'No clear link' between trauma and radicalization in refugees

DPA/The Local
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'No clear link' between trauma and radicalization in refugees
Adolescent refugees. Photo: DPA

A specialist in psychiatric care for migrants has said that there is no known link between trauma and radicalization, after an adolescent refugee attacked train passengers with an axe.


Traumatized refugees are not at particular risk of carrying out acts of violence, a specialist from Nuremberg Hospital said.

“”It would be too much of a generalization to make this connection. This has never been studied and it would therefore be wrong to claim it exists," she said.

The Nuremberg psychiatrist added that there is also no great risk of traumatized refugees coming under the influence of terror group Isis.

The Nuremberg specialist is currently undertaking a study of 300 refugees at a reception centre in northern Bavaria.

“More than 40 percent of them have psychological illnesses due to their experiences while fleeing their home countries,” she said.

Typically refugees may suffer from post traumatic stress disorder, depression and insomnia.

“They are traumatized because they fled on boats or because smugglers hid them underground," she explained.

Psychological illness is more common among refugees than in the wider population, she said, adding that these illnesses are often connected with suicide attempts or joblessness.

“These refugees need help immediately,” she emphasized.

Since an adolescent refugee, believed to have come from Afghanistan, attacked rail passengers with an axe on Monday, questions have been asked about whether there is a possible connection between trauma and his crime.

Prosecutors said they were looking into evidence which suggests the teenager had learned of the death of a close friend back in Afghanistan days before the attack.

Authorities believe the attacker radicalized himself at home after they found a homemade Isis flag in his bedroom.

Investigations of his active history on social media showed no clues of Islamist leanings until he posted a cryptic message alluding to Islam within 24 hours of the attack, prosecutors have said.

Some politicians have claimed that the care provided to adolescent refugees who arrive in Germany is insufficient and that the state must do more to recognize warning signs of mental illness.


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