This lengthy story about the Islamic jihadist who recently went on a stabbing spree in a supermarket in Hamburg attempts to show how his “transformation highlights a growing problem among refugees in the country: mental illness.” Here are some of the indications, as far as Spiegel is concerned, that “Ahmed A.” is descending into insanity:
“According to the reports, A. would sometimes withdraw for days, and he had stopped drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana. During these periods, he spent more time at the mosque than usual and berated his Muslim friends for not obeying the rules of Islam. But then he seemed perfectly normal again. The friends were perplexed. Was A. merely ’emotionally drained’ or had he been radicalized?”
“The man’s account resembled that of Ahmed A.’s friends. He said that a man he knew at the Kiwittsmoor refugee hostel in the Langenhorn neighborhood had stopped drinking and smoking, and was talking a lot about religion. The police officer filed a report. It would later emerge that the man in question was Ahmed A.”
“A. was also exhibiting strange behavior at the Kiwittsmoor refugee hostel. He was knocking on the doors of other residents at night, shouting, ‘Allahu akbar,’ or God is great. Crazy, out of it, strange — these were the words counselors and fellow residents were now using to describe the young asylum-seeker.”
So Ahmed A. stopped drinking and smoking marijuana, and started berating his Muslim friends for not following Islam. He started knocking on doors at the refugee hostel at night while screaming “Allahu akbar.” That showed that he was “crazy, out of it, strange.”
In reality, of course, it showed that he was becoming “radicalized,” in the current parlance, and even as Spiegel searches for clues of his “radicalization,” its army of authors doesn’t see them when they’re in plain sight. Spiegel’s author squadron seems to think that if only counselors had been able to get through to poor Ahmed A., he would have stopped knocking on doors and screaming “Allahu akbar,” and would never have stabbed anyone.
Spiegel doesn’t take into account the power of Islam for a man like Ahmed A.: the idea that he is serving Allah by menacing and trying to kill Infidels, and outweighing all his sins on the great scales of judgment by doing so, is something that never enters their considerations, because they don’t believe it exists. They even end their account by noting that Ahmed had cannabis in his blood when he went on his stabbing spree, implying that he was not a pious Muslim and was simply acting out on his mental illness. But they don’t know, or don’t want their readers to know, that the Qur’an teaches (21:47) that Muslims gain Paradise if their good deeds outweigh their bad deeds, and a hadith has Muhammad saying that there was no deed greater than jihad. So Ahmed knew that he could get high and then, because he stabbed some Infidels, Allah would overlook the weed.
Non-Muslim authorities routinely ascribe jihad activity to mental illness, but here Spiegel is taking this willful ignorance to a new level.
“Attack Underscores Need To Address Refugees’ Mental Health,” by Laura Backes, Jürgen Dahlkamp, Hubert Gude, Martin Knobbe, Roman Lehberger, Andrew Moussa and Wolf Wiedmann-Schmidt, Spiegel Online, August 10, 2017:
In 2015, Ahmed A. was an unremarkable Palestinian asylum applicant with dreams of a new life in Germany. Two years later, he went on a deadly stabbing spree in a Hamburg supermarket. His transformation highlights a growing problem among refugees in the country: mental illness.
At the end of his asylum hearing on July 29, 2015, Ahmed A. wanted to get something off his chest. He had actually said everything there was to be said in the hearing, which had been underway for about 90 minutes. After a six-year odyssey across Europe, he must have realized that what had transpired in the hearing wasn’t enough to gain asylum in Germany.
He uttered just two more sentences, in the hope that they would help his cause: “I would also like to say that I have never caused any problems, neither in Norway nor in the other countries I was in. You’re welcome to make inquiries if you want to make sure.”
Two years later, one thing is clear: Ahmed A. was the man with the knife on a street in Hamburg’s Barmbek neighborhood. The man who stabbed five people on Friday, July 28, killing one of them. The Islamist who praised Allah as he tried to indiscriminately kill people with a 20-centimeter (8-inch) knife he had ripped out of its packaging in a local Edeka supermarket.
In two years, Ahmed A. had become a problem — a deadly one….
A team of DER SPIEGEL reporters has reconstructed the Palestinian’s journey from the Gaza Strip to the European Union, and has reviewed files and spoken with witnesses. It is clear that the authorities had learned through tips and warnings that Ahmed A. had radicalized and that he was in an unstable mental state. Employees at a counseling center where he was receiving care said they were overwhelmed. And a police detective even tried to recruit him as an informant in the Islamist community.
There were numerous conversations and emergency meetings, but apparently no one who consistently paid attention to the young man and his apparent psychological problems. Counselors and government officials neglected to obtain professional help — no psychologists, no doctors.
Ahmed A.’s case casts a light on a growing problem with Germany’s refugee policy: the growing number of mentally unstable asylum-seekers. Studies show that the longer an asylum procedure takes, the greater the susceptibility to mental illness. Iris Hauth of the Society for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Psychosomatics and Neurology warns that there is a lack of adequate counseling services for refugees. Most importantly, she explains, counselors in refugee homes have to be trained in how to address these problems.
At first, Ahmed A. seemed to be open and approachable. DER SPIEGEL and SPIEGEL TV have an unpublished video interview, completed a year and a half ago, in which he seemed thoughtful and harmless as he spoke about his expectations and concerns. There was no sign of hate, but rather a sense of hope for a better life.
Unable to Convince Authorities
Ahmed A. was born in Al Baha, Saudi Arabia, in January 1991. When he was a child, the family moved to the Jabalia refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. That’s what he said at his hearing in July 2015, in an office of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) in the Hamburg neighborhood of Hammerbrook….
In his conversation with the activist, Ahmed A. spoke at length about his failed attempts to gain asylum in Europe, not just in Norway, but also in Spain and Sweden, where one of his brothers lived. He talked about the attacks in Paris and the New Year’s Eve assaults on women in Cologne. He said that he regretted what had happened there, and that it was not at all representative of Muslims. He also said that the men who had committed sexual assaults in Cologne should be punished or deported.
A. also said that he was not religious. “I was born as a Muslim, but I am not religious. I believe in values, in good values,” he said, adding that he had Christian and Jewish friends. “I hope for peace, and I hate no one.”
A year and a half later, the same man would indiscriminately stab people in Hamburg, allegedly in the name Islam [sic]….
But the refugee activist received disturbing news from friends at the Hamburg Refugees Café in the weeks that followed. Something wasn’t right with Ahmed A., they said. He had severed ties with his friends, including the volunteer Deniz Rau.
According to the reports, A. would sometimes withdraw for days, and he had stopped drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana. During these periods, he spent more time at the mosque than usual and berated his Muslim friends for not obeying the rules of Islam. But then he seemed perfectly normal again. The friends were perplexed. Was A. merely “emotionally drained” or had he been radicalized? No one believed that he could have been planning an attack, which is why they did not notify the police. Instead, in the spring of 2016 they turned to Legato, a Hamburg counseling center that deals with cases of “radicalization with religious underpinnings,” for advice….
Apparently, the Hamburg police didn’t learn that the refugee from the Gaza Strip had become radicalized in Germany until spring of 2016. On April 1, a concerned man walked into a police station at the back of the main train station in Hamburg. The officers at that particular station normally deal with pickpocketing cases and drug offences, not terrorism.
The man’s account resembled that of Ahmed A.’s friends. He said that a man he knew at the Kiwittsmoor refugee hostel in the Langenhorn neighborhood had stopped drinking and smoking, and was talking a lot about religion. The police officer filed a report. It would later emerge that the man in question was Ahmed A….
He was confronted with the Islamism allegations during his next appointment at the aliens’ registration authority. A. was apparently close to tears, an employee of the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution later noted in his report, insisting that he was a peaceful person. But he was emotionally agitated, according to the report, and his facial expressions and gestures also caught his attention. These are all signs of an emotionally unstable personality.
But Ahmed A. was never seen by a psychologist or a psychiatrist, neither in the fall of 2016, when he appeared increasingly disturbed, nor at a later date….Beginning in November 2016, there were growing signs that Ahmed A. was becoming radicalized. A tip from an employee of the refugee café at the university in Hamburg reached the security authorities. The employee said that she had seen the Palestinian at the café a number of times. One day, she said, Ahmed A. turned up at the café dressed in a djellaba, a traditional Arab robe. “Terror will come to this place, too,” he allegedly threatened.
A. was also exhibiting strange behavior at the Kiwittsmoor refugee hostel. He was knocking on the doors of other residents at night, shouting, “Allahu akbar,” or God is great.
Crazy, out of it, strange — these were the words counselors and fellow residents were now using to describe the young asylum-seeker. But who could speak with him if even professional counselors were unable to get through to him? There was a lot of discussion in late 2016 and early 2017, but very little was decided. As a result, Ahmed A. was left on his own, and he increasingly began to drift away….
At 3:10 p.m., he took a kitchen knife from a shelf in an Edeka supermarket in Hamburg-Barmbek and ripped off the packaging. A trainee was straightening up rice packages when he heard loud noises in the next aisle. Thinking that some customers were fighting, he ran over to break it up.
When he entered the next aisle, the trainee saw a man with a crazy look in his eyes and knife in his hand, only two meters away. He turned and ran away, hiding in the employee bathroom. An employee working behind the meat counter watched as A. approached another customer and, without hesitation, stabbed him in the chest. The 50-year-old man collapsed immediately and intially [sic] survived, but eventually succumbed to the severe injuries. Ahmed A. ran outside, shouting, his face red with anger. He stabbed passersby outside the supermarket, until young men managed to stop him with chairs, rocks and sticks. Like Ahmed A., most of the young men were migrants. They are now being called the “heroes of Barmbek.”
When he was questioned, A. said that he wanted to die as a “martyr.” Investigators have not been able to determine if he was in contact with IS or another terror organization. IS has also not claimed responsibility for the attack, as it often does in such cases. Still, during his interrogation Ahmed A. insisted that he is a terrorist. When they searched his room at the refugee hostel, the investigators found a self-painted picture with the seal of the Prophet in his locker, the same kind of picture used by IS. There were also traces of cannabis in his blood.