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Italian Neo-nazis Attack Immigrant, Imperil His Life and Set House Afire

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Neo-Nazis broke into the apartment of an immigrant leader here and brutally attacked him, carving a swastika on his face, dousing him with gasoline and setting his home on fire.

The attack came one day before a new Italian movie about neo-Nazi gangs was to open in cinemas around the country.

The victim, 48-year-old Mowhideen Nowfer of Sri Lanka, who is the president of an immigrants association, was rushed to the hospital after the attack Thursday and was visited by local dignitaries and politicians who expressed outrage at the incident.

Several unidentified persons broke into Nowfer’s apartment, tied him up and carved a swastika on his face with a knife. They also daubed swastikas on the walls of his home.

Before fleeing the scene, the assailants set a fire, causing an explosion that seriously damaged the building.

Interior Minister Nicola Mancino termed the attack “extremely serious and disquieting.”

Italian television said Nowfer was doused with gasoline and that his attackers also opened a gas jet in the apartment.

The new movie, called “Skinheads” and directed by Claudio Fragasso, tells the story of a working-class youth called Marco who joins a gang of skinheads in Rome for want of anything better to do in his life.

“I tried above all to discover the reasons that prompt a young man like Marco to shave his head. The first actions that he carries out are more or less motivated. But in the end he arrives at blind violence, without any reason behind it,” the director told La Repubblica newspaper.

The director cast several actual skinheads in minor roles as gang members.

Marco in the film lives a double life. He throws himself into skinhead raids and attacks and prides himself on his physical strength.

But at the same time, unemployed, he lives at home with his mother and even has a black girlfriend.

“The message of the movie is clear,” said Gianmarco Tognazzi, who plays Marco.

“If I were a skinhead and saw a story of this type, I would feel like a big zero. But then, this movie was not made to give skinheads pause to think, but to serve as a warning for those young people who could become skinheads,” Tognazzi said.

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