Dresden honours Egyptian “veil martyr”

The city of Dresden on Thursday paid its respects to a pregnant Egyptian woman who was stabbed to death in a courtroom one year ago in a racially motivated crime that outraged the Muslim world (http://www.euro-islam.info/2009/09/02/the-marwa-al-sherbini-case-investigators-believe-killer-hated-non-europeans-and-muslims).

Officials including Saxon Justice Minister Jürgen Martens honoured the memory of 31-year-old Marwa El-Sherbini, dubbed the “veil martyr,” with a plaque to serve as a warning against racism. “One year ago all of us were forced to realise the deadly logic of the hatred of foreigners,” said Martens, adding that the murder had shaken “Dresden, Germany and the entire world.” He promised not to stop fighting this misanthropic attitude. Members of the local Muslim community took part in the ceremony and a commemorative march was held later in the day.

A commemorative plaque was unveiled in the foyer of the regional court where the murder took place. The plaque’s inscription, written in both German and Arabic, read that the Egyptian has fallen victim to islamophobia and xenophobia, which she had fought with dignity and exemplary moral courage. “We bow to the victim of this dreadful and incomprehensible deed and join her family in grieving for her”, it reads.

Christian Demuth, of a local association for civil courage, and artist Johannes Köhler placed a sculpture in front of the court. It is a large knife of 1.50m made of concrete and is supposed to remind the citizens of Dresden of the everyday racism in the city. The association will set up 18 similar sculptures to the end of July, standing for “the small and big stabs that people in Dresden have to endure every day because of masked or open racism”, Demuth says.