A priest in the town of Lanaken in Belgium who offered help to an ‘asylum seeker’ was stabbed when he refused to give the man money.
According to prosecutors in the Belgian town of Lanaken, Limburg, Father Jos Vanderlee, a 65-year-old priest, was stabbed at his home on Sunday by an asylum seeker, after the priest let the man in to have a shower.
Public Prosecutor of Limburg, Coppin Bruno, confirmed that a man came to the home of the priest at around 2pm. The man stated that he was an asylum seeker from the Netherlands (the town of Lanaken bordering Maastrict) and asked for help and to have a shower.
Father Vanderlee opened up his home and let him in. After the man had used the shower he demanded money from the priest, but when he refused the asylum seeker attacked him with a knife. The 65 year old managed to defend himself, suffering cuts to his hands. The attacker fled, and has not yet been apprehended.
The priest was taken to Genk hospital and although his injuries were not life-threatening, he was operated on immediately.
The mayor of Lanaken, Marino Keulen, has stated that “at this stage of the investigation, there are no links between this attack and terrorism”. An investigation has been opened by the Lanaken police, who urge witnesses to come forward.
Father Vanderlee is responsible for eight parishes in the area, and recently celebrated 40 years in the priesthood.
Belgique: Jos Vanderlee, un prêtre de 65 ans de Lanaken poignardé par un demandeur d'asile. Il a été hospitalisé pic.twitter.com/0j2Mn00aiQ
— Fil Rouge France (@FilFrance) July 31, 2016
This attack comes less than a week after two French jihadists, Abdel Malik Petitjean and Kermiche Adel, slit the throat of Father Jacques Hamel whilst the priest was celebrating Mass in a small Catholic church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, holding five congregants and nuns hostage until the terrorists were shot dead by police. Both men were on a terror watch list, and Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.