There is not much controversy over the facts: a Somali asylum seeker whose application was denied, murdered three women over the weekend in Wurzburg, Germany. On Friday around five in the afternoon (Germany time) he approached the saleswoman at the WoolWorth store in the city center, and asked where he could buy knives. When she pointed to the relevant shelf, he pulled out the largest knife, with a blade longer than 13 cm, and stabbed her several times.
The seller, 49, died from the stabbings. After that, the attacker, whose first name was Abdi-Rahman, 24, continued to stab to death an 82-year-old pensioner and then a 24-year-old mother who was trying to protect her child. According to street witnesses, the stabber shouted “Allahu Akbar” during the attack, then went out into the street to look for more victims. He located another 73-year-old woman who was withdrawing money from a nearby bank. He stabbed her in the back about 13 times, but she survived and was treated by a passerby.
At this point, the stabber was surrounded by passers-by who used chairs, tables and sticks to try and stop him. He was recorded taking a cellphone photo while shouting. Police arrived at the scene six minutes after the incident began. A police officer shot the stabber in the leg and he was arrested. According to a report, after the arrest he says “Allahu Akbar, I have carried out my personal jihad”. He was taken to a hospital.
It soon became clear that the suspect was homeless, with a history of mental health problems and violent problems. He is now mentioned in most of the German media as an “attacker with psychiatric problems”. He was reportedly trying to stab a homeless woman in a homeless shelter where he lived. Investigators, on the other hand, find jihadist materials in his room. Some in Germany believe that he targeted women because of hatred towards them, some believe that he did so because they are ostensibly easier victims of a murderous killing spree.
The confusion in German society
The dilemma of how to present the attack – as a terrorist attack or as a mad attack – also reflects the confusion in German society regarding dealing with more than a million asylum seekers, immigrants and refugees who came to the country since the summer of 2015.
If it is terrorism, as has happened in recent years in Germany in a series of incidents, then the blame lies with the opening of borders and the inability of the security services to thwart such incidents; If there are mental problems, then the authorities have failed to locate and prevent the murderous incident. The young man’s application for asylum was rejected, but like all asylum seekers from Somalia, he enjoys collective protection because of the situation in his country and cannot be deported.
“Many things are still unclear, especially regarding the motive,” said a senior ruling party official. “We do not know if this is a young man with psychiatric problems or an Islamist terrorist act.”
Meanwhile the latest headlines from German sites present the picture as follows: “Würzburg stabbing attack: search for clues continues” (Stuttgarter Zeitung); “How a Kurd stood against the attacker from Würzburg” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung); “Police: The motive for the attack in Würzburg is still unclear” (German news agency).
New details are published regularly. The local prosecution reports that the suspect was previously characterized as having “psychological problems”. He was even hospitalized for a period in a psychiatric institution, and information from another asylum seeker led to the opening of an investigation into crimes he allegedly committed as a 12-year-old in Somalia.
The investigation was closed. Earlier this month he stopped a car and got into a seat next to the driver and was then arrested and taken to a psychiatric institution. He was released a day after the crew determined that “there is no danger to himself or others.” The prosecution said that in light of the Islamic calls regarding jihad “all possibilities are being considered”.
Not to generalize to the entire Muslim population
The mayor warned not to generalize to the Muslim population as a result of the murder. “The crimes of individuals can never be attributed to groups, religions or nations. Even we Germans were not completely condemned after World War II. Thus, even this case does not affect Somalis or refugees in general. This kind of stereotypical thought must end. “, said.
The conservative newspaper “De Walt” hinted at how he sees things: “Five years ago an immigrant from Pakistan tried to attack residents with an ax near Würzburg and wounded them. On Friday, a Somali murdered three people in the city center … The 2015 refugee crisis will remain a threatening event for years Many are ahead. “
But while the motive is still unclear, and with it the political implications of the incident, on one issue the Germans are united – expressing regret over the incident. A mourning ceremony took place on Saturday in Würzburg, and crowds placed flowers and lit a candle in front of the entrance to the department store where most of the murders took place. The attacker’s cell phone is supposed to provide new clues as to the motive and possibly himself, in his interrogation.