• Austria's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Is Austria underestimating the threat of radicalization?
A young suspect in court. Photo: APA/ORF

Is Austria underestimating the threat of radicalization?

The Local · 29 Jan 2016, 13:09

Published: 29 Jan 2016 13:09 GMT+01:00

Around 20 young people in Austria have already been sentenced for supporting Islamic State (Isis) militants and several are now being supported by specially trained youth workers as part of the Neustart rehabilitation programme.

Neustart spokesman Andreas Zembaty said that the process is not too different from deradicalizing people who have become influenced by neo-Nazis, and that many young people are driven to extremist ideas by feelings of insecurity and think that: “If no one likes me then at least I can get people to admire or fear me”.

He said that "anyone with an education, a job, an apartment, a future, a girlfriend, or caregivers, is unlikely to become radicalized”.

'Recruiting sites for extremists'

One 15-year-old who was already sentenced for plotting to blow up a train station in Vienna is back in police custody after allegedly photoshopping images of his friends onto images of Isis fighters in Syria, to show them how “heroic” they could be. Since being released from prison last year he has had home visits from his parole officer four times a month, but has reportedly been struggling to keep up at school.

Justice Ministry spokeswoman Britta Tichy-Martin told the Kurier newspaper that a special package of measures is being drawn up to help prison officers detect when prisoners have been radicalized and how they can combat this.

But experts say the need for this is urgent, and recommend special programmes for radicalized youth and young adults, adding that no expense should be spared in implementing them. “Deconstructing such an ideology is a long process, that must take into account many factors,”  Verena Fabris, director of the extremism counselling centre said.

“Prisons are often recruiting sites for extremists,” integration and extremism expert Kenan Güngör said. “Many inmates start to question the meaning of life and some find comfort in radical religious views.”

Story continues below…

Some experts believe that Austria has underestimated the risk of radicalisation. Last year, a new extremism hotline received around 1,000 calls from mothers, fathers, sisters, grandmothers and girlfriends who were worried about their loved ones being radicalised.

Figures from Austria’s police intelligence agency show that as many as 250 people are suspected of having links to radical jihadists - and that 40 of these are under 18 years old.

For more news from Austria, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Today's headlines
Kurz: EU migration policy a “dramatic failure”
Sebastian Kurz. File photo: BMEIA

Austria’s Foreign Minister, Sebastian Kurz, has warned that the refugee crisis could break the European Union apart.

No work for Vienna’s fiaker horses during heatwaves
Photo: Paul Gillingwater

The Austrian parliament is set to pass a new law making it illegal for fiaker carriage horses to work in temperatures of 35C and above.

Firefighters rescue cat from car engine
Photo: FF Amstetten

Firemen were called out to help this trapped cat after a squeaking noise from the engine compartment was discovered to be a moggy in distress.

Two teens sexually assaulted at music festival
A picture from the festival in 2014. Photo: Luca Sartoni/Flickr

Two 15-year-old girls were reportedly sexually assaulted during Donauinselfest, an open-air, free music festival in Vienna.

Bank manager tied up and robbed in home invasion
The affluent Döbling district of Vienna. Photo: Gryffindor/wikimedia commons

It is the third burglary of this kind in Vienna this year...

Despite high unemployment restaurants can't find staff
File photo: David Mulder/Flickr

"Closed today - no staff but over 500,000 unemployed people. Sorry!" one frustrated restaurant owner wrote on a sign outside his business.

Austrian prisoners to receive condoms and lubricant
Photo: robertelyov/Flickr

'Safe sex packages' including an informative leaflet will be distributed to first-time prisoners.

US rapper appeals extradition from France
Photo: SwaGibbs/Wikimedia

Michael Malka, the lawyer for US rapper Freddie Gibbs, announced that his client will be appealing his extradition to Austria on charges of rape.

Manfred Deix, the man who captured Austria’s soul
Photo: A sample of the work of the late cartoonist

Famous Austrian Cartoonist Manfred Deix died in the hospital on Saturday after a long battle with severe illness.

Man dies while skinny-dipping with mistress
Photo: Stanislav Doronenko/Wikimedia

An Austrian man drowned during a skinny-dipping session with his mistress on Saturday, after jumping naked with her into a nearby lake.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
It's gonna be hot... here's how to cope
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
National
Europe's ice cream capital
Travel
Best Austrian beauty spots
Travel & Tourism
Three days in Vienna as a tourist
National
How to make friends in Austria
National
Don't hesitate - break the window
Sport
Ready to watch some football? Here's how!
National
Cake rules
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Politics
Austria's choice for a new president
Politics
Profile on Norbert Hofer, Freedom Party Presidential Candidate
Politics
Austrian politics explained. TL;DR: worry not.
Features
Refugees need practical help
Lifestyle
All you need to know about Austrian Faschingskrapfen
Lifestyle
Why looking good on the ski slopes has never been easier
Lifestyle
Live in Austria? You might develop some of these weird habits
National
How 'Silent Night' rules the carol world
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Lifestyle
How a chance meeting on the slopes led to a new business
Lifestyle
What it means to be human
Technology
How a town became a green icon
Lifestyle
Why Austria has the world's best ski resort
Lifestyle
Let them eat cake!
2,466
jobs available