Odense: Background of the shooting suspect

Odense: Background of the shooting suspect

Though he had a very violent childhood, the suspect in the shooting of the two Israelis in Denmark was considered a success story and a role-model. However, even then, he never did share the Danish ideals, holding hostile attitudes towards Israelis, Jews and even women.


The Danish-Palestinian suspected of shooting the two Israelis in Odense, Denmark, last week had a very violent childhood but was thought to have turned around. In 2003 Wissam Freijeh even appeared in a municipal campaign to further education under the title "you choose yourself how your life will be lived."

There he said that it's not fun to be on welfare, because you get letters from the municipality the whole time. He felt he was under constant inspect and that he was going in a direction he hadn't chosen for himself.

He therefore signed up to learn metal working and said that he enjoys his job since he can see that what he's making can be used. It's hard work, but it's also fun. He is proud of earning his own money and is making more than on welfare.

In 2004, a year before he finished his apprenticeship, he said in an interview to Fyens Stiftstidende that he wanted to contribute to getting Danes to have a better opinion of foreigners.

As a teenager he was frustrated, criminal, hotheaded and violent towards teachers and students in his public school, but according to somebody who knows him since childhood, he grew up, got married to a woman of Palestinian origin, had two children, got an education and settled down. He broke off connections with some of his old friends.

According to the municipality he was one of the worst boys from the Odense neighborhood of Vollsmose, who changed his life and became a role-model for others, speaking up for education and working.

"I regret a lot, but I have a future," he said, while he was a student at the manufacturing school.

Though the reason for the attack is not yet known and his court appearance was behind closed doors, like his three brothers and two sisters Freijeh was born in Lebanon and has radical points of view regarding the situation between the Palestinians and the Israelis. He was gang-ho when talk turned to politics. In discussion of the conflict in the Middle-East Freijeh spoke out patriotically and like many other Palestinians did not hide his hate to Israel and Jews. "It's my land - Palestine," he said in the 2004 interview.

However, several sources Fyens Stiftstidende spoke with are confounded by the fact that he's now sitting in jail on suspicion of trying to kill two Israelis. An acquaintance since his school-days put it this way: he must have completely snapped.

Since after his years of violence, fights and break-ins, most of his acquaintances thought he was settling down.

A former colleague at the school says that he had respect for the work and for the others and there were never any problems with him. He came on time and fit in, coming to the Christmas party and other social events.

But the colleague does remember one episode where Freijeh's background and attitudes collided with the old-time metalworker apprentice attitudes. There was a story in the media about a man who shot his wife because she left him. Freijeh thought it was reasonable because a woman shouldn't leave her husband, that the man had a right to shoot her.

In May 2005 he got a job in his profession, but long-time problems with his hip made it harder and harder to him to continue as a metal-worker. Finally he had to give up due to hip dysplasia and he quit his job.

One of Freijeh's friends, who used to meet in in Vollsmose regularly till the shooting incident, says that Freijeh was always cheerful. "Therefore it completely confounds me, that he could do that," he says.

Sources: Fyens Stiftstidende 1, 2; Odense (Danish), h/t Snaphanen

Previous articles:
* Odense: Attack against Israelis
* Odense: Danish-Arab arrested for shooting attack
* Odense: Muslims denounce shooting, Jews call for self-restraint
* Odense: Strained relations between Palestinians and Jews

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