A radicalised Syrian refugee who came to Germany during the height of the migrant crisis has been sentenced to life in prison for an attack on a gay couple that led to the death of a 55-year-old man.
A court in Dresden sentenced 21-year-old Abdullah al-Haj Hasan to life in prison on Friday after he was found guilty of murdering 55-year-old Thomas L. and found guilty of attempted murder of the man’s 53-year-old partner, Oliver.
The attack took place in October in the city’s centre and saw the Syrian stab the gay couple in an incident said to be motivated by homophobia and radical Islamist beliefs, Bild reports.
Federal Prosecutor Marcel Croissant had said of al-Haj Hasan: “The defendant acted for radical Islamist and homophobic motives. It was an attack on all of us because it was an attack on our values and our coexistence.”
The prosecution further said that the two victims were “representatives of a liberal and open social order that he rejected as ‘infidel’”.
According to the tabloid, the Syrian came to Germany in October 2015 as an underage asylum seeker and was granted refugee status in May 2016.
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By 2017, the Syrian had become radicalised. Even while living in an asylum home, he is reported to have recruited followers of the Islamic State and threatened Christian asylum seekers.
He was said to have written to one: “I will slaughter you today. You have a big mouth, and I’ll cut off your tongue, you Christian. ”
Al-Haj Hasan was sentenced to juvenile detention in 2018 after using social media to promote jihad and used ISIS symbols in his Facebook profile.
According to Bild, al-Haj Hasan had planned an attack in Germany for years and even searched the internet for instructions on building a suicide bomb vest. He allegedly planned to attack a folk festival in Dresden.
The attack on the two gay men came just days after al-Haj Hasan had been released from juvenile detention.
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Radical Islamic extremism remains a major security issue in Germany, and al-Haj Hasan is not the first asylum seeker to conduct an attack in Germany in recent years or attempt to conduct one.
Anis Amri, the Berlin truck attacker who killed a dozen people in December 2016, was also an asylum seeker.
A 2017 report by the Heritage Foundation think tank found that more than half of the terrorist plots in Germany had involved refugees and asylum seekers since the beginning of the migrant crisis.