Iran takes up case of hijab martyr

July 11, 2009 - 0:0

TEHRAN - The cruel murder of an Egyptian Muslim woman in Germany has come as a shock to the world, and especially the Islamic world, and Iran has denounced the killing which was inspired by prejudice against Muslims.

Marwa al-Sherbini, a 32-year-old Egyptian who was about four months pregnant and wore the hijab, had pressed charges against her neighbor for calling her a terrorist and was set to testify against him when he stabbed her 18 times inside a courtroom in front of her 3-year-old son on July 1 in Dresden.
Al-Sherbini’s husband came to her aid and was also stabbed by the assailant and shot in the leg by a security guard who mistook him for the attacker, German prosecutors said. He is now in critical condition in a German hospital, according to al-Sherbini's brother.
Iranians have been greatly saddened by the murder.
Tehran citizens held a symbolic funeral for the woman. Students also plan to hold a protest rally in front of the German Embassy in Tehran.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned the German and Italian ambassadors to Tehran on Friday to protest about the Group of Eight leaders’ inaction over the murder of the young woman.
In his meeting with German Ambassador Herbert Honsowitz, the director of the Western Europe Department of the Foreign Ministry criticized the German government for its slow response to the shocking crime and stated that Germany is responsible for ensuring the security of minorities living in the country, including Muslim residents.
The crime was another example of Islamophobia in the West and the fact that Western media outlets downplayed the story once again showed the West’s selective approach toward human rights, he noted.
The Foreign Ministry summoned the Italian ambassador because his country hosted the Group of Eight summit in L’Aquila.
The handling of the case was “a clear example of the West’s double standards toward human rights issues,” the Foreign Ministry official told Italian Ambassador Alberto Bradanini.
It is said that the assailant originally began to verbally insult the victim because she wore the Islamic headscarf, the hijab. Al-Sherbini filed charges against the man for the verbal insults.
In the Islamic world, she is called the hijab martyr.
---------Iran urges OIC to respond to murder
Iran has asked the Organization of the Islamic Conference to establish a committee to investigate such “inhumane acts” and to take measures to prevent such acts from recurring.
The murder of the woman before the eyes of police in the courtroom shed light on the “degree of insecurity and the increasing wave of hatred directed at refugees and religious minorities in Germany,” the Iranian Foreign Ministry said in a statement issued on Thursday.
The “intentional double-standard” approach toward human rights has provided the ground for the “spread of racism and disrespect” for refugees and Muslim minorities in Western countries, the statement added.
Many in Egypt were outraged by the attack and saw the low-key response in Germany as an example of racism and anti-Muslim sentiment.
The 32-year-old pharmacist moved to Germany four years ago to be with her husband, who was granted a fellowship to study genetic engineering at the Max Planck Institute.
Thousands attended al-Sherbini’s funeral in her hometown of Alexandria just a few hours after her body arrived in Egypt on Monday morning, the Los Angeles Times said in a report on its website.
Mourners carried banners condemning racism and criticized both German and Egyptian authorities’ response to the crime.
Although the Egyptian Foreign Ministry denounced the act and asked the German Foreign Ministry for an official response, Egyptians were upset at the way their government dealt with the matter.
“The passive policy adopted by the Foreign Ministry will lead to similar incidents against other Egyptians and Muslims abroad,” said al-Sherbini’s brother Tarek.
“Now we as Muslims and Arabs have a chance to show the whole world that real terrorism takes place in the West,” he added. “In the West, they don’t recognize us. There is racism there.”
The funeral, which was attended by a large number of Egyptian politicians and parliament members, was overwhelmed with chants such as “We need revenge”; “Where is our Foreign Ministry?”; “Down with Germany”; and “No to racism”.
The Coordination Council of Muslims in Germany condemned the murder of the Egyptian woman and said the way Germany treats Muslims is unacceptable.
The organization also called for serious efforts to ensure that such acts never occur again in Germany and to stamp out prejudice against Muslims in the European country.