Public debate on Muslim women, integration and Islam

May 3


According to a representative survey, conducted in 2012 by the Allensbach Institute for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, the majority of the questioned people associate Islam with a propensity for violence, fanaticism and intolerance.


Although the real life situation of Muslim women does not correspond with the image of the “oppressed woman”, 83 per cent of respondents view Islam as misogynist and feel that it is characterized by discrimination against women.


In contrast to the negative prejudices towards Islam, only 13 per cent relate Islam to the grace of charity. Only 12 per cent relate Islam to charity and 7 per cent to openness and tolerance.


The study describes the attitudes of Germans as still dominated by the Huntington assumption of “clash of civilizations”. In 2010, only 36 per cent of Germans believed in a peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims. However, only 19 per cent of the interviewees perceive Islam in itself as threatening. Although 48 per cent Germans are pessimistic about the relations between Muslims and non-Muslims, while only 39 per cent would agree with a minaret ban.


Interestingly, there is no positive correlation between tolerance and inter-cultural contacts. Despite a higher number of Muslim immigrants in West Germany, 48 per cent of West German interviewees feel discomfort in the presence of headscarf-wearing women. 45 per cent of the East German population feel discomfort in the presence of headscarf-wearing women. Only 22 per cent of the interviewees see Islam as an integral part of Germany and only 29 per cent perceive Muslims as part of the country.


Hence Islam as the “other” is deep-seated in the mindset of the German population.


The Marwa Al-Sherbini Case: Investigators Believe Killer ‘Hated Non-Europeans’ and Muslims

Two months after the brutal murder of an Egyptian woman in a courtroom in Dresden, investigators believe the German-Russian immigrant who killed Marwa al-Sharbini was motivated by xenophobia. The case, which has not yet gone to trial, continues to be the focus of intense pressure from abroad. The tragic events were set in motion at a swing set in a plain wooden sandbox in Dresden, a major city in eastern Germany. A huge ash-leaf maple tree casts its shadow. East German-era prefab tower blocks are located next door, and tenants hang their laundry out to dry next to the small playground in the city’s Johannstadt district. Everything is regulated here — even playtime, which is permitted from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the summer months. It was on this playground that Alexander W.* and Marwa al-Sherbini met for the first time on August 21, 2008. He was a 27-year-old Russian-German from Perm; she a 30-year-old Egyptian from Alexandria. Both had been stranded in eastern Germany by chance. They hadn’t encountered each other before — and there was no reason to think they ever would again. But an ominous confrontation ensued following a dispute over a swing, culminating 10 months later with a crime that rattled the Islamic world, battered Germany’s reputation and gave Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad another excuse to hurl invectives. Steffen Winter reports.