Muslim Woman Stabbed 18 Times in German Court

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    Jul 06, 2009 7:33 PM GMT
    Egyptians cry racism in woman's slaying in Germany
    By MAGGIE MICHAEL

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    CAIRO (AP) — Thousands of Egyptian mourners marched behind the coffin of the "martyr of the head scarf" on Monday — a pregnant Muslim woman who was stabbed to death in a German courtroom as her young son watched. Many in her homeland were outraged by the attack and saw the low key response in Germany as an example of racism and anti-Muslim sentiment.

    Her husband was critically wounded in the attack Wednesday in Dresden when he tried to intervene and was stabbed by the attacker and accidentally shot by court security.

    "There is no god but God and the Germans are the enemies of God," chanted the mourners for 32-year-old Marwa al-Sherbini in her hometown of Alexandria, where her body was buried after being flown back from Germany.

    "We will avenge her killing," her brother Tarek el-Sherbini told The Associated Press by telephone from the mosque where prayers were being recited in front of his sister's coffin. "In the West, they don't recognize us. There is racism."

    Al-Sherbini, who was about four months pregnant and wore the Islamic head scarf, was involved in a court case against her neighbor for calling her a terrorist and was set to testify against him when he stabbed her 18 times inside the courtroom in front of her 3-year-old son.

    Her husband, who was in Germany on a research fellowship, came to her aid and was also stabbed by the neighbor and shot in the leg by a security guard who initially mistook him for the attacker, German prosecutors said. He is now in critical condition in a German hospital, according to al-Sherbini's brother.

    "The guards thought that as long as he wasn't blond, he must be the attacker so they shot him," al-Sherbini told an Egyptian television station.

    The killer, who has only been identified as 28-year-old Alex W., remains in detention and prosecutors have opened an investigation on suspicion of murder. Christian Avenarius, the prosecutor in Dresden where the incident took place, described the killer as driven by a deep hatred of Muslims. "It was very clearly a xenophobic attack of a fanatical lone wolf."

    He added that the attacker was a Russian of German descent who had immigrated to Germany in 2003 and had expressed his contempt for Muslims at the start of the trial.

    At its regular news conference on Monday, a German government spokesman Thomas Steg said if the attack was racist, the government "naturally condemns this in the strongest terms."

    The killing has dominated Egyptian media for days, while it has received comparatively little coverage in German and Western media. A German Muslim group criticized government officials and the media for not paying enough attention to the crime.

    "The incident in Dresden had anti-Islamic motives. So far, the reactions from politicians and media have been incomprehensibly meager," Aiman Mazyek, the general secretary of the Central Council of Muslims, told Berlin's Tagesspiegel daily.

    Egyptian commentators said the incident was an example of how hate crimes against Muslims are overlooked in comparison to those committed by Muslims against Westerners. Many commentators pointed to the uproar that followed the 2004 murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh by a Dutch-born Islamic fundamentalist angry over one of his films criticizing the treatment of Muslim women.

    Abdel Azeem Hamad, chief editor of the independent Egyptian daily el-Shorouk, said that if the victim had been a Jew, there would have been an uproar.

    "What we demand is just some attention to be given to the killing of a young innocent mother on the hands of fanatic extremist," he wrote in his column.

    An Egyptian blogger Hicham Maged, wrote "let us play the 'What If' game."

    "Just imagine if the situation was reversed and the victim was a Westerner who was stabbed anywhere in the world or — God forbid — in any Middle Eastern country by Muslim extremists," he said.

    The Egyptian Pharmacists' Association called for a boycott of German drugs. The victim was a pharmacist.

    According to numerous interviews in Egyptian local papers with el-Sherbini family, the man who stabbed al-Sherbini used to accuse her of being a "terrorist," and in one incident, he tried to take off her head scarf. Mourners at her funeral called her the "martyr of the head scarf."

    Laila Shams, al-Sherbini's mother, told the el-Wafd daily that her daughter said she'd difficulty finding a job in Germany because of her head scarf.

    "One (employer) suggested she remove her head scarf to get a job. She said no," she said.

    Officials from a German Muslim group and the country's main Jewish group made a joint visit Monday to the Dresden hospital where the victim's husband is being treated.

    "You don't have to be a Muslim to act against anti-Muslim behavior, and you don't have to be a Jew to act against anti-Semitism," said Stephan Kramer, the general secretary of the Central Council of Jews.
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    Jul 06, 2009 7:58 PM GMT
    oh boy... not good.
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    Jul 06, 2009 8:32 PM GMT
    Not good at all.

    Marwa al-Sherbini will be in my prayers tonight, as well as Alex W.
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    Jul 06, 2009 9:26 PM GMT
    Not to down play what happened by any means it is truly horrible but I would like to know:

    Is Islam considered a race?

    I thought being muslim was a religion??
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    Jul 06, 2009 9:55 PM GMT
    Lapinblanc saidNot to down play what happened by any means it is truly horrible but I would like to know:

    Is Islam considered a race?

    I thought being muslim was a religion??


    Islam is a religion yes, it is not a race.

    The victim here was not only Muslim however, she was Middle Eastern, veiled, female and pregnant, one or more of those factors contribute to the discrimination taking place. She was killed by a white German man in a German court, and her husband was mistakenly shot in the leg by German security guards while getting stabbed at by the same by the white German man, and their son was stabbed as well.

    Discrimination would be a more universal word to use, however racism is undeniably a facet of the situation and it is quite easy for anyone who sympathizes with the victims to see race playing a role in this, regardless of religion.
  • Anto

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    Jul 07, 2009 12:35 AM GMT
    Yes, let's play the "What if?" game:

    What if she were treated as such for being a lesbian? Would such Muslims be outraged then?
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    Jul 07, 2009 12:50 AM GMT
    Unbelievable .. an outrage!

    This definitely has the characteristics of a hate crime
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    Jul 07, 2009 1:08 AM GMT
    Anto saidYes, let's play the "What if?" game:

    What if she were treated as such for being a lesbian? Would such Muslims be outraged then?


    Right, because making this about homophobia in Egypt is much more relevant than it is about xenophobia and anti-Islam in Germany.

    Because, after all, when white people murder out of bigotry it is an isolated incident. But when Muslims murder out of bigotry it is systemic.
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    Jul 07, 2009 1:09 AM GMT
    Anto saidYes, let's play the "What if?" game:

    What if she were treated as such for being a lesbian? Would such Muslims be outraged then?


    That's irrelevant. The more we qualify our sympathy toward and the justice due a victim based upon a perceived potential attitude on the part of people what may share an ethnic, geographic or religious commonality with that victim, the more we are guilty of reinforcing and deepening the bigotry all ready present on all sides of the equation.

    We cannot simply say "Well, I would feel sorry for her, but her people probably hate us and wouldn't shed a tear if it was a member of the GLBT community that got stabbed". It is thinking much like this that so often stifles empathy and allows prejudices to grow and fester.
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    Jul 07, 2009 1:22 AM GMT
    I have just written to a Saxon friend of mine to see what he has to say about this and how people in Saxony are reacting to this.
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    Jul 07, 2009 10:08 AM GMT
    Very sad.

    The anti-muslim xenophobia in Europe is really getting out of hand. It has been the subject of several movies in France and Germany. Mostly it's Moroccans and Turks. Same in the UK with the Pakistanis/Indians. And lest we forgot, Serbians and Albanians. The way Muslims react to things like this and in turn generalize the entire western civilization isn't helping things either. icon_neutral.gif

    Not to mention that with the rising tensions in the middle east and north korea, white supremacists are probably on the rise again, especially among the younger guys, and especially in Germany. The guy who stabbed her is young. In all probability a neo-nazi or something.

  • Anto

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    Jul 07, 2009 2:21 PM GMT
    Munching and Zombie, read the article and then get back to me. Then you'll understand the context of what I was saying and even responding too (hey!).. Don't be like the tiger and react, be like the dragon and think!
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    Jul 07, 2009 2:25 PM GMT
    Anto saidMunching and Zombie, read the article and then get back to me. Then you'll understand the context of what I was saying and even responding too (hey!).. Don't be like the tiger and react, be like the dragon and think!


    Ya, I read the article. What you said is still tangential and avoiding the huge issue presented in the article. Did you read it?
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    Jul 07, 2009 2:41 PM GMT



    We get what you're saying Anto, because gays and lesbians are not considered worth squat in SOME Muslim circles, just like the Westboro church.

    But we'd rather stick with the horror at hand......

    We're both wondering how someone could take the time to stab some one 18 times before being subdued.

    18 times?!?!? Where was security etc.?

    This is looking like religious/racial prejudice/discrimination, but it's from one report so far.

    We notice that the cries from the Muslim groups in the article sound as brilliantly bigoted as the inference of Western bigotry in the author's article.


  • Anto

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    Jul 07, 2009 2:46 PM GMT
    Yes, look:

    Hicham Maged"Just imagine if the situation was reversed and the victim was a Westerner who was stabbed anywhere in the world or — God forbid — in any Middle Eastern country by Muslim extremists," he said.


    I just think it's utterly ironic to see that kind of outcry and logic used in regard to how this woman was brutally treated when homosexuals in such countries are just as horribly and brutally treated, not by a violent individual but sanctioned by the states themselves supported by that religion..

    I find that sort of lack in understanding disturbing when I read statements like that. It's why problems like this still exist and will continue to exist, for gays and others.

    It reminds me of an episode of Deep Space Nine when Damar learns that his family has been executed by his government and he's obviously devastated by it and states something like 'What kind of people give those orders?' and Kira, standing across from him seeing his reaction and dumbfounded by it says, 'Yeah, Damar, what kind of people give those orders...?' - BECAUSE his own people and government for years did that exact same sort of thing to her own people but he apparently wasn't making the connection of 'humanity' except when it concerned his 'own'..

    Same thing here. And people responding as if this is a distraction or improper, the same idea was expressed when Kira said that, but the point was that is when it's most needed to be said. It's most evident and truthful then because the real problem has been brought out and laid bare.
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    Jul 07, 2009 2:47 PM GMT



    Now depending what news you read, you get a different slant ...


    http://www.dubaicityinfo.com/news/newsDetailPop.aspx?newsid=70515&PCODE=WORLD


    The husband had also been stabbed several times, and was shot in the leg by a policeman trying to shoot the assailant. This from the husband,

    "I'm so mad the policeman's bullet hit me and not the killer."
  • Anto

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    Jul 07, 2009 2:52 PM GMT
    You know it almost sounds like 'racism' or whatever is being used to fuel the outraged sentiment about what happened, not necessarily why it happened, which is why it's so focused on whites against muslims instead of how people should or should not treat each other which goes back to my point.

    Do they really care about that or is it really about 'western' against 'middle east' prejudice?
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    Jul 07, 2009 3:02 PM GMT



    ...and if a Muslim man had stabbed her in the court....


    ...and also this.. Nov 2008

    Muslim man strangles, stabs, and slits throat of "petite" 19 year-old Catholic girl


    A TEENAGER was brutally murdered by her boyfriend's Muslim flatmate because he did not approve of him going out with a Catholic.

    Lidia Motylska, 19, was strangled in an alleyway in Leeds by Iraqi immigrant Abobakir Jabari who objected to his Kurdish flatmate's relationship with her.

    Yesterday Jabari, 39, who was given British citizenship in 2005, pleaded guilty at Sheffield Crown Court to murdering the petite Polish teenager.

    The court heard he garrotted her from behind, using the cord from his tracksuit bottoms, before inflicting "gratuitous" wounds on her lifeless body. He stabbed her repeatedly in the chest and stomach and slit her throat.

    Sentencing Jabari to life imprisonment with a minimum tariff of 19-and-a-half years, Mr Justice McKinnon said the murder involved an exceptional degree of violence.

    "There is a suspicion that you lured this young woman to her death and marked your disapproval of her and her relationship by gratuitous violence upon her," he said.

    The court heard that Jabari grew up in Iraq and was conscripted to the Iraqi army but then deserted. He became involved with the Communist party and later helped opponents of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's regime flee to Syria.

    He came to England in 1999 with his then wife, but they separated in 2003 and he went on to gain British citizenship.

    In July 2004 he began working at Symphony Kitchens in Gelderd Lane, Leeds.

    Through his work, he met both Miss Motylska and Ajeen Jabaridia, a fellow Kurdish Iraqi who moved in with him at a flat in Oatland Heights in the Little London area of the city.

    But he was to become increasingly hostile when the pair became romantically involved.

    Prosecuting, Simon Myerson QC said: "He disliked the fact that his Kurdish friend was going out with a Polish Catholic.

    "He did not like Lidia to sleep at their flat. He disapproved of Lidia's behaviour in public and thought it seemed sexually provocative."

    He went on: "He told her that Ajeen should not be seeing her because she was a Polish and Catholic girl."

    Miss Motylska, who lived with her mother Renata in Beeston, Leeds, thought she might be pregnant with Mr Jabaridia's child, the court heard, though this turned out not to be the case.

    On the evening of the murder in October last year, she had arranged to meet Jabari and got off a bus near his home at 6.45pm.

    Ten minutes later, two passers-by called 999, reporting that they had seen a woman on the ground in an alleyway in Lincoln Green, with a man sitting over her "grunting" and holding her around the neck.

    When police arrived at 7pm, the teenager was dead, with deep stab wounds and her throat slit "from ear to ear".

    The judge said one explanation for the slash injuries to her abdomen could have been an "expression of disapproval at her pregnancy and her relationship".

    Immediately after the attack, Jabari set about creating an alibi by inviting friends to his flat to watch Arsenal play Slavia Prague in a Champions League football match.

    A keen Arsenal fan, Mr Jabaridia had tried to telephone his girlfriend each time the team scored, but got no reply.

    He and Miss Motylska's mother reported the teenager missing the next day.

    After the sentencing, Det Supt Bill Shackleton from West Yorkshire Police said: "This was a brutal and calculated murder."

    The victim's family were too upset to speak.
  • Anto

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    Jul 07, 2009 3:07 PM GMT
    Meninlove,

    Right, or how about muslim fundamentalists who kill their own family or friends in honor killings? Where is the same sort of outrage about that? Where is that comparison? But some 'westerner' does something similar, and it's protest time!
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    Jul 07, 2009 3:09 PM GMT

    In November last year in UK a muslim man garrotted then repeatedly stabbed a 19 year old Polish catholic girl to death for being romantically involved with his muslim roommate. She was 3 months pregnant.

    No outcry from the muslim groups.

    No outcry from the polish or catholic groups declaring racism/religious bigotry in huge martyr type protests. etc.

    When a group behaves opportunistically over a tragedy, we get a tad suspicious.

    It's a hate crime, and will be dealt with as such, but to have a protest saying all Western nations and all the the citizenry of them are at fault is as wrong as what happened.
  • Anto

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    Jul 07, 2009 3:12 PM GMT
    Yeah it looks like people rightly protesting/upset for the wrongly reasons.
  • joggerva

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    Jul 07, 2009 3:13 PM GMT
    How sad. You would think a courtroom, of all places, would have the security to prevent this kind of an occurence.

    My two cents on the tangential discussion above:

    The point of the article (and the point of the "what if" scenarios presented in the article) was to show that attacks on Muslims by whites are either not reported or not presented as reprehensible as the reverse. Personally, I think their criticisms of Western media are probably pretty accurate. What does it say that we are (at least I am) hearing about this tragedy in an article that is focused on the lack of reporting rather than simply reporting that it happened?

    Whether "they" would be outraged over the death of a GLBT person is not the issue at hand. One can be both outraged at the death of a Muslim by white hands and at the death of a GLBT person at Muslim hands. But by steering the discussion in this thread away from the former and toward the latter brings the focus away from this issue and appears to be aiming to reduce empathy for the victim in this case and other victims of anti-Muslim attacks.
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    Jul 07, 2009 3:13 PM GMT
    Anto saidMeninlove,

    Right, or how about muslim fundamentalists who kill their own family or friends in honor killings? Where is the same sort of outrage about that? Where is that comparison? But some 'westerner' does something similar, and it's protest time!


    Why should Egyptian people protest the domestic violence and murders in other countries? This crime was perpetrated against Egyptians and Muslims living in Germany. Egyptians are right to protest, one of their own was murdered and the German government has not responded adequately.

    But, an equivalent of what you are saying is that Christians in America should be upset when a Christian in Spain is murdered.
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    Jul 07, 2009 3:13 PM GMT
    GuerrillaSodomite said
    Anto saidYes, let's play the "What if?" game:

    What if she were treated as such for being a lesbian? Would such Muslims be outraged then?


    That's irrelevant. The more we qualify our sympathy toward and the justice due a victim based upon a perceived potential attitude on the part of people what may share an ethnic, geographic or religious commonality with that victim, the more we are guilty of reinforcing and deepening the bigotry all ready present on all sides of the equation.

    We cannot simply say "Well, I would feel sorry for her, but her people probably hate us and wouldn't shed a tear if it was a member of the GLBT community that got stabbed". It is thinking much like this that so often stifles empathy and allows prejudices to grow and fester.


    VERY well said Guerilla!

    This act of violence and hatred is horrible in so many ways. First and foremost for the family. The three year old son watches as his pregnant mom is stabbed to death and his dad is left in critical conditions. This is by far the greatest reason this act is so horrific.

    Then there is the fall out. The cries of revenge from the mourners in Egypt only encourages this cycle of violence. This despicable act doesn't help Germany's image either. Just as Muslims are often viewed as all terrorists, Germans are often given one broad neo-nazi brush. Yet when I was there I saw so many mixed-race and mixed-ethnic couples. The country in many ways is far more progressive than the US yet the angry neo-nazi minority give an impression to the outside that it is stuck in its past. I suppose the one silver lining is the council of Jews teaming with the Muslim organization something you'd be hard pressed to find in many parts of the middle-east. The council saw the injustice for what it is. If we saw more acts of solidarity of this nature and fewer tit for tats than maybe peace would have a chance.
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    Jul 07, 2009 3:22 PM GMT



    Actually Munching, a more apt comparison would be large Christian protests condemning all Muslims for the killing of nuns in Muslim countries.

    We're big fans of hate crime legislation, and hope the book comes down exta hard on this man, to set an example ( which is also what hate crime legislation is about).

    We're just NOT fans for the endless mass hysteria generated in Muslim countries, and the inevitable terrorist retribution against the West fuelled by it.

    If Germany is smart, they'll publicly honour this woman and her family, and publicly condemn this horrible man once he's tried by the justice system there.


    We can tell you though, from knowing many muslims that if she had been gay, the muslim response would have been different, her being an infidel and so damned by god..