Sunday, July 12, 2009

May God's Love Be With You

Marwa el-Sherbini an Egytian Muslim, a former handball champion, living in Dresden, with her husband a genetic engineer, and their three year old son. Marwa el-Sherbini at the park, last Summer, dressed as usual, wearing her headscarf, playing with her son.

27 year old Alex W. from Russia takes offense at her presence, calls her a terrorist, screams that she is an "Islamist whore" when she asks that he let her kid sit on the swing.

Marwa takes her assailant to court, she presses charges of "insult and abuse" against him.

Whilst Marwa el-Sherbini is testifying against him in Dresden, standing up in front of the whole court, Alex W. stalks over and to the witness box, stabs her eighteen times. And when her husband rushes in to rescue her (and their unborn second child) the police shoot him - mistaking him for her attacker. Marwa el-Sherbini is dead, her husband is in intensive care, their three year old son watches it all.

The European press have largely ignored the murder, no surprise there.

Just a few weeks ago President Sarkozy of France, announced plans for a total ban of the burka. "It will not be welcomed in the territory of the French Republic," he says, as if East-West relations weren't at an all time explosive high. As if a government has any right to announce what its citizens wear. As if a blanket ban ever helped anyone but the politician who suggested it.

I have complicated feelings towards organized religions, especially in relation to their attitudes to women and other sexual minorities, I am not postively pro-hijab. I am however pretty sure that Europe's growing Islamophobia is damaging, destructive and ill-considered. Attacks like this are growing in number, to hear of them puts one in mind of the pogroms in Russia 100 years ago. How long is it going to take us to get it into our thick skulls that no amount of scapegoating is going to sort out the mess we've all made of the world, and no amount of blood shed is going to prove our personal spiritual/agnostic/atheist beliefs true.

All paths lead to God, that is except maybe this bloody one we're walking.

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