Europe

Syrian boy's murder in Germany sparks outrage

Odai Khamees Image copyright Facebook

On New Year's Eve, teenage Syrian refugee Odai K was chased and brutally attacked by a group of men who left him bleeding on the side of the road in Bremen, Germany.

The 15-year-old suffered severe head injuries and was in a coma for a week before he died of his injuries on 7 January.

The incident has shocked the country's Syrian refugee community and generated waves of anger against the media coverage of the attack and the way the police have handled the investigation.

Local reports say three Kurdish brothers, two aged 35 and 24 and one a minor, have been arrested in connection with the incident.

Amongst the Syrian refugee community in Germany, some have criticised the media for not covering the story either at all or in sufficient detail. They have argued on social media that if the incident had involved a German, coverage would have been much wider.

On one of the most popular Facebook groups for Syrian refugees in Germany, The Syrian House in Berlin, users exchanged arguments about how the community should react.

Image copyright Sakher al-Mohamad
Image caption Family friend Sakher al-Mohamad created a Facebook page to raise awareness about the boy's death

The hashtag #Bremen15 along with the phrase: "We are Odai" was created and shared on Facebook.

Some users replaced their cover photos and profile pictures with the victim's photo. Sakher al-Mohamed, a family friend, created a Facebook page to draw attention to the incident.

A video of the funeral was circulated on social media and has so far received more than 16,000 views.

However, some Syrians defended German media, arguing that news agencies were acting in accordance with laws that prohibit organisations from disclosing the names of people suspected of violent crime.

Others agreed, arguing that such campaigns would create tension between the communities and do more harm than good.

Some also said that while Syrians had the right to be treated equally, they should focus on developing their personal lives rather than getting involved in such debates.

Image copyright YouTube
Image caption A video of Odai's funeral was circulated on social media

And some Germans have raised concerns that the incident may prompt tensions from the Middle East being echoed in Europe. In October 2014, clashes between Arabs and Kurds in central Hamburg coincided with an eruption of fighting between so-called Islamic State and Kurdish forces around the Syrian city of Kobane.

Produced by the UGC and Social News Team