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Italian aid worker kidnapped by Al-Shabab militants returns a Muslim

Silvia Romano was working as a volunteer in an orphanage in Chakama village in southeast Kenya

Thursday May 14, 2020 3:36 PM, ummid.com News Network

Silvia Romano converts to Islam

[Italian aid worker, Silvia Romano reacts upon her arrival at home in Milan, Italy. (Photo: EPA)]

Rome: Silvia Romano, an Italian aid worker, converted to Islam and became a Muslim after spending 18 months as hostage by Al-Shabab militants in Kenya.

Silvia Romano was working for charity Africa Milele in Southeastern Kenya. She was kidnapped in November 2018 and freed in Somalia on Saturday. She arrived in Rome as a Muslim on Sunday.

Her release became possible due to the negotiation with the militant group by Italian intelligence services working with their Turkish counterparts.

But, what should have been a joyful time for Romano and her family has been marred by displays of bigotry and intolerance in Italy, a majority Catholic country where racist incidents have grown amid anti-migrant sentiment.

Images showing her clothing and appearance as she left the airport triggered criticism by right-wingers who claimed Romano had Stockholm syndrome, where a hostages comes to an affiliation with their captor, according to The National.

'No coercion'

Silvia Romano however refuted all these allegations and told Italian investigators that she became a Muslim during her captivity with the Al-Shabab group and adopted the name Aisha.

“I converted to Islam. It was my free choice. There was no coercion on the part of the kidnappers, who always treated me with humanity,” she told the Italian press after being greeted in Rome by her relatives and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

'Abused for converting to Islam'

Silvia Romano who was working as a volunteer in an orphanage in Chakama village in southeast Kenya is however contineously facing abuses for her decision to convert to Islam, with Nico Basso, a right-wing city councilor in Asolo, near Venice, posting a photo of her captioned: “Hang her.”

The post, which he quickly removed, was accompanied by other offensive and vulgar statements against Romano.

An anti-terror prosecutor in Milan has opened an investigation into the Islamophobic threats made against Silvia Romano. Local Police have also stepped up patrols around her home in Milan.

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