VENICE, Italy (ChurchMilitant.com) - A Muslim illegal immigrant who profaned a sacred sculpture of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Venetian suburb of Marghera will be deported from Italy.
The 31-year-old Palestinian, who dismembered the statue of the Virgin late Wednesday night in the Piazzale Giovannacci, is being held in the Gradisca D'Isonzo repatriation center in Gorizia, northeastern Italy, waiting for deportation procedures to be completed.
The Islamic iconoclast intentionally stoned the head and hands of the statue to sever them from the body of the historic sculpture following the Koranic injunction to cast "terror into the hearts of the unbelievers; so strike the necks and strike every finger of them!" (8:12)
Police launched a search and arrested the migrant in the early hours of the morning after residents who spotted the vandalism called for help and gave the police a description of the vandal.
Police charged the miscreant with "offenses against a religious faith by damaging property" after video surveillance cameras in the area confirmed the identity of the accused and the sacrilege against the sacred statue.
The migrant was soon released on bail since the charges were not sufficient for police to detain him.
However, the vandal was arrested a second time by railway police after alighting from a train in Vincenza, around 41 miles from Marghera.
Railway police detected the migrant's travel document was issued in Belgium. It granted "refugee" status but did not authorize a stay in Italy, which requires a resident permit.
The case was transferred to the General Investigations and Special Operations Division (DIGOS) to check for links with extremist Islam.
Venice police commissioner Maurizio Masciopinto confirmed: "There are no traces of belonging to groups of religious fanaticism. We are talking about a person with mental problems."
Despite local outrage and wide media coverage, no Catholic bishop was willing to issue a statement on the incident.
The Italian Episcopal Conference news media Avvenire did not report on the desecration.
Italy's Catholic hierarchy, led by Pope Francis, are keen to promote a positive narrative of Islamic migration to Europe in general and Italy in particular.
Italian conservative politicians, however, condemned the incident with leader of Fratelli d'Italia (Brothers of Italy) Georgia Meloni and called for an example to be made of the migrant.
Populist leader Matteo Salvini denounced the sacrilege: "Here is a beautiful Christmas present from those who hate us. I hope a judge will make him pay dearly."
The Lega (League) Party Venetian deputy Alex Bazzaro insisted "that the Palestinian who beheaded the statue of the Madonna in Marghera repay the damage he deliberately caused."
Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has assured local residents that the statue of the Madonna will be restored as soon as possible.
"This is a gesture that offends our city, our history and our values," Brugnaro said. "I firmly condemn this cowardly act, which aims to hurt our sensitivity."
The Madonna's head was reattached by Thursday afternoon. A complete restoration will be undertaken to re-create the hands on the sculpture.
In September, an illegal immigrant murdered Italian priest Fr. Roberto Malgesini in Piazza San Rocco in the center of Como in northern Italy.
The autopsy report revealed that 53-year-old Tunisian Muslim Mahmoudi Ridha had attempted to behead the priest.
A noted Sharia scholar told Church Militant that the deliberate attempt to decapitate the infidel was typical of Islamic-styled executions as prescribed in the Qur'an: "So when you meet those who disbelieve [in battle], strike [their] necks until, when you have inflicted slaughter upon them" (47:4).
Pope Francis, however, insisted that the killer was "a person in need" and "a person sick in the head," using the unusual phrase "malata di testa" to refer to Ridha's alleged mental illness.
In November, Cdl. Jean-Claude Hollerich, president of the Commission of the Episcopates of the European Union, rejected claims blaming Islam or immigration for jihadi terrorism, even as police revealed that the 14 suspects arrested for the recent Vienna massacre were all Muslim migrants.
In the book Al-Hijra: The Islamic Doctrine of Immigration, Islamic scholars Sam Solomon and E. al-Maqdisi give an insider view of how immigration is a bona fide doctrine of Islam and the recent tidal waves of migration are not just a random phenomenon but are methodically planned, as was Muhammad's Hijra — his migration from Mecca to Medina.
Muhammad himself made it clear that "migration is a duty that needs to be upheld forever or until the earth has submitted to Islamic hegemony," the authors argue, citing Muhammad's instruction in a hadith: "O people, immigrate, holding on to Islam, for Hijra or migration is to continue as long as jihad continues."
Opposition to "large-scale Muslim immigration is a responsible exercise of one's patriotism," Cdl. Raymond Burke told an international conference in Rome in 2019.