Man crying ‘Allahu Akbar’ tries to run into Berlin synagogue with knife

Man crying ‘Allahu Akbar’ tries to run into Berlin synagogue with knife

Police subdue, arrest 23-year-old, apparently a Syrian refugee, who also shouted ‘Fuck Israel’ in Friday incident; German media says probe ongoing but suspect released from custody

File: The Neue Synagoge (New Synagogue) in Berlin in 2014. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
File: The Neue Synagoge (New Synagogue) in Berlin in 2014. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

A man armed with a knife attempted to run into a synagogue in central Berlin Friday evening, German media reported Saturday.

The man, apparently a Syrian refugee, was tackled by security personnel at the entrance to the Neue Synagogue. According to the Bild website, he was heard calling out “Allahu Akbar” (“God is Great” in Arabic) and “Fuck Israel.”

German police said the man, identified as Murad M., was hit with pepper spray by guards and then subdued and disarmed.

Officials said he carried documentation identifying him as 23 years old, originating from Damascus and with a residency permit, which ends in December 2020.

The incident occurred at around 5:30 p.m. according to Bild, likely shortly before the start of Friday’s evening prayer service.

Police said the assailant had no prior record and was not known to authorities.

The investigation was ongoing, but German media said that the man was released from police custody on Saturday morning.

The incident came a day after a staffer at Paris police headquarters who adhered to “a radical vision of Islam” stabbed four colleagues to death. Sources said he had worked in a section of the police service dedicated to collecting information on jihadist radicalization.

The past year has seen two deadly shootings at US synagogues. Prayer houses in Europe are also under ongoing threat from anti-Semitic attacks and are regularly protected by local police forces.

Illustrative. Police guard a synagogue during a visit by French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, in Marseille, southern France, Thursday, January 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

In May the German government’s top official against anti-Semitism caused outrage when he said he wouldn’t advise Jews to wear skullcaps in parts of the country, citing “increasing social disinhibition and brutality.”

The influx of Arab refugees in Europe in recent years has also given rise to numerous instances of anti-Semitism in connection with Israel, often by people from Muslim societies.

In a 2016 survey of hundreds of German Jews who had experienced anti-Semitic incidents, 41 percent said the perpetrator was “someone with a Muslim extremist view.”

Join us!
A message from the Editor of Times of Israel
David Horovitz

The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.

We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.

Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.

Become a member of The Times of Israel Community
read more: