Two Minutes w/Dr. Yahya: Burqu’ Prejudice in the Name of Religion
Hasan A. Yahya, Professor of Sociology
Note to Readers: This article was published three years ago.
On 1 July, Marwa al-Sherbini, an Egyptian woman who wore the headscarf and was three months pregnant, was brutally murdered in a Dresden courtroom by a German man of Russian descent who declared ‘you have no right to live’. The victim was stabbed eighteen times in the space of thirty seconds. It was a frenzied attack, clearly motivated by racism and Islamophobia. Yet the German state and media, have been in a state of denial. The press reported it as a neighborhood dispute, with headlines such as ‘Murder over quarrel over swing’. Amidst widespread anger in Egypt, the press officer at the German embassy in Cairo declared the murder an isolated case and a ‘criminal act. It has nothing to do with persecution against Muslims’. European leaders must immediately condemn Sherbini’s murder, hold her killer accountable, and acknowledge that Islamophobia is a growing threat–otherwise, they are precariously close to repeating past horrors. Many researchers on Islamic issues in Europe say that all eyes are now on the prosecuting authority, to see what charges are brought against Alexandre W. Kathrin Klausing does not see the prosecuting authority, which has instructed the police to start a murder investigation and has described the killer as clearly ‘driven by a deep hatred of Muslims’, as the real culprit. The Sherbini murder was linked to ‘public-media discourse’. Where People are looking for victims and Muslims are sometimes seen as a viable option. Some observers say: “The real responsibility for this awful case lies with the increasingly anti-Islamic and racist climate in society, an atmosphere in which politicians and public intellectuals and celebrities have played a great part.”
Judaism is next feeling the heat with Muslims is joining forces with Muslims, a Jewish reader’s comment reads, “If we condemn Ahmadinejad and other patrons of terrorism, we must commend those Muslim intellectuals and religious leaders who have the courage to speak out publicly against the continued fomentation of Judaeophobia in the rise of Neo-Nazi National Party (NPD) in Germany, The members dream of rebuilding Hitler’s Third Reich. The Secretary General of the German Jewish Council, has been one of only a handful of non-Muslim voices in Germany willing to describe the murder as motivated by Islamophobia.
Others return the causes of violent actions against immigrants especially from Muslim countries to the downturn in the economy and unemployment are factors playing into the hands of the NPD which, in some areas of eastern Germany, is attempting to create ‘national liberation zones’ where no foreigner would dare to go. Such actions remind us of KKK actions of white supremacist in the U.S in the 1960s of last century, where they blockade the highways and kill non-whites.
The story: A Russian-born German who stabbed to death an Egyptian woman in a courtroom was given Germany’s highest possible sentence for murder yesterday — 15 years’ jail with no chance of early parole. The case enraged the Arab world, in particular Egypt, with street demonstrators and commentators blaming Germany for encouraging Islamophobia. The victim, Marwa al-Shirbini, 31, a pharmacist, has been hailed as a “veil martyr” because she stood up against the assailant, Alexander Wiens, 28. A fatwa has been pronounced on Wiens and the trial in Dresden was held under extraordinary security, with the courthouse cleared and 200 armed police encircling the room.
By the time the case came to court in July last year, Ms al-Shirbini was three months’ pregnant. In court, the killer removed a long knife from under his jacket and stabbed her 18 times. Her husband tried to stop the attack but was stabbed 16 times. When a policeman arrived, he ended up shooting the husband in the leg rather than the assailant. The scene was witnessed by the couple’s three-year-old son.
The case began last year on a children’s playground in Dresden. Wiens was sitting on a child’s swing. Ms al-Shirbini, who was wearing a headscarf, asked him to move so that she could push her two-year-old boy. Wiens, a Russian of ethnic origin who had emigrated from Siberia in 2003, yelled at her, accusing her of being an “Islamicist” and a “terrorist”. Ms al-Shirbini decided to press charges and the man was duly fined. But he challenged the judgment.
Court Judge Wiegand said. “He was convinced that all foreigners were taking work away from him,” “Above all, he hated Muslims. In his eyes they were all Islamicists. Wiens admitted the killing, in his testimony, but denied that the motivation was racist.
In Texas, The shootings of the Fort Hood gunman Nidal Malik Hasan have set off nationwide soul-searching and worries about his motives. 13 fellow soldiers, five medical staff like himself, and over 30 injured were the result of his emotional decision. The reason, his job in the Army, Hasan was working with patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from U.S. combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was helping out, but associates and relatives have said he was disturbed that U.S. Muslim soldiers could fight against fellow Muslims in those countries. He asked to be released, his request denied, he became isolated, and did his ugly job, killing innocents of his own colleagues. Was he motivated by faith or by his insanity?
Sarkozy says the Swiss “no” to minarets on Muslim mosques in a recent referendum is not a bid to deny essential freedoms to Muslims but reflects an ebbing of a sense of belonging, and identity, in a globalised world. The French president used outrage over the Swiss vote to explain the need for a national debate on the French identity that started last month. Sarkozy publicized his call for integration and pledged to French Muslims to do “everything” to combat discrimination and ensure they can feel like full-fledged citizens of France. But he threatened [or politely cautioned] that “anything that could appear as a challenge” to France’s Christian roots and republican values would lead to the “failure” in the drive to promote a form of moderate Islam in France. In fact, a French parliamentary inquiry is currently holding hearings on whether to ban the full Islamic veil and the “burqa debate” has raised questions about how far France is willing to go to accommodate its Muslim minority.
Mr. Sarkozy responded that integration meant a mutual acceptance by both new arrivals and the existing population of what each could bring the other while respecting certain fundamental standards. In France a repeated episodes highlighting concerns over integrating immigrants from its Muslim former colonies in North and West Africa was the latest controversy centering on whether to ban all-covering burqas to be worn in public.
President Nicolas Sarkozy on Tuesday warned French believers against religious “ostentation and provocation” after Switzerland voted to ban Muslims from building minarets. Referring to Muslim women who wear all-enveloping veils such as the burqa, a practice Sarkozy opposes,. he said believers should guard against “all ostentation.”
Reactions to the Swiss : French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Switzerland’s vote to ban new minarets showed why it was vital for France to hold an extended debate on national identity despite criticism that it has only fuelled racist views. Mr. Sarkozy highlighted the defense of national identity in his 2007 election campaign and pressed for the public debate that is due to end in February with a list of proposals.
Sarkozy in an opinion piece in Le Monde daily wrote:”Christians, Jews, Muslims, all believers regardless of their faith, must refrain from ostentation and provocation and … practice their religion in humble discretion,” The president was wading into an increasingly tense debate over national identity that has zeroed in on immigration fears in France, home to Europe’s largest Muslim minority hosting over six million Muslims congregate in less than 2,500 prayer houses and mosques. Data shows currently in France there is 64 mosques with minarets of which seven have “tall minarets.” The government has said France will not ban minaret construction and noted that mayors have the final say on whether new mosques can be built with tall towers.
In Switzerland, an anti-immigrant, right-wing Swiss populists launched the referendum, which passed with more than 57 percent of the vote. The outcome says a lot about how Western Europeans feel about the growing number of Muslim immigrants, who live as second-class citizens.
Do we have to commend the Swiss government, which opposed the ban and says the vote has nothing to do with the free practice of Islam in Switzerland, or stand against it? Free men and women ask. On the surface, the outcome of the Swiss vote banning minarets is an issue of architecture, not religion. Minarets can be beautiful. Islam is known for inspiring outstanding architecture. The Taj Mahal in India, considered the world’s most beautiful building, has four minarets. They are part of mosques built around the world, and the concept of the minaret has been designed into noteworthy non-Muslim architecture. Beneath the surface, however, is a greater issue than architecture. Minarets are a symbol of Islam just as church steeples are a symbol of Christianity. A minaret on the skyline says a substantial number of Muslims live nearby.
Switzerland Banks act as the box treasury and suitcase for billions of Dollars owned by Muslims and Arabs especially those corrupted governments and wealthy oil sharks. Minimum reaction from those millionaires and governments is expected. Many people raise boycotting Swiss Banks as a result of the vote. But who cares in the declining Muslim and disunited Arab world? But does that solve the escalation of hatred and racist actions by the name of religion or freedom?
In conclusion, these incidents and more can be prevented by increasing knowledge. Insane persons may be found in any society, in the Arab states, in Europe, in Bombay, in the United States and elsewhere. Dogmatism and ignorance among un socialized persons cannot be controlled, and incidents will continue to occur. However, according to my research, lack of true knowledge leads to lack of true understanding, which leads to appreciation, and compromise to live in peace. The other point, these sane or insane people, unfortunately are rotten products of their cultures where violence and intolerance are promoted. In fact, Sarkuzi has to be more polite and intelligent as any other leader in the western sphere to show some respect of Islam in their speeches rather than only praising the free well of citizens. In terms of Switzerland, they vote for what time they should go to Hill, voting on minarets is normal, but what is hidden cannot be understood equally among Muslims and non-Muslims. These types of reactions are types of prejudice, which cannot be curbed without sound leadership, and advanced liberty like the one in Sweden and the United States after Bush. Sarkuzi is showing two faces in his politics, one by smiling to Arab and Muslim leaders through visitations, the other, is showing his dogmatic view in opposing the veil and may encouraging the French people to follow track with Switzerland vote. It will not harm Islam by these votes, but hurt dogmatic people who are found as I said, in all nations. After all, Muslims are increasing in the west, they are citizens and human beings with emotions and feelings, like any body else, I would advise leaders in the West and East, to be careful in their speeches and to be balanced between WE and THEY, and not to show their prejudice, because everyone IS, otherwise, history will smash them in its cesspool. (1949 words) www.dryahyatv.com