Sherbini’s death: Firm stand needed
Marwa Al Sherbini's brutal killing has "nasty racist undertones," according to one Arab News journalist.
July 15, 2009 11:47 by Dana El Baltaji
Racism forced many German newspapers to keep quiet about the crime that took place in a courtroom in front of a judge and other officials. Der Spiegel, a German news magazine, asked why the murder of a woman in hijab was sidelined for a week? But the German prosecutors took an extremely different stand when they ordered a media blackout on the incident.
The German magazine Focus published a report saying that the youth killed the woman after careful planning. In other words, his attack was not a hasty reaction.
If the public prosecution had wished to deal with the incident with fairness and objectivity, it would not have banned publication of reports or comments about the crime. Usually no reports on murders are made until judicial authorities have moved against the accused. And surely, no one – except for police or official guards – should be allowed to carry a weapon into a courtroom.
Egyptians organized big street rallies to protest the crime. Peter Heine, professor of Islamic sciences at Humboldt University in Berlin, justified the Egyptian protests for three reasons; first Marwa was wearing hijab; second the police officer fired on her husband in the courtroom; and third the lukewarm response of the German government toward the incident, according to a report carried by the German newspaper Bild.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy may use the incident to support his call for a ban on niqab, which is another form of hijab, as women’s Islamic dress could trigger racist feelings and encourage people to commit crimes against Muslims, cause problems for authorities and create tension in relations between Western countries and the Muslim world. The German official and media response favored Sarkozy’s stand.