly points out that the phrase, “Allahu akbar,” is repeated four times at the start of the Muslim call to worship, which is recognized five times a day. Given that Italy has the fourth-largest Muslim population in Europe, Mr. Brugnaro’s threat might prove difficult to carry out.

At the Rimini meeting, Florence Mayor Dario Nardella shouted “Allahu akbar” at Mr. Brugnaro as a joke, Business Insider UK reported. Mr. Nardella later apologized to the Muslim community, saying he didn’t mean to offend anyone or make light of recent terrorist attacks.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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