Giovedì, 18 Ottobre 2018
GENOA

Italian Islam convert killed fighting for Syrian rebels

English
© ANSA

(By Christopher Livesay)
Genoa, June 18 - A 20-year-old from the
northwestern port city of Genoa who had converted to Islam has
died in Syria while fighting with rebels against the government
of Bashar al-Assad.
The death of Giuliano Ibrahim Delnevo, a student, was first
reported by Milan daily Il Giornale on Tuesday and subsequently
confirmed by ANSA sources.
Delnevo, who had taken the name Ibrahim along with his new
faith, had posted passages of the Koran on his Facebook page
along with a photograph of Abdullah Yusuf Azzam, known as the
'Father of Global Jihad' who inspired Osama bin Laden to take up
fundamentalist offensive jihad.
His family reportedly had no ties to Islam.
According to Il Giornale he taken up with the "most
extremist Syrian rebels".
Prosecutors later revealed Delnevo was under investigation
in Genoa for terrorist recruitment at the time of his death.
According to sources, the probe had been ongoing for
months.
Authorities said he went to Syria towards the end of 2012,
though he had already made contact with extremist groups there
in mid-2012.
Investigators are looking into whether Delnevo was trained
in Italy.
Prosecutors said "there are other suspects who are not from
Genova".
But Italy's Security Intelligence Department (DIS) was
quick to assure there was no major risk of widespread terrorist
recruitment in the country.
"There is not a concentration of recruitment, just a few
individuals," said DIS Director Giampiero Massolo.
The imam of Genoa told ANSA he remembers seeing Delnevo.
"He didn't come to pray in our center, but I remember
seeing him at some of our events, because he was dressed like a
sufi," Salah Hussein said, noting a long white tunic and a
Qizilbash, a traditional crimson hat.
The head of the Italian Union of Islamic Communities and
Organizations (UCOI) on Tuesday distanced his group from the
young radical, which the media has dubbed "the Italian
jihadist".
"Our role as men and women of faith, just as other faiths,
is to work together to send a message of co-existence and not to
leave space for personal interpretations of divine messages,"
said Ezzedine Elzir.
"I don't know this boy, and I know that (the Muslim
community) in Genoa didn't know him...
"I don't believe he was converted here in Italy".
Delnevo is not the first Italian citizen to be linked to
extremist Islam.
But the fact that he was born and raised in a Catholic
country to Italian parents and not to parents from a
majority-Muslim country makes him stand out.
Less surprising was the arrest last week of a 21-year-old
Italian of Moroccan descent in Brescia for allegedly running the
Italian branch of a Belgium-based Islamist organisation under
suspicion of planning attacks in Italy.

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