Dutch prosecutors on Monday announced that the 19-year-old Afghan citizen accused of stabbing two American tourists may have done so because he believes Islam is insulted in the Netherlands.
The announcement came after officials said there was a “terrorist motive” behind the attack.
The suspect, identified only as Jawed S., allegedly stabbed the two Americans at Amsterdam’s Central Station just after noon on Friday. His reasoning for targeting the victims was not based on their nationality, prosecutors said. Rather, the suspect's grievance was with the European country where the assault took place, they said in a written statement.
"It is apparent from his statements that he believes that in the Netherlands, the Prophet Muhammad, the Quran, Islam and Allah are repeatedly insulted," prosecutors said, noting that the Afghan man specifically mentioned Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders, who is known for his fierce anti-Islam rhetoric.
"From the suspect's statements so far, it is clear the man had a terrorist motive ... and that he traveled to the Netherlands for that reason," the prosecutors said.
The Americans suffered serious but non life-threatening injuries. Prosecutors said they did not believe the suspect was working with anyone else.
Wilders last week called off a planned contest for cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad following death threats and concerns other people could be put at risk. Prosecutors said the suspect did not mention the contest in his statements.
Wilders reacted with a tweet, writing: "Muslim terrorists hate our way of life and our freedoms. They answer criticism of Islam with violence."
The suspect, who was shot after the stabbings and was recovering from his injuries in a hospital, had applied for asylum in Germany and was not considered a security threat there, German officials said Monday.
An investigating judge extended the suspect's custody because of fears he may escape the region, repeat the crime or otherwise break the law, according to a statement by an Amsterdam court.
Fox News’ Paulina Dedaj and The Associated Press contributed to this report.