by Giovanni Giacalone

The knife attack perpetrated on the morning of Thursday, June 8, in an Annecy park by a 31-year-old Syrian refugee, identified as Abdelmasih Hanoun, injured four children and one adult. The attacker was not known to European intelligence services and was not reported as a dangerous person. Although the circumstances and motivation for the attack are still unclear, shortly after the fact many newspapers and news sites were quick to point out that the individual in question was a Christian. In addition, many of these sites also reported that during the attack, the Syrian was holding a crucifix around his neck and shouting "in the name of Jesus Christ," as if to immediately put their hands on the fact that this time he was not an Islamist.

An issue among other things that is still unclear since in the footage that has emerged on the web, filmed by a passerby, the Syrian can be seen clutching a necklace with one hand, but it is not possible to see what is hanging on it, and only later will it be affirmed by some media that it was a crucifix. In addition, the voice heard in the video "in the name of Jesus Christ" seems very close to the cell phone being filmed and appears as if coming even from behind the device, a fact that has generated quite a few doubts about the alleged exclamation attributed to the attacker.

The only element that could eventually validate this hypothesis is the assailant's name, Abdelmasih, or "servant of the Messiah," a name hardly attributable to a Muslim, but is all this relevant? Indeed, French authorities immediately dismissed the terrorism hypothesis, albeit perhaps somewhat precipitously. The focal point here is a different one, because it is evident how the assailant is aiming exclusively at children, a fact that is chilling to say the least and speaks volumes about the people that Europe permits to enter its territory, with all the attendant consequences.

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Hanoun had actually been granted asylum in Sweden in 2013 and later also in Italy; it was for this reason that the French authorities had rejected his application. The decision had been made last April 26, but the notification had reached him only four days before the carnage; could this have been the reason that then triggered the Syrian's bloodthirsty rampage? Hard to say for now. One thing is for sure, what happened in Annecy is yet another result of mindless so-called "reception" policies that lack any filter and allow anyone to enter Europe and endanger people's lives. This is the key point that many people still do not want to see, trying to divert attention to other useless elements.

Researcher of Centro Studi Politici e Strategici Machiavelli. Graduated in Sociology (University of Bologna), Master in "Islamic Studies" (Trinity Saint David University of Wales), specialization in "Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism" (International Counter-Terrorism Institute of Herzliya, Israel). He is senior analyst for the British Islamic Theology of Counter Terrorism-ITCT, theItalian Team for Security, Terroristic Issues and Managing Emergencies (Catholic University of Milan) and the Kedisa-Center for International Strategic Analysis. Lecturer for security managerlaw enforcement and post-degree courses, he has been coordinator for Italy of the European project Globsec. “From criminals to terrorists and back” and is co-founder of Sec-Ter- Security and Terrorism Observation and Analysis Group.