Recent Anti-Muslim racist sentiments in Europe have made the European Muslims to feel insecure and somewhat an effort is being made to alienate them from the civil society.
Marwa el-Sherbini an Egyptian Muslim Mother who was killed by a fanatic in Germany during a court proceeding in which the killer Alex W was facing charge of racial hatred and insult.
The case was file by Marwa on account that in August 2008 Alex shouted insulting remarks (He called her “terrorist”,”slut” and “Islamist”)at Marwa in a public playground for children in Dresden, in a quarrel over the use of a swing by his niece and Marwa’s son .
According to the reports that not only the killer freely stabbed Marwa in the court room but also when her husband (Elwi Ali-Okaz) tried to save her he was shot by police(Elwi stayed in coma for two days and received treatment for several weeks in hospital for stabbing and shooting injuries).
Also in Germany there is a huge issue made on the ruling of the court to allow a Muslim family to name their son as ‘Djehad’(Jihad) which means ‘Struggle against evil’ but as the media portrays Jihad as terrorism without understanding the meaning and so has deluded the world from the real essence of it.
In Britain 10 Pakistani students were arrested (2 of which have recently been deported to Pakistan) on the charges of terrorism but still there is no evidence provided to justify the claims of British police and MI5.
Omer Farooq, one of the deported students told media that the main charge was that the students gathered on 23rd March 2009 to have a dinner which the British police says was a meeting to plan terrorist activities (absurd and rubbish without evidence).
We all know what Sarkozi is doing in France to ban scarf in his country which is clearly against the norms of any civilized society to deprive people from practicing their culture and religion.
I hope some sane voices will arise within Europe otherwise I don’t see any good future for Europe-Muslim world relations.
A good article was written on the subject by a Pakistani journalist Dr Mazari:
Are Muslims Europe’s new Jews? By Shireen M Mazari
In Europe the façade of tolerance and secular “liberalism” is so well maintained it is easy to be fooled into believing this is the reality. In fact there is an insidious social compact between the media, ruling elites and the white Christian majority to sustain this façade at all times. That is why the murder of Marwa el-Sherbini, the Egyptian Muslim lady in Dresden, Germany – simply because she wore a hijab – barely found a mention in the European press and the US media saw no reason to create a fuss. Of course had it been the murder of a Jewish lady specifically for displaying her cultural/religious Jewishness, the western media would have gone to town crying foul and the German government would have been put fairly and squarely in the dock.
The murder came shortly after French President Sarkozy gave his “secular” fatwa against the burqa and it seems that now there is open season on hijab-wearing Muslims in some parts of Europe – those parts that ironically see themselves as being more tolerant and “liberal”. In fact European secular “liberalism” is being defined increasingly in terms of non-acceptance of the new multi-religious and multi-ethnic Europeans by the old white Christian Europeans. When European leaders display this characteristic in public statements, it gives leeway to the racist bigotry that still pervades in Europe – only now the Muslims have replaced the Jews as the bête noirs.
In fact the case of Marwa el-Sherbini is frightening because her only “crime” was that she wore the hijab. A year before her murder, a 28 year old man of Russian origin had insulted her by calling her a “terrorist” and “Islamist whore” for wearing a hijab when she asked him to let her son sit on a swing. At the time the man had been found guilty of abusing and insulting Marwa and had been fined 780 Euros. But he had appealed which is why the parties were all present in a Dresden court room when the gruesome murder took place in full view of Marwa’s husband and her three-year old son Mustafa. As Marwa, pregnant, was in the dock recalling the incident, the accused walked across the courtroom and plunged a knife into her 18 times. What is even more horrific is that as her husband, Elvi Ali Okaz, ran to save her he, too, was brought down, shot by a police officer who declared that he mistook him for the attacker. Can anything be more ridiculous? Two serious issues arise: One, why was a man known to be violently disposed towards Ms Marwa Sherbini allowed to walk into the courtroom with a lethal knife? Two, how could the policeman have mistaken her husband for the attacker when he moved much later and separately – or was the attacker not taken into custody when he had begun his attacks? Why was he allowed to stab Marwa 18 times? Where was the same policeman and why did he not shoot at the accused when he was stabbing the lady?
Whichever way one looks at it, the acceptable racism cannot be denied – both at the official and unofficial levels. The German government’s only reaction was to sweep it all under the carpet. There was a shameful silence on the part of all the “liberals” and human rights activists who are so ready to condemn the misdeeds of Muslim extremists anywhere in the world. Ironically, apart from the Central Council of Muslims’ leadership, it was the Central Council of Jews General Secretary, Stephan Kramer who decried the “inexplicably sparse” reaction of the media and German politicians. After all, the Jews of Europe know only too well that it begins with one incidence after another and, if one remains silent, the victimisation becomes collective.
Does that not make one wonder if Muslim women in hijab are now going to be targeted with impunity by extremists, racists and others of the lunatic fringe in Europe? Why has the EU leadership not condemned this act of religious hatred? Is Marwa el Sherbini going to be the first of many headscarf martyrs – as her native Egyptian media is calling her – of Europe, especially in the wake of the Sarkozy statement? It would be a pity if the grand tradition of French freedom and equality is reduced to a superficiality covering an underlying intolerance towards cultural and religious diversity.
Perhaps the most shameful has been the reaction of the Muslim World including Pakistan. Why have we seen no official condemnation when we see the EU leaders and their media waste no time in issuing condemnatory statements whenever any incident of a crime against women or religious minorities occurs in Pakistan? It is good that they seek to act as our conscience on these occasions, but there has to be reciprocity and we should not shy away from acting as their conscience when they lose their way or shy away from exposing such crimes! Interestingly, there was a very high-powered electronic media delegation that had gone on the German government’s invitation to Berlin around this time. So why was this issue not raised? In fact, as a protest the delegation should have given up this summer freebie or at least have given the case due publicity at home. When we can – and rightly so – take strong issue with the flogging of women by the Taliban, can we not also condemn the equally vile act of murder committed by a secular or Christian extremist? Or does a crime against a woman in hijab or against the “Taliban” not move our public in quite the same way – especially our elite?
After all look at our silence on the mass murder of Taliban prisoners by that murderous warlord Rashid Dostum – and ally of the US after 9/11. Even President Obama is hesitant to take too strong a stand in this issue and we seem to be least bothered to raise it widely in our media. Why? Are we now accepting the double standards and hypocrisy of the west in terms of human rights – so that the killing of certain types of Muslims is more acceptable outside of the bounds of law?
As long as we remain selective about condemning violence and crimes against women, whomsoever they are and wherever they are, we will have little credibility to our protest. After all, the crimes of the Baloch sardars in burying women alive, or the Tumandars of southern Punjab cutting off the noses of women or the Sindhi feudals setting dogs on women to kill them are as horrific as the Taliban crimes against women – and they happen with as regular a frequency. And now this new wave of crimes against our Muslim sisters in Europe simply because they choose to wear hijab is no less despicable. So where are our voices now?
Of course, in terms of our leadership, one has no expectations given the bizarre statements coming from that quarter whether it is relating to the US in Afghanistan – “what the US does in Afghanistan is its own business, it is a sovereign state”, implying that the US can continue to wreak havoc on Pakistan through Afghanistan – or the rise of the Taliban. Apart from being hazy on the facts, no leader makes admissions of past covert policies whatever they may have been – especially when his Party was so deeply involved in these policies, as General Babar had once admitted! If nothing else, the many Yanks he deals with should at least tell him how the US to date has never even admitted to any CIA killings, let alone so many other covert deeds of horror at the level of the Presidency!
This is not to say that we should not recognise our mistakes and learn from them rather than repeating them over and over again. But our leaders do not have to make it a habit to go through a full confessional especially when being interviewed by the foreign media. One can alter direction without yelling and screaming just to prove one’s loyalty to, at best, a dubious foreign ally.
But looking beyond our hapless leadership and before we become the next victims of European history, the nation should ask why it continues to be part of an apathetic Muslim Ummah?
The writer is a defence analyst. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org