Afghan Teen Arrested After Attacking Elderly Nun Amid Series Of Incidents Targeting Christians

(Photo by Kiran Ridley/Getty Images)

Marlo Safi Culture Reporter
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Police in Austria arrested an Afghan man suspected of attacking a nun amid a series of other incidents targeting Christians in Europe, Catholic News Agency reported.

The 19-year-old Afghan-born man allegedly hit the 76-year-old nun in the face while she was on a bus in Graz on Saturday before fleeing, according to CNA

Police reviewed video footage from the bus, which led them to the suspect who had prior drug and assault offenses. Police say his motive remains unclear, according to CNA.

The incident came days after 3 people were killed at a Catholic church in France in what investigators believe to be an act of terrorism committed by a 21-year-old Tunisian migrant. The church attack in Nice happened two weeks after teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded after showing students the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, published by the Charlie Hebdo satire magazine in 2015, during a lesson on freedom of speech.

A woman lights a candle in front of the Notre-Dame de l’Assomption Basilica in Nice on October 30, 2020 during a tribute to the victims killed by a knife attacker the day before. (Photo by VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images)

The attack in Graz also follows several recent crimes targeting Christians throughout Austria. 

On Thursday, a group of 30 to 50 youths who are believed to be Turkish gathered at St. Anton church in Vienna and kicked furniture, according to the Associated Press

Following the incident, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz tweeted Friday night a report of the incident with the comment “All Christians must be able to exercise their belief in Austria freely and safely! We will continue the fight against political Islam with determination and will show no false tolerance.”

Roughly two days after the incident at St. Anton church, police said an Afghan man began shouting “Islamic slogans” in Vienna’s cathedral. 

Less than a week after the terror attack in France, Austrian officials say a terror attack has taken place in Vienna.

VIENNA, AUSTRIA – NOVEMBER 02: Heavily armed police stand outside the Vienna State Opera following shots fired in the city center on November 02, 2020 in Vienna, Austria. Police blocked off nearby streets around Schwedenplatz square and urged people to stay away in what seems to be an ongoing event possibly involving several attackers. (Photo by Michael Gruber/Getty Images)

French President Emmanuel Macron expressed solidarity with Austria on Twitter, where he said that France shares “the shock and sadness” of Austrians after the attack.

A large-scale police operation was underway in Vienna Monday after at least one gunman opened fire in the Inner City district, according to Reuters. The head of Vienna’s Jewish community, Oskar Deutsch, said the shooting took place near the city’s main synagogue but it is currently unclear if the synagogue was a specific target, according to the AP. (RELATED: REPORT: At Least Seven Dead In Austria Shooting, Explosion Near Vienna’s Main Synagogue)