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Headscarf Martyr Proves European Bias Against Muslims
July 07, 2009
Outrage over the murder of a pregnant Muslim woman in Germany who has become known as the “hijab martyr” mounted Tuesday following her funeral and protests in her native Egypt over what Muslims see as European Islamaphobia and western media double standards.
Marwa al-Sherbini, a 32-year-old Egyptian-German, was buried in her coastal hometown of Alexandria, Egypt Monday amid demonstrations by Egyptians mourning her senseless death and calling for retribution.
” What we demand is just some attention to be given to the killing of a young innocent mother on the hands of fanatic extremist “
Abdel Azim Hamad, al Shuruq
Sherbini was stabbed to death 18 times Wednesday as she prepared to testify against her assailant, who was in court to appeal a previous defamation conviction against her.
The assailant, knonw only as Alex W., had been convicted and fined €750 ($1,050) last year for calling Sherbini a “terrorist,” “b*tch” and “Islamist” after she asked him to leave a swing for her three-year-old son Mustafa.
Her funeral drew thousands of angry mourners and Egyptian officials who called on the government to seriously deal with the tragic killing and take immediate action.
“There is no god but God and the Germans are the enemies of God,” they chanted.
Ramzi Ezz, Egypt’s ambassador in Germany told Al Arabiya the results of the investigations could be released in a few days, but noted that Egyptian law calls for life imprisonment of the murderer.
Sherbini’s brother Tarek al-Sherbini vowed to avenge her killing. “We believe in an eye for an eye,” he told Egyptian national television.
Dubbed the “martyr of the head scarf,” Sherbini was three months pregnant when her 28-year-old attacker stabbed her countless times in front of her two-year-old son.
“The killer is a terrorist who should receive severe punishment for what he has done, something that contradicts all the values of humanity, decency and religion,” Grand Imam Sheikh Mohammed Sayyed Tantawi told Egypt’s official MENA news agency.
Alex also stabbed Sherbini’s husband, Elwi Ali Okaz while he was trying to save his wife. And adding further insult to injury, a security guard shot Okaz in the leg because he mistook the husband for the attacker because of his ethnic looks according to German prosecutors.
“The guards thought that as long as he wasn’t blond, he must be the attacker so they shot him,” Sherbini told an Egyptian television station.
Alex W. remained in detention and prosecutors have begun investigating the murder but have downplayed it as a lone incident.
Christian Avenarius, the prosecutor in Dresden where the incident took place, said the killer was driven by a deep hatred of Muslims. “It was very clearly a xenophobic attack of a fanatical lone wolf.”
A German government spokesperson condemned the attack and said Berlin “naturally condemns this in the strongest terms.”
Sherbini’s shocking death ignited angry protests on the ground and online as shocked mourners held her murder up as proof of the xenophobia gripping European politics.
“This isolated incident is a foreseen consequence of the kind of anti-burqa and anti-niqab rhetoric Sarkozy has engaged in France,” one user said on a Muslim list service.
Others said the incident showed the extent to which hate crimes against Muslims are ignored while those of Muslims against westerners are over-hyped.
Abdel Azeem Hamad, chief editor of the independent Egyptian daily al-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.
Many in Sherbini’s homeland were outraged by the attack and saw the low key response in Germany as an example of racism and anti-Muslim sentiment.
An Egyptian blogger Hicham Maged wrote that it simply proved anti-Muslim sentiment in Europe “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.
One commentator pointed to muted response by Western media as proof of double standards against Muslims as Sherbini’s murder comes as western media continued to reference the 2004 murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh for his controversial film on Muslim women but meanwhile ignoring the-week-old death of a Muslim German woman by a European fundamentalist.
“I can’t believe it took so long for this news to reach me/us. Had it been an ‘honor’ killing, we would already have several NGO’s condemn it and experts on Muslim issues speaking on why these terrible Muslims do these terrible things,” Nagihan, a user on a Muslim list serve wrote. “I am shocked and awed at this double standard.”
A Facebook fan page created recently drew a whooping 300,000 fans in less than a week, with many mourning Sherbini as a martyr and calling for spiritual purification.
“May God forgive this woman and give her eternal paradise for literally
being killed for her beliefs,” said one Facebook fan.
Alexandria’s Popular Local Council said it would name a street after Sherbini to commemorate her senseless killing.
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