A Belgian priest has been attacked by a man who claimed to be an asylum seeker. The perpetrator first asked Father Jos Vanderlee if he could take a shower and then demanded money. When the priest said no, the man stabbed him.
The incident took place in the small town of Lanaken, Limburg province, on the Belgium-Netherlands border on Sunday. The man who presented himself as an asylum seeker knocked on the door of Vanderlee’s home, asking for a shower and help.
“He said he was going to ask asylum in the Netherlands,” a spokesman for the Limburg prosecutor, Bruno Coppin, later said, as cited by Het Laatste Nieuws newspaper.
However, after showering, the man demanded money from the 65-year-old priest. When Vanderlee refused to hand over cash, he was attacked with a knife.
“Pastor Vanderlee defended himself [from the attacker] and suffered injuries to his hands,” says Coppin, adding that the attacker fled the scene.
The priest was transported to hospital and received surgery.
“He is not in danger,” Coppin added.
Vanderlee has served as a priest for 40 years and is responsible for eight parishes in Lanaken.
Police and prosecutors refused to link the attack with Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), Belgian media reported, adding that that the suspect is not a resident of the local refugee center.