The mayor of Florence has apologised after yelling ‘Allahu Akbar’ as a joke at the end of a meeting with the mayor of Venice.
Dario Nardella said it was ‘not my intention to cause offence’ after the remark provoked anger online after it was caught on video then circulated on social media.
Viewers criticsed the remark for being insensitive and offensive coming just six days after 15 people were killed in terror attacks in Spain.
Florence Mayor Dario Nadella (left) has apologised after shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ at his Venetian counterpart Luigi Brugnaro (right) after a meeting during which the two discussed terrorism
Mr Nardella had been at a meeting with Venetian counterpart Luigi Brugnaro in the city of Rimini on Tuesday when the pair discussed the issue of terrorism.
Mr Brugnaro said that anybody caught yelling Allahu Akbar in the city would be shot, echoing a previous promise he made.
‘A year ago, I said (they’d be shot) after four steps, now I’m saying it would happen after three,’ he said according to a translation by The Telegraph.
After the meeting was over, Mr Nardella was leaving when Mr Brugano ran up and grabbed him, at which point he shouted the phrase – which means God is greatest in Arabic and is often shouted by terrorists during attacks.
The two men then shared a laugh about the moment alongside aides who were walking along with them.
Nardella was caught on video making the joke, which then caused upset on social media and prompted him to issue the apology
However, not everybody found the moment so amusing, prompting Mr Nadella to issue an apology.
Writing on Facebook, he said: ‘I apologize for some remarks in an online video.
‘It was not my intention to offend anyone, not least the Muslim community, nor to joke about its religion, nor to evoke the tragic events of recent days.
‘In fact, during that video, I distance myself from the statement by my colleague Brugnaro about Muslim during his speech at the meeting in Rimini.
‘Anyone who knows me and knows my administration knows how to speak with all religious communities, including the moderate Muslim one.’