Attacked Brussels priest: ‘no terrorist context’, church assures
Tuesday, 03 November 2020
Reports of an attack on a priest in the church of Saint Gilles in Brussels on Monday have been blown out of proportion, according to the archdiocese overseeing the churches in the Brussels-Mechelen area.
On Monday around 5:30 PM, a man entered the church of Saint-Gilles, and behaved aggressively toward the priest, according to the Brussels-South police zone.
This story quickly made headlines across the country following reports that the man grabbed the priest’s clothes, pushed him, threatened to hit him, and also threw a chair at him, reports Bruzz. The man reportedly also said he was Muslim, before fleeing on foot, according to local media.
According to the church, however, it is important not to blow this out of proportion.
“It concerns a confused man who threatened the priest with a chair. Let us not make this bigger than it is,” a spokesperson for the archdiocese Geert De Kerpel told VRT, adding that no one was injured and that they did not perceive the incident as “alarming.”
“However, it certainly has nothing to do with the recent terrorist attacks in France,” De Kerpel said.
The Brussels public prosecutor’s office also confirmed that there was “no terrorist context” to the incident, reports the Belga press agency, echoing earlier statements from the police.
“The perpetrator was one of the homeless people who often hang around Saint Gilles square,” the police said. “A patrol was able to arrest the man this Tuesday morning.”