Thursday, July 9, 2009


Hijab Martyr Prompts German Soul-Searching

"I was surprised that the media and political reaction was so limited," Kramer said.

BERLIN — The brutal murder of a hijab-clad Egyptian woman by a German racist last week has not only stunned the Muslim world, but also prompted a soul-searching debate in Germany, where many are galvanized by the crime and its implications.
"Why was the death of a veiled woman, who was not the victim of an 'honor crime', only news in brief for a whole week?" the Berlin-based daily Der Tagesspiegel asked on Thursday, July 9.

"Is it because this death does not enter our frame of reference?"

Marwa Al-Sherbini, 32, was stabbed to death by a 28-year German of Russian origin in a courtroom in the eastern city of Dresden on Wednesday, July 1.

He stabbed her 18 times before the pregnant woman was to testify against him for insulting her for wearing hijab.

Sherbini's husband, who was preparing to discuss his Masters next month, was also injured when he tried to intervene to protect her.

While the gruesome murder outraged Muslims in Germany and across the Muslim world, the reaction of German politicians was a long time in coming.

A week after the killing, Thomas Steg, a spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel, described the crime as "horrible and outrageous."

Marwa's Tragic Death & Islamophobia

Nearly ten days after the murder, Merkel spoke with Egyptian President Hosni Muburak about the killing in the Italian city of L'Aquila, where world leaders gathered for a G8 meeting.
Stephan Kramer, general secretary of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, the country's foremost Jewish group, criticized the muted response of politicians and the media.

"I was surprised that the media and political reaction was so limited," he stressed after visiting Sherbini's husband in hospital.


German officials are still hesitant to acknowledge the Islamophobic nature of the crime.

Court spokesman Christian Avenarius told Agence France Presse (AFP) that the murderer was a "fanatical xenophobe."

But claimed it was not "possible to say his actions were prompted by 'Islamophobia', nor that he was a far-right extremist."

Groups representing the Muslim community in Germany, estimated at 4.5 million, insist they have no doubt Sherbini was murdered because of wearing hijab.

Hijab, an obligatory code of dress that every Muslim woman must wear, has been the subject of heated political debate in Germany recently.

Several German states have banned hijab for school teachers.

Kramer, the general secretary of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, sees Sherbini's death as a grim reminder of the prevailing Islamophobia in the West.

"All those who dismissed Islamophobia as a false debate in recent years were wrong."

No comments: