Venice: A radical Muslim imam and three Syrian nationals were arrested in Italy Wednesday on suspicion of belonging to a human trafficking gang that smuggled illegal migrants from the Middle East to Italy.
Police believe the unnamed imam from San Dona` di Piave near Venice was funnelling cash from the trafficking racket to international jihadist groups.
The illegal migrants paid "large sums" to the gang to be smuggled into Italy, where some were employed on building sites run by the imam and his brothers, police said.
Souad Sbai, Italian MP of Moroccan origin, welcomed the arrests.
"These people are dangerous, not only for immigrants who want to live honestly, but also for their hosts who don`t really know who or what is behind the many self-styled imams living in Italy," Sbai said.