In what might possibly be the fakest news headline in this era of "fake news," the Associated Press delivers a whopper of a headline that actually sympathizes with a vicious murderer.
“Troubled Berlin attack suspect sought better life in Europe.” The article then drips with compassion:
Desperate and drifting, Anis Amri took the path trodden by countless other North African teenagers: an illegal boat journey to Europe in hopes of a better life. He fell into crime instead — and is now suspect No. 1 in the deadly Berlin truck rampage claimed by the Islamic State group.
The poor thing!
The AP interviewed Amri’s “stunned family” in Tunisia.
"I want the truth to be revealed about my son,” the fugitive’s mother, Nour El Houda Hassani, said. “If he is the perpetrator of the attack, let him assume his responsibilities and I'll renounce him before God. If he didn't do anything, I want my son's rights to be restored.”
Then the AP describes the “distraught” and “surprised” neighbors of Amri who claim they can’t see him being responsible for the deaths of 12 innocent people, two of which have now been identified as from Texas. Yet, this Tunisian town has had “several of its sons recruited by radical preachers” that have gone on to their deaths fighting in Syria and Libya.
Amri’s mother saw no signs her son was radicalized and said he just played Tunisian music and talked about ordinary things over the phone.
"Either someone stole his papers and left them under the seat so that he would be incriminated, or they want to show that it's this dog of the Islamic State group at the origin of this attack,” she insisted.
However, the sister, Najoua, describes Amri as “no angel” and someone who dropped out of school in the eighth grade and began drinking and stealing. But yet again, the mother said Amri was forced into that life of crime because “his father and I are disabled. So, he was forced to steal to emigrate and get goods that young people dream of.”
More from the AP report:
Amri was convicted of stealing a truck in Tunisia and of burning down a migrant center in Italy, his mother said. But he was able to work small jobs while in an Italian prison, and sent money home. Italian authorities called him a problem inmate who had to be transferred to six different Sicilian prisons for bullying other prisoners and trying to spark rebellions.
"When he got out, he called us to say that he could not find work, and he was leaving for another country," his mother said. He tried and failed in Switzerland, so went to Germany instead.
“Somewhere along the way, he appears to have been radicalized,” the report finally relents.
For a brief moment, the AP does a little journalism by reporting that German authorities had Amri under watch for at least six months and considered him a potential threat. Amri’s fingerprints were also found on the truck used in the attack.
But then it was right back to the sympathy:
Amri's trajectory reflects the tumult in his country since he came into adulthood. He fled as Tunisia turned from a police state into a democracy in a chaotic 2011 uprising that spread across the Arab world. But Amri's prospects in the free world weren't as rosy as he'd hoped — much as Tunisia's freedom has been rockier than many hoped, marred by violence and economic troubles.
No compassion for the victims here; only for the poor souls forced by poverty into the life of a mujahideen.