An Afghan man suspected of stabbing two American tourists last year at Amsterdam’s Central Station told judges on Monday he travelled to the Netherlands “to protect the Prophet Mohammed”.
The 20-year-old man, only identified as “Jawed S.”, appeared at a two-day hearing in a heavily fortified courtroom in Amsterdam, where he faces two attempted murder charges with the aim of committing an act of terror.
“I came to the Netherlands to protect my prophet,” Jawed S. told the judges in reference to the August 31 incident last year that sent midday commuters into a panic and left two severely injured victims.
“I was planning to kill unfair and cruel people, those who make it possible for the Prophet Mohammed to be insulted,” national news agency ANP quoted him as saying.
Jawed S. previously mentioned anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders, and his knife assault came a day after the far-right MP announced he was cancelling moves to stage a cartoon competition to caricature the Prophet Mohammed.
Wilders pulled the plug on the competition at the time saying he wanted to “avoid the risk of making people victims of Islamist violence”.
Asked what Jawed S. planned to achieve with his action, he told judges “I wanted to defend my religion and make it clear that my religion should be left alone.
“If you don’t do that, you should be prepared for these kind of actions,” he said.
Two American tourists were seriously injured in the lunchtime attack inside the Dutch capital’s busy station next to its historic city centre.
Police reacted quickly, shooting Jawed S. in the lower body before arresting him.
One victim remains in a wheelchair with a severe spinal cord injury, while a second man was stabbed in the right chest and arm, according to reports.
“Due to nerve damage this man still has very little as well as and tingling feeling in his arm,” the ANP said.
The hearing continues on Tuesday.