The “Allahu akhbar” phenomenon is spreading across the globe as news broke of a stabbing attack in northeast Australia in which a French man shouted the Arabic phrase, meaning “God is great”, as he assaulted several people with a knife, killing one and wounding two. A dog was also killed in the attack.
The stabbing took place on Tuesday night at a backpackers’ hostel in Home Hill, Queensland. A 21-year-old British woman, in Australia on vacation, was wounded fatally and died. A British man, 30, was critically wounded and hospitalized, while a third victim, a 47-year-old local man, was treated and released.
The suspect, 29, did not have any known links to the Islamic State or other radical Islamic terrorist organizations, the Queensland Police Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski. He appeared to have acted alone.
Gollschewski said that the phrase may have indicated “an extremist nature” and added that the police were “not ruling out any motivations at this early stage, whether they be criminal or political,” the Guardian reported.
“The associated issues of what motivated him and whether that has any relevance to radicalization is something we’re going to explore fully, but we won’t know for some time whether that’s the case,” he said, noting the police would be treating the attack as a homicide in the interim.
The incident follows close on the heels of another terror attack in which the perpetrator shouted the Arabic phrase, which is a central refrain in Muslim prayer but has become associated with jihadis and extremists.
The previous attack took place in Strausbourg, France last Friday. A French rabbi was stabbed brutally by a man wielding a knife and yelling “Allahu akhbar” close to the city’s Great Synagogue.
These two attacks are part of a larger trend of terror attacks occurring in Europe in an outward spread from the Middle East. If the Australia attack was indeed motivated by radical Islamist reasons, it seems the danger has crossed over the ocean as well.