• 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
Fresh attempt to seize Hitler's birth house
Austria's government submitted Friday a law to seize the house where Hitler was born, in a bid to stop the building becoming a neo-Nazi shrine.

Austria's government submitted Friday a law to seize the house where Hitler was born, in a bid to stop the building becoming a neo-Nazi shrine.

Murder-suicide in Braunau am Inn, birthplace of Hitler
Photo: Stadtamt Braunau am Inn

A small Upper Austrian town best known for being the birthplace of Adolf Hitler has apparently witnessed a murder-suicide on Friday afternoon.

Young Austrian millionaire dies after falling from window
Monaco, where the incident happened. Photo: Tobi 87/Wikimedia

The mysterious death of a 43-year-old Austrian millionaire is being investigated by authorities after he fell from a window of his luxury home in Monaco.

Weekend promises both hailstones and sunshine
Strandbad Alte Donau. Photo: Stadt Wien

Depending on where you are in Austria this weekend, expect either thunderstorms or 31 degree sunshine.

Austria's 'free sex' brothel owner arrested in tax dispute
Herman Pascha/Youtube

An Austrian brothel owner who made worldwide headlines in 2015 when he offered free sex to punters as a protest against paying tax has once again run into trouble with the taxman.

Austria's super rich are becoming 'poorer'
One of Austria's richest people Ferdinand Piëch. Stuart Mentiply/Wikimedia.

Austria’s richest people are not quite as rich as they used to be - although the country’s wealthiest family are still worth €35 billion.

Captain America inspiration behind Vienna Hyperloop
HTT

Anyone who still holds on to their childhood dream of being a superhero will be delighted by the name of the state-of-the-art technology behind a transport system planned for Vienna.

Brexit
Deadline for overseas Brexit voters looms
Jeff Djevdet/Creative Commons

British people living in Austria who are eligible to vote in the EU referendum have until Tuesday June 7th to apply for a proxy vote.

Gay doctor in Austria fired for arranging illegal surrogacy
AKH. Photo: Medical University of Vienna

A gay doctor who wanted a child with his partner was fired by a hospital in Austria after persuading a fellow doctor to carry their baby, despite surrogacy being illegal in the country.

Facebook on shaky ground after activist's latest victory
Manfred Werner/Wikimedia

Austrian data privacy activist achieves another legal victory in his bid to stop Facebook transferring European citizens’ data to the US.

Politics
Austria's choice for a new president
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
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
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!
Lifestyle
Top tips for partying like an Austrian
Culture
Five places to learn how to cook Viennese cuisine
Lifestyle
How living in Austria will improve your lifestyle
Lifestyle
Backstage at the World Beard and Moustache Championship
Gallery
Up to 60,000 people welcomed refugees in Vienna
Culture
Can you spot an Austrian?
Lifestyle
Our pick of Vienna's best vegetarian restaurants
Analysis & Opinion
Italy's South Tyrol: where an identity crisis lingers
National
Lost on the way to sanctuary
2,478
jobs available