MILAN (ChurchMilitant.com) - Italy is deporting two Moroccan men who have threatened the Catholic Church.
The expulsions involved a 25-year-old man who threw a 300-year-old crucifix on the ground earlier in July. The other man is a 69-year-old who burst into a church in Trentino in northern Italy and shouted abusive epithets about Catholicism.
Interior Minister Angelino Alfano talked about the deportations to several lawmakers, but did not say whether the deportations were owing to the recent killing of Catholic priest Fr. Jacques Hamel.
Since the beginning of 2015, Italy has deported 102 foreigners after suspecting their involvement with the Islamic Militant group Daesh, or ISIS. Among these were eight imams.
Italy has also arrested 549 suspected extremists since early 2015 and has used the same surveillance tactics used to take down the mafioso. This includes requiring suspects to regularly report to authorities and also restricting their travel.
"We know how to distinguish between who prays and who shoots. We also know if you encourage violence, you are not praying but you are doing something that is very dangerous for the country," Alfano said in remarks earlier to reporters.
Alfano commented on the risk in the country constantly being an issue for the government.
"We cannot deny that there is a risk. ... [A]ll of our activity is focused on one goal, to reduce risk, even as we are aware that great Western democracies, non-Western democracies and non-democracies all have been hit all over the world."
So far, 89,000 asylum seekers have come to Italy in 2016.