In the wake of several high profile attacks involving underage Muslims, experts fear that they are very open to radicalisation, especially if they are new migrants.
The perpetrator of the axe attack on a train in Wuerzburg, the gunman in the terror attack in Munich and several other high profile attacks share a common factor, they were carried out by Muslim teenagers. Now experts are more fearful than ever of the risk of Islamic radicalisation of Muslim teens via internet propaganda and say that migrants are especially vulnerable as they become frustrated with a system that doesn’t give them everything they want reports Die Welt.
Muhammed Riyad, also known at Riaz A., was the teen behind the axe attack in Wuerzburg earlier this week that left several injured as he hacked at his victims with an axe. According to expert Thomas Mücke, co-founder and managing director of the Violence Prevention Network in Berlin, the greatest concern authorities have is the speed of his radicalisation and the fact he was able to do so unnoticed by those around him.
“In the case of Würzburg offender there appears to have been no signs,” Mücke said noting that no one around the attacker from his foster parents to the asylum workers who worked with Riaz, had any idea of his religiosity or his support for the Islamic State. “Signs of a possible radicalization are a rigid religiosity – and if the behavior changes suddenly,” according to Mücke which, in some cases has been seen in other underage Muslims who’ve gone on to commit attacks.
One attacker in which this was clearly seen was one of the pair of Muslims tgeens who set a bomb in a Sikh temple in Essen earlier this year. Breitbart London reported that Mohammed B. had not only been seen to have developed radical Islamic views by his peers and teachers, but had also been involved in an anti-radicalisation program to deter him away from his Salafist beliefs. He and his accomplice set the bomb in the Sikh temple while he was still enrolled in the program.
Mücke believes that underage Muslims from a migrant background are the most at risk of becoming radicalised. “Thousands of young refugees have disappeared or gone into hiding,” he said and added, “the wrong people approach them, that’s dangerous. Salafists do it namely to establish a sense of community.” The underage migrants, who may feel lost in a country that does not meet their expectations or the promises of people smugglers pushes them even further toward the radical groups who have been spotted visiting asylum homes to recruit followers.
A lack of community and belonging also allows underage migrants, who can easily access Islamic State propaganda on their smartphones, easy and private access to radicalising material. This “hidden extremism” is, according to Mücke is the most dangerous and admits his organization has seen Muslim teens starting to support groups like the Islamic state virtually overnight.