A transgender Tunisian migrant in Belgium was stabbed by a pair of men, also from Tunisia, who claimed to be members of Islamic State.
On Saturday in the Brussels suburb of Etterbeek, a transgender migrant from Tunisia was reportedly stabbed in the street. The transgender person, known as Sharky, was brutally beaten by his attackers, stabbed several times in the abdomen and was later hospitalised for his injuries, reports HLN.be.
The victim had faced similar persecution in Tunisia where he claims to have been attacked by radical Islamists and men who pledged allegiance to Islamic State in North Africa. The two men who carried out the attack told Sharky that they were fighters of Islamic State and the incident came after repeated threats from other members of the group online.
Sharky told Belgian media of his experiences dealing with Islamist threats in Belgium saying: “They were the same people as in Tunisia. They told me that they are only awaiting an official command to behead me. I fear greatly for my life.” The victim added: “I want to officially change my name and seek asylum in another country, where I am not threatened. These people followed me all the time in Tunisia.”
The victim explained how the Islamic State members had first harassed him online before the threats turned into an almost deadly assault. “It started on social media. At first I tried to not take the threats seriously, even though they made it clear that they were members of Islamic State. They said they would kill me in the name of God and would make an example out of me to young people who do not respect religious law.”
According to the Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism Unia, Sharky had reached out to them over the online harassment long before the attack. They confirmed the acts of aggression dated to this weekend, and stated that: “The victim has been threatened on his Facebook profile and physical aggression was already there.”
Police in the area have confirmed that they are currently looking for suspects in the case but so far no one has been arrested. The local prosecutor has told the press that while they could confirm the details of the attack, the motivation was still in question.
The attack comes on the heels of both the mass shooting at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando that left 49 dead, and the fatal stabbing of a police officer and his wife in France, both of which Islamic State claimed responsibility via its media arm Amaq Agency.
Attacks against homosexuals and transsexuals, as was the case in Dortmund earlier this year, by Islamic State and other radical Islamists have become more and more common in European cities and asylum homes. Some cities and local governments are considering separating Muslims from homosexuals and others in their asylum homes for the safety of the latter.