The headscarf martyr
July 11, 2009 5:47 AM   Subscribe

Marwa el-Sherbini testified in court against a neighbor who had called her a "terrorist" because she wore the hijab. As she spoke, the man she had accused walked across the courtroom and stabbed her 18 times. In the Muslim world, she is now being referred to as "the headscarf martyr."

Marwa el-Sherbini had been pregnant at the time. When her husband rushed to her side, he was also shot. Marwa died soon after. Her husband remains in critical condition. There have been protests in countries such as Egypt and Iran against what they perceive as European racism. The attacker was also an immigrant. There has been little press coverage of the murder in the Western media.
posted by melissam (144 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
a) why do they allow knives in courtrooms.
b) where is the security. a person shouldn't be allowed to confront a witness at all, let alone confront her and then have enough time to deliver 18 distinct wounds.

yes, i realize the issue here is racism and xenophobia and hatred, but this shouldn't have been allowed to happen and never would have happened in a court with proper security.

Even her husband Elvi Ali Okaz could do nothing as the 28-year-old Russian stock controller who was being sued for insult and abuse took the life of his pregnant wife. As Okaz ran to save her, he too was brought down, shot by a police officer who mistook him for the attacker. He is now in intensive care in a Dresden hospital.

i mean. what the hell, german cops?
posted by billysumday at 6:09 AM on July 11, 2009 [24 favorites]


My thoughts are with el-Sherbini's friends and family in their time of sorrow.

Some day, the planet will be free of religion-inspired violence. The only question is whether human life will still exist at that time.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:09 AM on July 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


Some day, the planet will be free of religion-inspired violence.

including honor killings. i wonder how many more rights a muslim woman has in germany than in egypt.
posted by billysumday at 6:14 AM on July 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's important to note here that her husband was shot BY THE POLICE....who thought he was the attacker. Because, Russians are white, you see...and Egyptians are tan...so it must have been the Egyptian who needed killing.

All of this in front of their 3 year old boy.

Disgusting.

My prayers to their families and hopes that their son can forgive. Heartbreaking news, but not terribly surprising in a culture where Islamic traditional dress is seen as a valid reason to abuse people, and where government are forbidding scarves and other traditional clothing.
posted by dejah420 at 6:17 AM on July 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


Some day, the planet will be free of religion-inspired violence.

just as soon as the religious are all stabbed to death, right?
posted by pyramid termite at 6:18 AM on July 11, 2009 [4 favorites]


They don't have metal detectors at the door of courthouses in Germany? I had to go through security just to get a marriage license. You'd think that an accused in a court case would at least get frisked.
posted by octothorpe at 6:20 AM on July 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


i wonder how many more rights a muslim woman has in germany than in egypt.

Oh, phew, that's right. Thanks. For a minute there I thought there might be something wrong with us instead of them.
posted by fleetmouse at 6:21 AM on July 11, 2009 [46 favorites]


i wonder how many more rights a muslim woman has in germany than in egypt.

Oh, phew, that's right. Thanks. For a minute there I thought there might be something wrong with us instead of them.


Confusing. By "them" do you mean Russian immigrants?

And, again, I say: I wonder how many more rights a muslim woman has in germany than in egypt. Certainly it's quantifiable.
posted by billysumday at 6:24 AM on July 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


including honor killings. i wonder how many more rights a muslim woman has in germany than in egypt.

Yeah, that balances everything right out.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:25 AM on July 11, 2009 [5 favorites]


It might sound cynical, but that's Dresden for you. A city that thought it was a nice gesture to name a monkey in the local zoo Obama to comemmorate his recent visit to the city.
Even by german standards the level of xenophobia, racism and nationalism is appaling in Saxonia and its capital.
If you are interested in further analysis on this phenomenon, an american blogger I know translated an interesting text by a german leftist group on Anti-Muslim Racism From Above and From Below.

Also there's this interactive IfL National Atlas on right wing extremism and violence in Germany with different maps on election results, political motivated violence and murders in the recent years. It's looking bleak.
posted by kolophon at 6:27 AM on July 11, 2009 [4 favorites]


i wonder how many more rights a muslim woman has in germany than in egypt.

I will not Godwin...I will not Godwin...I will not Godwin...I will not Godwin...I will not Godwin...I will not Godwin...I will not Godwin...
posted by elfgirl at 6:36 AM on July 11, 2009 [4 favorites]


i wonder how many more rights a muslim woman has in germany than in egypt.
Regardless of the answer to that question, it should be unacceptable that a woman was murdered in cold blood and her husband killed while trying to defender her in a court of law while trying to defend herself from false charges of terrorism based on her religious clothing.
posted by verb at 6:44 AM on July 11, 2009 [15 favorites]


I wonder how many more rights a muslim woman has in germany than in egypt. Certainly it's quantifiable.

Maybe, just maybe, the killing of an Egyptian woman by a psychotically bigoted European man should be an occasion for reflection instead of retaliative finger pointing.

I don't disagree that the rights of women is a huge problem in many Islamic societies, but so what? Is her life less valuable in Europe because she has fewer rights in her home country? As a Canadian, have I earned the privilege of stabbing American tourists because they no longer have habeas corpus rights in the US?
posted by fleetmouse at 6:44 AM on July 11, 2009 [28 favorites]


billysumday:
Honor killing is not legally sanctioned in Egypt. This woman was not brutally stabbed in a courtroom in Egypt. We are all familiar, I believe, with the lesser status women have in many Islamic countries, but I fail to see what that has to do with this case.
posted by idiopath at 6:44 AM on July 11, 2009 [6 favorites]


I'm surprised at how little press this has gotten in Germany.
posted by chillmost at 6:47 AM on July 11, 2009


Lets turn this tragedy into something more meaningful than it is - on second thought no lets not. You can hang up your sleuthing cap because there is no mystery here. Just violent humanity at it's most banal. But that won't stop some of you spending your whole weekend fighting in this thread. I post this as a caution to those of you who are in good faith going to try to right this wrong in your head and on this forum, stop go outside, go to the lake, spend time with friends. You'll spare your stomach and honor the dead.
posted by nola at 6:49 AM on July 11, 2009 [18 favorites]


and re: the security in german courtrooms: Until now metal detectors and security controls are not mandatory. After that incident this is likely to change.

I'm not so optimistic about the racist attitudes of german police though.
posted by kolophon at 6:51 AM on July 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


And, again, I say: I wonder how many more rights a muslim woman has in germany than in egypt. Certainly it's quantifiable.

Sure it is. However, as someone who lived in Egypt I can tell you that aside from severe problems of sexual harassment and abuse, women seemed to enjoy just as many "rights" as men did, especially if they were middle class or wealthier. As in many places, poverty was a much stronger indicator of a lack of rights among women than the larger political context.

In Egypt, just so you know, freedom of speech that we enjoy in the West simply doesn't exist. Demonstrations do not happen. Not because there aren't dissatisfied citizens, but because for every one protestor that shows up, there will be 50 thugs in plainclothes, there to beat them up but of course not in any way tied to the Egyptian government.

All that being said, absolutely none of this has anything to do with the post in question, which highlights both a feeling among the Muslim world that the West doesn't care about Muslims, and that as immigration from outside Europe becomes an increasingly big part of Europe's reality, adjustments must be made to accommodate tensions that may come about.

Finally, it's important as always to make a distinction between institutionalized discrimination (which certainly exists) and the behaviors of utter nutjobs.
posted by Deathalicious at 6:52 AM on July 11, 2009 [5 favorites]


She's not a martyr. She's the victim of a stabbing by an insane person. Had it have been his mother-in-law he'd likely have done the same thing, if he ended up in court on some stupid charge.

These laws are so stupid. Hate crimes. Give me a break. The guy mocked her for being different, then he killed her because he's insane. Hate crime? If I commit violence against someone -- anyone -- it's not because I love them. All crimes are hate crimes. Political correctness at it's most absurd.

The biggest racism in Europe that I know of is Muslims against those who live in the country that was/is kind enough to offer them a place to have a life. They are refusing to assimilate. It's bullshit. I'm so proud of little Denmark, the first country to take a firm stand against this jive, to cut deeply into their immigration laws, to begin to say no, we're not giving up our way of life, we're not writing any more stupid laws because you want to wear kitchen drapes on your head.

ALL THAT SAID, I don't blame anyone in any primarily Muslim country for being outraged, not because of this woman's murder at the hands of an insane man -- anyone sane is outraged at that tragedy -- but due to the fact that in the US in particular so many individuals are guilty until proven innocent due to having brown skin and a different background than, oh, my cousin maybe. They're using what they can to express their rage about the million Iraqis -- who knows who many Afghans -- that western countries have murdered so we can have plastic grocery bags, so we can have all the oil we can steal in our filthy trumped-up insane war of blatant aggression, naked murder. Murder which is still going on, in case you hadn't noticed, both in Iraq and in Afghanistan and now Pakistan -- our fearless leader was too busy in his dynamic first 100 daze to keep any of the promises he made, and probably people in Egypt and Iran are upset about that, just a little bit.
posted by dancestoblue at 6:52 AM on July 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


i wonder how many more rights a muslim woman has in germany than in egypt.

I will not Godwin...I will not Godwin...


Ha! I guess I set myself up for that one.

Okay, okay, uncle, everyone. I poorly worded my second comment. The honor killing thing was a response to "religion-inspired violence." Then I threw the thing in there about women's rights between Germany and Egypt.

I still think it's not an insignificant issue. Germany provides more rights to women and ethnic/religious minorities than does Egypt. They should be commended for the fact that a Muslim woman was able to drag this man into court and have him face justice. It is a good thing that Germany has institutionalized rights for its citizens regardless of sex or religion. The same cannot be said of Egpyt and many other Islamic countries. So these people protesting in Egypt, they could be just as easily drawing attention to the fact that a Muslim woman in Germany has more rights than her sister in Egypt. Of course, state-controlled media, male-dominated religious institutions...I doubt it's going to be a very hot topic.

Regardless of the politics of it, of course it's a tragedy. Here's an innocent woman killed in cold blood by a crazy guy, for seemingly no apparent reason. Does that mean Germans are racist? No. Germans may be racist, but a Russian immigrant killing a Muslim woman doesn't mean that Germans are racist.

So consider me an imperialist Westerner, but I too consider this an issue of court security instead of religious intolerance.
posted by billysumday at 6:54 AM on July 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


This sucks. What I really want to see is how the German authorities proceed with the stabber in their own court system.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:55 AM on July 11, 2009


chilmost: "ungefähr 784" is not exactly "little press". Most of the more than 140 right wing murders in germany since the unification recieved considerably less press than that.
posted by kolophon at 6:59 AM on July 11, 2009


"we're not writing any more stupid laws because you want to wear kitchen drapes on your head."

Either

"I'm sorry, I must of misunderstood your post"
or
"WTF, did you really say that????"

Tell me, dancestoblue, which response should I post here, 'cuz I want to do this right.
posted by HuronBob at 6:59 AM on July 11, 2009 [4 favorites]


Sad thing is, you can see dancestoblue's comment as a majority position in many parts of germany. I flagged it, but maybe it should remain to serve as an example of the ignorance and anti-muslim bigotry that leads to these acts.
posted by kolophon at 7:06 AM on July 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


we're not writing any more stupid laws because you want to wear kitchen drapes on your head

Wow. I don't even know where to go with that one.
posted by elfgirl at 7:07 AM on July 11, 2009


I don't wade into controversial threads, because, really, I don't have the time nor inclintation for it. However...

dancestoblue, dude. what. are you high right now?
posted by liquorice at 7:10 AM on July 11, 2009 [2 favorites]



And, again, I say: I wonder how many more rights a muslim woman has in germany than in egypt. Certainly it's quantifiable.

I don't know. But the right to be safe and secure while in a court of law is clearly not one ot those rights.
posted by notreally at 7:12 AM on July 11, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'm so proud of little Denmark, the first country to take a firm stand against this jive, to cut deeply into their immigration laws, to begin to say no, we're not giving up our way of life, we're not writing any more stupid laws because you want to wear kitchen drapes on your head.

This is unequivocally the language of intolerance, and, instead of being proud of Denmark, you should be ashamed of yourself.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:16 AM on July 11, 2009 [41 favorites]


The biggest racism in Europe that I know of is Muslims against those who live in the country that was/is kind enough to offer them a place to have a life. They are refusing to assimilate. It's bullshit.

No, your screed is bullsh*t. Why should they have to "assimilate?"
posted by caddis at 7:22 AM on July 11, 2009


And Billy, I'm really not following why you felt the need to ask how many less rights she'd have in Egypt. If I raised the subject of a African female slave being whipped in America during the Antebellum, would you ask how many less rights she would have had back in the Ivory Coast?

It's a rather distracting question, and I just don't see how it relates. Sure, she probably has more rights in Germany, but should the trade-off be that she runs the risk of getting stabbed to death by a xenophobe?
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:23 AM on July 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm so proud of little Denmark, the first country to take a firm stand against this jive, to cut deeply into their immigration laws, to begin to say no, we're not giving up our way of life, we're not writing any more stupid laws because you want to wear kitchen drapes on your head.

i'm so proud of the great u s a, where i can fucking well wear kitchen drapes on my head if i want to
posted by pyramid termite at 7:25 AM on July 11, 2009 [29 favorites]


Heartbreaking news, but not terribly surprising in a culture where Islamic traditional dress is seen as a valid reason to abuse people, and where government are forbidding scarves and other traditional clothing.

I think you're confusing Germany with France-- in Germany, the issue was resolved six years ago in a ruling that affirmed the right of Muslim teachers to wear headscarves in public school classrooms.

See Kolophon's posts for more context and details on this case.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 7:29 AM on July 11, 2009 [4 favorites]


The biggest racism in Europe that I know of is Muslims against those who live in the country that was/is kind enough to offer them a place to have a life. They are refusing to assimilate. It's bullshit.

I think I'll choose the laughter option.

Lol.
posted by fire&wings at 7:30 AM on July 11, 2009


I kinda get dancestoblue, but man, settle down.

There have always been immigrant populations that "refuse" to assimilate. And then they do. Usually within about three generations.

It seems harder when the people themselves "look" so different - asian, brown, black, etc. We're in an upswing of tightening security, defining what it "means" to be a "real $COUNTRY_CITIZEN". And they, coming from a worse situation, usually, want to be sure they don't lose their identity totally to this new place. (Not true of all - many, many try to forget where they came from and assimilate totally, even to the point of not speaking the native language at home and not telling their kids tales from the homeland)

Anti-immigrant laws are as old as immigration itself. We're not helping ourselves or the new folks by caving totally to demands or not accommodating at all, dancestoblue.

This whole thing makes me sick.
posted by lysdexic at 7:31 AM on July 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm so proud of little Denmark, the first country to take a firm stand against this jive

I assume the poster is referring to the publication of the now-infamous cartoons. It's always interesting to see how people depict Denmark as some sort of plucky underdog against the evil forces of global Islam, as if singling out the religion of an impoverished and politically marginalized minority for nasty mockery is taking some sort of noble stand for free speech.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 7:33 AM on July 11, 2009 [14 favorites]


keep your religious beliefs in your church,temple,tent,home,wherever. in public obey the rules, or go home.
posted by billybobtoo at 7:37 AM on July 11, 2009


keep your religious beliefs in your church,temple,tent,home,wherever. in public obey the rules, or go home.

And where do I send you for not knowing the rules of using commas?
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:40 AM on July 11, 2009 [8 favorites]


If I commit violence against someone -- anyone -- it's not because I love them. All crimes are hate crimes. Political correctness at it's most absurd.

Hate crimes differ from run-of-the-mill crimes because they don't just affect the victim; they create an atmosphere of fear and persecution for others like them. They are an attempt by one group to control another through intimidation. In addition to the actual act of violence, they are (often explicitly and intentionally) a threat of violence against others.

Criticize hate crime laws if you like—there are legitimate objections to the above reasoning—but don't pretend not to understand the difference.

I'm so proud of little Denmark, the first country to take a firm stand against this jive, to cut deeply into their immigration laws, to begin to say no, we're not giving up our way of life

Maybe I'm missing something, but what are you talking about? Where, exactly, are immigrants forcing citizens of their adoptive country to give up their "way of life"?

Yes, large numbers of immigrants can change the cultural complexion of a country, but where's the problem there? Oh no! my new neighbors do things differently than my old neighbors! They're forcing me to give up my way of life!

If that's what you're talking about, you're an ethnocentric jackass. If you're talking about something else, please specify.

And "kitchen drapes"? Really?

I've been wondering if MetaFilter is going downhill lately; now I know that the answer is "yes".
posted by ixohoxi at 7:52 AM on July 11, 2009 [11 favorites]


They are refusing to assimilate. It's bullshit.

Is Denmark the Borg? Seriously, that's one of the stupidest things that I've read heard in a long time. What does that even mean? Are you saying that you're supposed to give up your native culture and religion just because you moved? I live in a city full of decedents of European immigrants and they've kept their cultures going for over a hundred years and the city is a better place for it. Should they have all "assimilated" into the greater American culture in 1910?
posted by octothorpe at 7:54 AM on July 11, 2009 [7 favorites]


but due to the fact that in the US in particular so many individuals are guilty until proven innocent due to having brown skin and a different background than, oh, my cousin maybe

Citation needed.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:55 AM on July 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


dancestoblue has everybody riled up now and that's not terribly surprising. But before the pitchforks come out, consider that a pro-assimilation viewpoint regarding immigrants is really the norm in Western society rather than the exception.

Very few societies truly embrace multiculturalism; the U.S. itself is - what's that charming expression? - "a melting pot", right?
posted by stinkycheese at 8:01 AM on July 11, 2009


Yeah, re: kitchen drapes, dude, that's not cool.

What may not be cool is that a minority (and you damn well know it is, don't tell me you've seen them on their stoops, anecdotal don't cut it on mefi) do promote violent, exclusionary ideologies of their own.

But this woman? She wasn't a terrorist. The man who killed her was. And I hope Germans come to their senses and realize it, and the rest of Europe. This was a woman who, hello, assimilated. She joined the legal system, used her rights to both cultural autonomy, free expression, and legal recourse. She's exactly the kind of engaged, aware, active citizen (in kitchen drapes, no less!) Germany and every other country should be proud to have. And she was cut down by a right-wing terrorist in full view of her son, a man who, I'd guess, had taken his fill of the racist propaganda against people in kitchen drapes, and I'm also guessing, something of the same intolerant worldview that filled that comment of yours.

You are the beast, dude. It's in you. Mourn for the tragic loss of a family that didn't succumb to the temptation of violence and terror today. Germany is worse off without them.
posted by saysthis at 8:04 AM on July 11, 2009 [15 favorites]


Very few societies truly embrace multiculturalism; the U.S. itself is - what's that charming expression? - "a melting pot", right?

It's true, but that's because the United States is a nation of immigrants, and had it's own long history of cultural infighting before multiculturalism became seen as a common good; a history that hasn't ended, by the way.

And let me point out the obvious: Europe's history of imosing a monoculture and rejecting cultural differences is disastrous.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:05 AM on July 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


exnae the "both" in that comment. This is your brain on sleep deprivation.
posted by saysthis at 8:06 AM on July 11, 2009


"ungefähr 784" is not exactly "little press".

I don't here about it on the radio. I don't see it on tv. I didn't see it on spiegel.de. I didn't see it in my local paper.

I only saw it on welt.de and it was, at the time, a small article.
posted by chillmost at 8:06 AM on July 11, 2009


Wow, dancestoblue, would that blue happen to be prussian?
posted by necessitas at 8:06 AM on July 11, 2009 [4 favorites]


But the right to be safe and secure while in a court of law is clearly not one ot those rights.

There is a distinction between institutionalized discrimination and violence on the one hand, and discrimination and violence by individual fellow citizens on the other. She had the right to be safe and secure while in a court of law -- "clearly," even -- it's just a question of how well the institutions of government protected that right.

Basically, this is not a convincing piece of evidence for German -- or Dresdenian -- racism. A Russian immigrant murdered her, and it's quite possible that the police were aiming for the attacker when they hit the husband, especially given that the husband was also stabbed by the attacker, indicating that this was all at very close quarters.

It's a terrible attack by a bigoted madman. I hope her husband pulls through, especially for the three-year-old's sake.
posted by palliser at 8:08 AM on July 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: garden-variety American asshole.
posted by stinkycheese at 8:22 AM on July 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


All crimes are hate crimes.

Huh? If I steal your car, it's not because I hate you.

no, we're not giving up our way of life, we're not writing any more stupid laws because you want to wear kitchen drapes on your head.

Oh, never mind. I didn't realize you were an idiot.
posted by the bricabrac man at 8:24 AM on July 11, 2009 [9 favorites]


Why are we assuming the attacker was insane? It may not explicitly be an expression of German anti-Muslim hatred, but that's no reason to simply discount it as madness. When that eo-Nazi went and shot up the Holocaust museum, it wasn't because he was insane, but because he had been wanting to do something like that for a long time and wanted to go out with a bang.

Declaring madness is this way lets the guilty off the hook, in a sense, and also stigmatizes people with genuine psychiatric disorders. Until any actual evidence comes out that the stabber in this story had a mental illness, I think it is fair to presume it was an especially bold hate crime.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:25 AM on July 11, 2009 [6 favorites]


How depressing.
posted by Artw at 8:26 AM on July 11, 2009


I'm almost tempted to add some comment about how he probably thought they were taking his jeeeeeerbs! too.
posted by kldickson at 8:32 AM on July 11, 2009


Some day, the planet will be free of religion-inspired violence.

Yes! Then we can concentrate on the rest of the other types of violence.

Please. Humans do violence unto other humans. It's what we do best and most enthusiastically. If it's not religion, it'll be something else.
posted by WalterMitty at 8:33 AM on July 11, 2009 [4 favorites]


Why is everybody hating on Germany? They prosecuted the Russian for his racism, and will investigate and prosecute him for this murder, no doubt. Sure they should have had better security in their courtroom, but it's not a result of racism on their part that the victim was left vulnerable - all courtrooms in Germany are like that.

I know there are wider problems in Germany with far-right groups, but these are mostly the legacy of economic and social problems in East Germany, and not some normal part of society. There's a stereotype in Europe that when it comes to racism and xenophobia, Germans are like ex-alcoholics, always painfully aware just how much they're hurt people in the past. Germany has large populations of citizens from non-German and non-Christian backgrounds, and does well making its society work together. About 4% of the population there considers themselves Muslim, compared to just .6% in the US. Even though the protesters in Egypt seem to believe this is a manifestation of European racism, please let's realize this for what it is - a tragic murder committed by a racist individual.
posted by Sova at 8:43 AM on July 11, 2009 [6 favorites]


keep your religious beliefs in your church,temple,tent,home,wherever. in public obey the rules, or go home.

Wow. I mean, I'm a very serious atheist. I find organized religion to be almost nausea-inducing. But seriously, keep your beliefs at home? Considering that wearing a headscarf is a religious belief, does that mean Muslim women shouldn't be allowed to wear them in public? This is akin to saying, "If you want to be gay, keep it at home. Otherwise, follow the straight-rules in public!"
posted by Saxon Kane at 8:48 AM on July 11, 2009


Individual racism is a guy stabbing someone to death for their ethnicity.

Institutional racism is the husband in critical condition, shot by the person who should have been protecting his wife and everyone in the courtroom, the media which is silent on the whole affair (unless this is typical for German court proceedings, in which case, you have bigger problems), and you know, the group of folks who fed anti-immigrant racism this whole time.

We'll always have wingnuts of one type or another. The question is whether your society is going to protect people from them, or protect them.
posted by yeloson at 8:52 AM on July 11, 2009 [8 favorites]


keep your religious beliefs in your church,temple,tent,home,wherever.

Does that mean I won't have to see another dumb Flying Spaghetti Monster emblem on the back of a car? It's just weird when, as an anonymous driver, your sole declaration to the world is contempt for someone else's belief system.

I'm with pyramid termite- kitchen drapes are a-ok with me.
posted by small_ruminant at 8:54 AM on July 11, 2009


Fascinating how we all get to project our own worldviews on this one single, tragic occurrence. Martyr?? Xenophobia (pro and anti), police racism, melting pot vs multiculturism, church vs state...

For me the takeways are:
1) courtroom security. Stabbed her 18 times!. wtf?!?
2) is the lack of sensational press coverage of this and other European crimes with Muslim victims an indication of a real problem? Perhaps it is, or perhaps the press is trying to provide subdued coverage to avoid further polarizing the problem. Myself, I haven't seen enough to sway me decisively one way or another.
posted by Artful Codger at 8:54 AM on July 11, 2009


I dunno, Sova. I wouldn't blame Germany in particular. But do you really think that there's no relationship between the kind of attitudes that Dancestoblue expressed, which seems to be pretty common in much of Europe, and the lone fanatic who acts violently on those attitudes? It seems to me that when the mainstream discourse stigmitizes and marginalizes certain communities, it's pretty likely that members of those communities are going to end up being targets of violent fanatics. If mainstream people focus on headscarves and how they're destroying civilization as we know it, I don't think you can exactly claim its a coincidence when angry, disaffected people focus their rage on women in headscarves. It's a little bit like the anti-choice people who are just shocked, shocked about the murder of Dr. Tiller.
posted by craichead at 8:59 AM on July 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


All of this in front of their 3 year old boy.

The Western World: blindly making terrorists fresh every day, for you and the next generation!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:12 AM on July 11, 2009


b) where is the security. a person shouldn't be allowed to confront a witness at all, let alone confront her and then have enough time to deliver 18 distinct wounds.

I get your point re. security, but really dude, you should know this one.

Tangent: One of the outcomes of the most recent US Supreme Court session was that lab techs presenting forensic evidence technically qualify as "accusers" so they can't just fax in the DNA results, they have to take the stand an be cross-examined, which is a logistical nightmare in federal cases where lab work can be done across the country.
posted by scope the lobe at 9:15 AM on July 11, 2009


1) courtroom security. Stabbed her 18 times!. wtf?!?

I've been to Germany a few times in recent years. The security I went through both in airports and going to U.S. military installations (which sometimes use German contract security at the gates) was so thorough that it was a notable part of the visits. So, yeah, this is mindblowing to me.

Hell, I have to go through a metal detactor for jury duty in the U.S.
posted by Cyrano at 9:20 AM on July 11, 2009


um, okay, physically confront. if i've been accused of murdering your sister, i shouldn't be allowed to stand up in the courtroom and walk toward you slowly, ominously, as you testify against me.
posted by billysumday at 9:20 AM on July 11, 2009


I've never understood people who demand that immigrants assimilate. Variety is the spice of life and, no offense to my fellow Americans, but the assimilated bore the shit out of me. I'll take more headscarves and kofias over baseball caps any day.
posted by JaredSeth at 9:27 AM on July 11, 2009 [11 favorites]


"Fascinating how we all get to project our own worldviews on this one single, tragic occurrence."

To be fair, the incident arose after a "playground quarrel had culminated in the defendant shouting at the woman "Islamist", "Muslim bitch" and "terrorist" and "the defendant ... asked Marwa in the courtroom: "Do you have a right to be in Germany at all?" Then he threatened her: "When the NPD comes to power, there'll be an end to that. I voted NPD."

As that last link points out, "The journalists could have reminded their readership that the extreme-right NPD had secured 5.1% of the votes in council elections in Saxony in June 2008

Further, there have been similar problems in other countries such as The Netherlands where they have enacted integration test for immigrants from certain countries, and they have seen the rise of anti-immigration political parties. France has similar problems - for example, they have long history of reliance on cheap Algerian labour with a corresponding widespread discrimination against these workers - who also happen to be muslim. The fact that they are still wrestling these issues is indicated by their consideration of banning the burqa.

So agreed - it's a tragic occurrence, but ignoring it and dismissing it as an isolated event without any political context beyond a madman exploding (as both the western and German media appears to have done) only furthers the chance that is will not be one single occurrence.


I do agree about courtroom security though... under their watch in their court, someone was stabbed 18 times and in response, they shot her husband - absurdly incompetent.
posted by sloe at 9:33 AM on July 11, 2009 [7 favorites]


I dunno, Sova. I wouldn't blame Germany in particular. But do you really think that there's no relationship between the kind of attitudes that Dancestoblue expressed, which seems to be pretty common in much of Europe, and the lone fanatic who acts violently on those attitudes? It seems to me that when the mainstream discourse stigmitizes and marginalizes certain communities, it's pretty likely that members of those communities are going to end up being targets of violent fanatics. If mainstream people focus on headscarves and how they're destroying civilization as we know it, I don't think you can exactly claim its a coincidence when angry, disaffected people focus their rage on women in headscarves. It's a little bit like the anti-choice people who are just shocked, shocked about the murder of Dr. Tiller.

I understand there is a very difficult and sometimes xenophobic discourse in Europe about 'immigrants', but I wouldn't take either dancestoblue or the murderer of this woman to be necessarily representative of it as neither of them are European. While dancestoblue probably expresses sentiments that can be found quite commonly in some parts of Europe, I wouldn't expect him to either hold them for the same reasons, or to understand the reasons why Europeans hold them. Indeed, discrimination against 'immigrants' takes place no matter what religion or ethnic group they are from, and is not limited to Muslims. As for Russia, I'm afraid I don't know enough to really comment, except that there is a mix of nationalism and militarism present which is not found in Europe.

Of course, there is a wider problem with how engage and treat Muslims in Europe, but that's true of all Western societies. It appears that all of us, from North America, to Europe, to Russia, are exposed to Islamophobia through media and other discourse. I don't doubt that the 'War on Terror' is really a War on Islam, and that we've been made to suspect all Muslims as 'working for the downfall of Western civilization'. Likwise, we see the same focus on women in headscarves as representative of Muslim presence, as though they really deserve to be in the frontline of our chauvinism. But I don't see any reason to consider Germany as exceptional in this case, or that this murder and its reporting represents 'hidden racism' in Germany, as though everybody else in the West were free from the insidious hate of the last decade.
posted by Sova at 9:36 AM on July 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


>Does that mean I won't have to see another dumb Flying Spaghetti Monster emblem on the back of a car? It's just weird when, as an anonymous driver, your sole declaration to the world is contempt for someone else's belief system.

And that's just a weird statement. I don't agree with billybobtoo, but I do have an FSM emblem on my car.

The FSM thing is, first and foremost, a protest against creationism in public schools. Here's the open letter that started it all. Sorry, but yeah, I'm contemptuous as fuck of creationism (just as I am of flat-earthers and Holocaust deniers), and I'm not gonna apologize for that. It's a real threat to science and reason in the United States and, by extension, democratic society. Just because an idiotic belief is sanctioned by religion doesn't make it any less idiotic, and it doesn't mean I have to be nice to it.

To the extent that the FSM does symbolize contempt for religion in general: so what? There are plenty of bumper stickers that express contempt for other people's belief systems—stickers for and against every social/political cause, candidate, and proposition under the sun, many of then explicitly attacking the opposition (and often in far more pointed terms than the FSM). Why does religion get special treatment? Why are we allowed to question every other belief a man holds, but not his religious views?

To me, though, the FSM is mainly a symbol of solidarity with other atheists. When I see another person with the emblem on the car, I feel a little less lonely and a little less despairing for the future of my country. I do live in a nation, after all, which trusts me less than any other minority (original study—PDF), including Muslims and gays. I'm not gonna go to the back of the bus just because it makes you uncomfortable to see an FSM emblem and be reminded that atheists exist.

So, yeah, that was a total derail, but your own contempt for atheists is perhaps a bit hypocritical.
posted by ixohoxi at 9:37 AM on July 11, 2009 [28 favorites]


including honor killings. i wonder how many more rights a muslim woman has in germany than in egypt.

Oh, good. I was hoping this post about a tragic murder born from religious and ethnic bigotry would turn into a discussion of What's Wrong With Muslims. I see my wish has been granted.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 9:51 AM on July 11, 2009 [5 favorites]


Not to repeat the press's alleged over-concentration of security measures over racism, but the fact that this dude strode in with a knife and was within striking distance of her blows my mind. When I go to Berlin and get in line for Berghain or some other techno club, I get a thoroughly meticulous frisking...and that's just to get into a nightclub.

Mind you, this is Dresden, Saxony and not Berlin, so [insert regionalist generalities here].
posted by LMGM at 9:56 AM on July 11, 2009


I've never understood people who demand that immigrants assimilate.

Americans naturally associate the desire to relocate as a gesture of assimilation or refuge within the culture, as a love for America, rather than doing so for any other reason. Childish, yes. Either way, I can predict that anti-assimilation will be met with feelings of betrayal and suspicion, because of the confusion, while others will have denial over it, rushing to defend some old-world wife-beating traditionalist who came here to get rich quick.
posted by Brian B. at 10:07 AM on July 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hey mods...dancestoblue is not assimilating to the metafilter population by practicing acceptance, or tolerance, or even just staying silent.

Can we ban him and his culture of hate? I mean even he endorses a policy of damning 'em if people don't assimilate.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:09 AM on July 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


How gladdening that the lesson we can all draw from this is that the shit of Americans does not stink.
posted by Artw at 10:11 AM on July 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


I understand there is a very difficult and sometimes xenophobic discourse in Europe about 'immigrants', but I wouldn't take either dancestoblue or the murderer of this woman to be necessarily representative of it as neither of them are European.
Dancestoblue's attitudes could be common in Europe despite the fact that dancestoblue is not European. And the killer could be influenced by political rhetoric in the place where he lives even if he wasn't born there.
But I don't see any reason to consider Germany as exceptional in this case, or that this murder and its reporting represents 'hidden racism' in Germany, as though everybody else in the West were free from the insidious hate of the last decade.
I don't consider Germany exceptional. It blows my mind a little bit, though, that anyone would think that just because hatred and bigotry wasn't exceptional, that meant that it didn't need to be addressed.
posted by craichead at 10:14 AM on July 11, 2009


How gladdening that the lesson we can all draw from this is that the shit of Americans does not stink.

And some people wonder why other countries believe Americans think it's all about them...
posted by Cyrano at 10:18 AM on July 11, 2009


ixohoxi, I rarely favorite comments, but I had to favorite your most recent one in this thread.
posted by kldickson at 10:20 AM on July 11, 2009


small_ruminant, to the extent that people who have imaginary friends often say worse about us atheists - plenty of them think we shouldn't be considered citizens, some of them think we should be dead, and there are numerous incidents where many of us have been fired for being openly atheist - you are full of shit.
posted by kldickson at 10:22 AM on July 11, 2009


Not to repeat the press's alleged over-concentration of security measures over racism, but the fact that this dude strode in with a knife and was within striking distance of her blows my mind.

Die Zeit ran an op-ed a few days ago titled “Murder in the Courtroom: The New Hate” in which a similar set of questions/challenges are posed:

Why is the death of a woman wearing a headscarf, who isn’t the victim of an honor-killing, only a short story for a week and the cause of only a wincing among the political institutions?

Could it be, that this death – a murder investigation is underway – doesn’t fit in our profile?

A young woman, who is a Muslim, a licensed and college-educated pharmacist with a job, doesn’t cower beneath the massive insults („whore“, „islamist“, „terrorist“), but rather defends herself: She identifies the man. He is convicted and during a new trial kills his victim.

The op-ed’s closing paragraph contains this remark: “the Chancellor is silent and Saxony’s Justice Minister is merely taking this opportunity to call for an end to the “open justice” of the courtrooms. Here the publicity of justice is a, perhaps the cornerstone of the constitutional state.”
posted by vkxmai at 10:36 AM on July 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


Hate crimes differ from run-of-the-mill crimes because they don't just affect the victim; they create an atmosphere of fear and persecution for others like them. They are an attempt by one group to control another through intimidation. In addition to the actual act of violence, they are (often explicitly and intentionally) a threat of violence against others.

How does that distinguish hate crimes from other violent crimes? If I see that a burglary happened in my neighborhood, I feel threatened. If someone smashes a store's windows with a brick, other store owners will feel vulnerable. Violence is typically intimidating to the community at large -- it's not a rare phenomenon peculiar to hate crimes.

In fact, a hate crime is arguably less threatening overall, since it targets a narrow segment of the population rather than everyone. If I (a white person) see that a black person was viciously murdered in a racist hate crime, I could -- if I'm being ridiculously self-centered -- think, "Oh, good, I don't have so much to worry about that killer who targets people who don't look like me." Now, I say this just for the sake of argument. As I say, it would be a laughably small-minded response. And I give blacks/Muslims/etc. enough credit to think they don't just feel threatened by hate crimes; I assume they're like me and most people in that they're mostly interested in living in an area with less violence rather than more violence.
posted by Jaltcoh at 10:37 AM on July 11, 2009


One of the primary dangers of democracy is a tyranny of the majority. When addressing intimidation directed at someone's ethnic group, one has to evaluate that within the context that majority ethnic groups have a history of exploiting minority groups in democratic societies.

A hate crime is different from a non-racially motivated crime because it carries behind it the prejudices of the political majority against a weaker minority. As long as someone's ethnicity makes them a target and a scapegoat, the law has good reason to treat that minority status as a special and protected case.

It is understandable, if you are a great-grandchild of someone who kept slaves, or even a member of the social class that kept slaves a few generations ago, to wish everyone could just let bygones be bygones and start with a clean slate; but really, societies don't work that way, healing between ethnicities never happens that fast, and in the meantime some situations are going to need special consideration.

The threat that an aggressive minority poses to a majority is of a distinctly different type from the threat an aggressive majority presents to a minority. And, despite what some Republicans are saying these days, white people, Christians, and men, are not political minorities in American society (I know this discussion is not about America, but I needed to get that off my chest).
posted by idiopath at 10:56 AM on July 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


What I want to know is how did the police mistake the victim's husband for the attacker? Were there no guards in the courtroom? Was nobody able to point out who the murder really was? I could *almost* understand if their excuse was that they were aiming for the attacker and the husband got in the way a second too late. I just can't fathom how they can excuse mistaking him for the attacker?

Have the German authorities addressed this issue? I think that the practice of arming the inept is a serious issue. I'm not discounting the main issue, or the secondary one that is how someone got a knife into the courtroom and was able to reach the stand without being apprehended. Both are beyond wrong. However, I really hope that the police's error isn't swept under the rug. Seriously, how do you make that kind of mistake? One person has a knife and is probably bloody, at least somewhat, and the other is approaching the scene (and reportedly stabbed as well). How does that mistake happen?
posted by necessitas at 11:01 AM on July 11, 2009



I'm glad to hear that dancestoblue's family is doing so well with assimilating. The world needs more Commanche speakers.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 11:20 AM on July 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


How does that distinguish hate crimes from other violent crimes? If I see that a burglary happened in my neighborhood, I feel threatened. If someone smashes a store's windows with a brick, other store owners will feel vulnerable. Violence is typically intimidating to the community at large -- it's not a rare phenomenon peculiar to hate crimes.

There is a big difference. Neither of your examples are violent crimes, but the crimes you mentioned, and general violent crimes, are crimes of opportunity. If there is a burglary, opportunity is what plays the major role in victim selection. It could have been your neighbors house, it could have been yours, or a house on a different block. The one with the least deterrents will be the one targeted. There are obvious ways to protect your home from being the one with the least deterrents. It's the same for muggings, rape, murder (with the exclusion of serial rape or murder where one certain "type" is targeted, or rape/murder where there is a motive and/or the rapist/murderer is not a stranger). There are things you can do to decrease the odds of being the target without sacrificing almost anything related to your way of life.

With hate crimes create an atmosphere of terror for everyone in the targeted religious/ethnic/racial group. They are not out to rob a house, and any house will do. They aren't out to vandalize, and any opportunity will do. When someone sets out to commit a hate crime, anybody in their targeted group will do. Not by neighborhood, not by street, their range reaches out to the community-at-large, and most aim to commit as many acts against their targeted group as possible.

What's worse is that there's nothing members of a targeted group can do to reduce their odds of being targeted. Blacks, Asians, they can't be less black or less Asian. Muslims, Sikhs, orthodox Jews can't "pretend" to be another religion without compromising their adherence to fundamental beliefs. If an anti-mormon arsonist is targeting LDS temples, there's nothing they can to to make the temples appear to be different than what they are. The worst part is, anything these people could do to hide their belonging to a targeted group would imply that they are ashamed of who they are, and that would be just as crushing as living in terror.

I really don't see how you can say that hate crimes are less threatening. Also, I'm just shaking my head at how bizarre these statements are:

And I give blacks/Muslims/etc. enough credit to think they don't just feel threatened by hate crimes; I assume they're like me and most people in that they're mostly interested in living in an area with less violence rather than more violence.

What kind of la-la-land do you live in? If someone, or a group, has been specifically attacking/murdering blacks or muslims, or vandalizing their property, you think they're just going to shrug and not worry that they might be next? Like they're going to say "oh well, sucks for those members of my ethnic/racial/religious group in my city, the victims were random and they only similarity between them was that they belong to the same minority group, my minority group, but I'm not going to worry, nope, not me!" And somehow believing that it is reasonable for them to live in fear when there's an ongoing crime spree against members of their group is somehow giving them less credit? Or the people who are targeted specifically picked out an area with more violence, rather then less violence? You don't think hate crimes exist in nice, safe, otherwise tolerant suburbia? Absolutely mind boggling.
posted by necessitas at 11:30 AM on July 11, 2009 [11 favorites]


i mean. what the hell, german cops?

What was he supposed to do? I mean, one person is being stabbed, and another guy is running towards the two of them. You don't know who that guy is. It's probably a pretty unusual occurrence.

Not every courtroom has metal detectors or even armed guards here in the U.S. Obviously courts where criminal cases are heard are going to have those security services, but the kind of small claims court where this kind of thing would be heard wouldn't necessarily have all of that.

And, again, I say: I wonder how many more rights a muslim woman has in germany than in egypt. Certainly it's quantifiable.

Well for one thing, she could sue people for insulting here. That's something you couldn't even do here in the U.S. Unfortunately she doesn’t have that right anymore, as she was stabbed to death trying to exercise it. Of course in Egypt you have more rights to make Hitler jokes. So it's a tradeoff. What does any of this have to do with what happened?
posted by delmoi at 11:34 AM on July 11, 2009 [4 favorites]


She's not a martyr.
She's not your martyr.
posted by njbradburn at 11:42 AM on July 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


How does that distinguish hate crimes from other violent crimes?

I'll illustrate by example. In college, my sufi martial arts teacher held training at a community mosque in South Shore (the south side of Chicago). One evening, walking to my bus stop to go back to my dorm 30 miles away in Affluentia, two black teenagers decided to try and mug me. They were armed with pieces of rebar. Believing that if I hurt them that I would never be safe in the neighborhood again, I simply chuckled and as I walked away and they continued to threaten me, we struck up a conversation (as it turns out they were interested in the monks I trained with). Their attempt at robbing me was a crime of opportunity, not a hate crime. I was out of place, it was dark, and I looked like an easy target.

A mile behind my childhood home (in the middle of Rep. Murtha's nowhere Pennsylvania), sits the foundation of a burnt out home in the middle of the woods. It is the remains of the homestead of the first African American family that tried to settle in that area of the county. Their home was destroyed by arson in the late 1950s. This was not a crime of opportunity. This was a hate crime. The only thing that was gained from this crime was the infliction of terror on a family because of some aspect of their identity and the resultant expectation that no black families would again attempt to settle that particular hollow.

This is the best I can do for you.
posted by mrmojoflying at 11:51 AM on July 11, 2009 [6 favorites]



Not every courtroom has metal detectors or even armed guards here in the U.S.


I can think of one rural courthouse where the "security gate" that you check your firearm is the same one you visit to get your picture taken for your conceal-carry license. Depending on who your family is and how well they are respected, you don't need to do either.

And I can guaran'fucking'tee you that they would shoot the brown man charging the witness stand.
posted by mrmojoflying at 11:56 AM on July 11, 2009


idiopath: It is understandable, if you are a great-grandchild of someone who kept slaves, or even a member of the social class that kept slaves a few generations ago, to wish everyone could just let bygones be bygones and start with a clean slate;

I'm afraid I don't understand this. I have ancestors who owned slaves. Why should I be especially eager to "let bygones be bygones and start with a clean slate"? Is it because I'm supposedly more interested in preserving the status quo? Is it because I'm supposed to feel guilty about my four-times great-granddaddy who owned slaves; because I ought to want to cleanse my soul of his wrongdoing? Why am I, in particular, supposed to be interested in "clean slates"?

Going back in my family tree, I've got slave owners, dirt farmers, railroad men, pioneers, scholars, inbred peasants, soldiers, sailors, conscientious objectors, Whigs, Tories, and at least one guy who was burned at the stake. I don't feel the least bit responsible for any of them. Why should the handful of slave owners among them particularly influence my feelings about race relations?
posted by Commander Rachek at 12:16 PM on July 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't here about it on the radio. I don't see it on tv. I didn't see it on spiegel.de. I didn't see it in my local paper.

I only saw it on welt.de and it was, at the time, a small article.
posted by chillmost at 4:06 PM on July 11


Since I get my news exclusivly from the net you are probably right. I also didn't read that guardian article that the OP posted.
It is very typical that this got a polical incident that everyone from politics to the press only began to comment and condemn after it got international attention. Doesn't surprise me at all. See the case of Oury Jalloh who burned to death in a police cell, where the silence was and is deafening, and the only ones who are getting problems are the refugee organisations who try to get this case solved and are therefore harassed by the cops and prosecution.
How many newspaper articles did the punk Schmuddel get after he was stabbed to death by Naziskins three years ago, or what consequences were drawn from the attack of 300 so called Autonomous Nationalists on the 1.Mai demonstration in Dortmund other than the usual lip-service.

In my eyes the Christian Democrats, who regularly participate in anti-mosque demonstrations are the enablers of this violence, as are the cops with their wide-spread racist profiling of everyone who doesn't look as white as the average german. It's no wonder to me that the numbers of people who apply for a german citicenship have been going down for years, and the emigration from germany now exceeds the immigration to it.
posted by kolophon at 12:18 PM on July 11, 2009


In other news, there was another attempted murder in Berlin Spandau yesterday, where a mob of 15-20 young germans attacked two men who happened to be black, kicked them down and stabbed them repeatedly with knifes. One of the victims is still in a life-threatening condition and didn't wake up again yet.
posted by kolophon at 12:31 PM on July 11, 2009


.
posted by heeeraldo at 12:44 PM on July 11, 2009


But dancestoblue, I thought you loved women wearing kitchen drapes?

....and all the broads dancing around him wearing 1960s kitchen drapes -- how often I've wished for that very thing in my own life! What guy does not dream of that?

posted by lazaruslong at 12:51 PM on July 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


Personally, I thank DancesToBlue for the comment, because it's quite illuminating - this is a person that appears to be kind and thoughtful in most other areas, and then bam, comes out with something like this.

I would suggest, DtB, that you probably have no personal experience in any of the communities that you claim are refusing to assimilate? All of the anger you have about this, maybe, comes from brief "news" stories, usually worded to get readers riled up ? (for example, pretty much anything that Daniel Pipes has ever written on his blog)

If it interests you, you should take the time to do more reading and research - there are problems, yes, but they're not nearly as one-sided as some would have you believe.
posted by HopperFan at 12:54 PM on July 11, 2009


Commander Rachek:

It seems like most of the folks saying we should just get over the whole slavery thing are the folks who don't have slaves in their recent family history.
Here is a quote from a summary of a study on class mobility:
Intergenerational mobility in the United States is lower than in France, Germany, Sweden, Canada, Finland, Norway and Denmark. Among high-income countries for which comparable estimates are available, only the United Kingdom had a lower rate of mobility than the United States.
How rich your great-grandfather was is a very good predictor of how rich you will be, in this country. We can't expect the consequences of slavery to just disappear, when the long term economic consequences will take a significant number of generations to dissipate. Not to mention, of course, the economic and social impact of continued racism. Also of note, in the above mentioned study, is that rates of class mobility are even lower for black Americans then they are for the population as a whole.
posted by idiopath at 12:55 PM on July 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


Are you saying that you're supposed to give up your native culture and religion just because you moved?

Should the people in the area you moved to have to change their laws, culture, social services etc... just because you moved? It seems to me (an outsider) that the EU nations, with the possible exception of France, have bent over backwards to accommodate immigrants, especially those from the "Muslim world".
posted by MikeMc at 12:57 PM on July 11, 2009


Should the people in the area you moved to have to change their laws, culture, social services etc... just because you moved? It seems to me (an outsider) that the EU nations, with the possible exception of France, have bent over backwards to accommodate immigrants, especially those from the "Muslim world".
posted by MikeMc at 3:57 PM on July 11 [+] [!]


Of course not! Just slaughter the indigenous people and then you are relieved of the inconvenience of being tolerant.
posted by lazaruslong at 1:04 PM on July 11, 2009


It seems to me (an outsider) that the EU nations, with the possible exception of France, have bent over backwards to accommodate immigrants, especially those from the "Muslim world".
posted by MikeMc at 3:57 PM on July 11 [+] [!]


No, they haven't. For instance, as noted above, the Dutch have just passed a law expecting immigrants to learn Dutch before they can join their family members in the Netherlands (including husbands and wives), yet have explicitly excluded people from first world definitely not Dutch-speaking places like Canada or Japan or Souuth Korea. So that means that I, an mono-lingual anglo-phone, could happily emmigrate to the Netherlands to join my spouse without learning Dutch, without ever having to learn Dutch. But any family members from countries like Turkey or Morrocco (the largest current immigrant communities) will be separated that whole time.

Germany has already had an instance of banning the hijab from a school; it took a court decision to throw that down. It should never have even come to court in a truly open and liberal society.
posted by jb at 1:08 PM on July 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


Hey, if you watch FoxNews, I can see how you might have these views.

I mean, it's certainly not possible that major media could espouse the idea that a society can be kept "pure" by not marrying other "species" and "ethnics" like the Finns and Swedes have done.

Right?

Oh. Paging Brian Kilmeade.
posted by lazaruslong at 1:14 PM on July 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


These countries aren't changing their laws to accomodate immigrants - they are changing their laws to discriminate against immigrants.

No one is saying that anyone else has to follow immigrant custom or practice, only that they should be allowed to.

All societies with immigrants (which would be ALL societies) have to have a conversation about what they feel are sina qua non about their society - like that our consent laws mean that any marriage without full consent of both people is invalid, or that marriages under certain ages is child abuse (which covers the whole polygamous Mormon issue).

But so often, people are hypocritical/inconsistent. Like how some don't like the hijab/burqua because it's a symbol of female oppression and lack of choice, so they oppress women and take away their choice by banning either. They don't talk about doing things like improving social services such that immgrants, male and female, have strong language skills and knowledge of their rights within their new society - they just worry about bits of cloth that are very pretty and which the women should have every right to wear in an open and liberal society.
posted by jb at 1:17 PM on July 11, 2009 [4 favorites]


small_ruminant: "It's just weird when, as an anonymous driver, your sole declaration to the world is contempt for someone else's belief system. "

The FSM isn't a declaration of contempt for someone else's belief system. It's a declaration of contempt of that vocal, annoying, domineering belief system's attempt, a system that is not identical with Christianity regardless with how much everyone conflates the two.... Wait, I'll start again.

It's a declaration of contempt for that fringe belief system's attempt to take over the U.S. educational system in order to better propagate its views, using that system's own arguments against it.

There, are we done? Derail over.
posted by JHarris at 1:19 PM on July 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Of course not! Just slaughter the indigenous people and then you are relieved of the inconvenience of being tolerant.

So...you're saying Muslim immigrants should slaughter the native Danes? It was the Danes dancestoblue was referring to wasn't it?
posted by MikeMc at 1:21 PM on July 11, 2009


Some day, the planet will be free of religion-inspired violence.

Look, the Irish are working towards that. They've made blasphemy illegal so if you can't say do to offend, how ya going to get stabbed or shot?
posted by rough ashlar at 1:23 PM on July 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hmm. There seems to be a lot of misguided "WTF GERMANY!?!" in this thread.

First, this was in the news in Germany. It wasn't all over the news like Michael Jackson's death was, but I saw it in the only two news sources I bother to read here daily, and I'm lazy. It is definitely all over the place today thanks to the protests.

Second, AFAIK, Muslim women in Germany have all the same rights as Christian, Jewish, or [insert religion here] women in Germany have. To the point, it is clearly illegal to stab a woman to death.

Third, there is definitely racism in Germany. Whether there is more here or back home I have not been able to divine. Anecdotally, I hear the same crap here as I did in the US, except instead of it being aimed at the Mexicans and African-Americans it is aimed mostly at the Turkish, Africans, and Eastern Europeans. It's a problem in both countries.

Fourth, saying "WTF GERMANY!?!" because some racist scumbag stabbed a woman here is kind of like saying "WTF AMERICA!?!" when some racist scumbag stabs some woman there. "WTF" indeed, but "WTF SCUMBAG!?!"
posted by moonbiter at 1:31 PM on July 11, 2009 [4 favorites]


The husband received most of his injuries from the guy who killed his wife, and not the police officer, who probably wasn't even in the courtroom when the attack began:
Her husband, also an Egyptian, was severely wounded when he rushed to her aid. Already severely wounded due to the stabbing, he was shot purposely in the leg by a German policeman, according to the Dresden state's attorney's office. [According to the report,] the officer had rushed to help, misunderstood the situation and, in the face of the melee, mixed up victim and attacker. —Süddeutsche Zeitung
But don't let that stop anyone from claiming that the policeman is a racist.
posted by oaf at 1:32 PM on July 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


If it's any help I doubt the guys in Egypt using this to bolster their cause really bother distinguishing between Germans, Europeans or Americans when it comes to their enemies list.
posted by Artw at 1:44 PM on July 11, 2009


I don't consider Germany exceptional. It blows my mind a little bit, though, that anyone would think that just because hatred and bigotry wasn't exceptional, that meant that it didn't need to be addressed.

I never said it shouldn't be addressed, but I don't think that addressing it at the level of the German state is correct. It was an individual who committed this act, not a group nor an institution, and he did so because of a prevailing Islamophobic discourse throughout the West. I don't know enough about the individual to judge or even guess all his political connections, but there's a distinction in causes and origin to be drawn between Islamophobia alone and the more complex racism of European parties like the NPD or BNP. Blaming Germany and Germans for this event may be far wide of the mark.

Angry mourners at the funeral in Alexandria accused Germany of racism, shouting slogans such as "Germans are the enemies of God"...
posted by Sova at 1:46 PM on July 11, 2009


...the officer had rushed to help, misunderstood the situation and, in the face of the melee, mixed up victim and attacker

So one guy has a knife, the other guy is cut up, and the one cut up is the attacker?

Totally understandable mistake. What was I thinking?!? Carry on.
posted by yeloson at 1:49 PM on July 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


So one guy has a knife, the other guy is cut up, and the one cut up is the attacker?

I'm sure this was all completely visible to the policeman, because there were no other people or objects in the courtroom, and an array of cameras or mirrors so that he could see the two men from every angle.
posted by oaf at 2:02 PM on July 11, 2009


I'm hardly a big cop defender, but I really don't think the cop shot him because he's racist. That could obviously be a confusing, messy situation. A police officer who's main job is to sit around at some po-dunk civil court is not going to be some highly trained SWAT type guy expecting to bust up knife fights at the drop of the hat.

Clearly the guy was insane. The fact that that 88 year old Neo-Nazi shot up the holocaust museum doesn't mean the U.S. is some horribly antisemitic place, for example.
posted by delmoi at 2:04 PM on July 11, 2009


Angry mourners at the funeral in Alexandria accused Germany of racism, shouting slogans such as "Germans are the enemies of God"...

Unfortunately the killer wasn't even German, but hey, those Europeans all look alike anyway amirite? Why let the facts get in the way of a good protest? What do the protesters want actually? Are they afraid the German government will let the killer walk? The man will be prosecuted for murder, what more can the government do?
posted by MikeMc at 2:04 PM on July 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


How rich your great-grandfather was is a very good predictor of how rich you will be, in this country. We can't expect the consequences of slavery to just disappear, when the long term economic consequences will take a significant number of generations to dissipate. Not to mention, of course, the economic and social impact of continued racism. Also of note, in the above mentioned study, is that rates of class mobility are even lower for black Americans then they are for the population as a whole.

I dig all that. What irritated me was the idea that I'm supposed to feel guilty about my asshole ancestors. When you said it's "understandable" that a descendant of slave owners would be especially desirous of a "clean slate" when it comes to race relations, I read that to mean you're assuming I (as a descendant of slave owners) have marks on my slate to begin with.

I'm totally sympathetic to black Americans who feel like they've been given a raw deal; a lot of them have, through no fault of their own. Thing is, it's not my fault either. It's a rotten situation, but it's not the fault of any living individual, and I dislike it when people insinuate otherwise.

So, in that sense I guess I am for "just getting over slavery." It's the a root of the problem, but it's no longer the problem. Every American who has bought or sold a slave is long since dead. I feel confident we can recognize and correct slavery's long lasting effects without demanding that anyone atone for it. Let's focus on actually reducing racism and ironing out social iniquities rather than trying to make each other feel guilty.
posted by Commander Rachek at 2:09 PM on July 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm totally sympathetic to black Americans who feel like they've been given a raw deal; a lot of them have, through no fault of their own. Thing is, it's not my fault either. It's a rotten situation, but it's not the fault of any living individual, and I dislike it when people insinuate otherwise.

I disagree with your assertion that the raw deal given to minorities in America is not the fault of any living individual. Can you back that up?
posted by lazaruslong at 2:15 PM on July 11, 2009


Anecdotally, I hear the same crap here as I did in the US, except instead of it being aimed at the Mexicans and African-Americans it is aimed mostly at the Turkish, Africans, and Eastern Europeans. It's a problem in both countries.

Yes, well, there is at least one significant difference. If you are born in the United States you are an American citizen no matter who you are, what you look like, or where your parents were from.

Germany (and many countries) on the other hand has no problem with a permanent underclass of non-citizens, many of whom may have been in the country for generations. But they are, you know, kind of brownish and so not proper German material.
posted by Justinian at 2:19 PM on July 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


keep your religious beliefs in your church,temple,tent,home,wherever. in public obey the rules, or go home.

So I guess wearing crucifixes is out? Or yarmulkes?
posted by etaoin at 2:25 PM on July 11, 2009


The attacker was a german citizen, a so called "Russland-Deutscher" or "Spätaussiedler", someone of the german minority in Russia, 4th generation of germans who migrated to russia and returned to germany after the unification and are generally considered to be the best "integrated" among the minorities, (which in the report i read was judged through inter-marriage rates) though they themselves feature prominently in the list of nazi murder victims of the last 20 years i linked to above.
posted by kolophon at 2:30 PM on July 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Germany (and many countries) on the other hand has no problem with a permanent underclass of non-citizens, many of whom may have been in the country for generations. But they are, you know, kind of brownish and so not proper German material.

A quick Googling seems to indicate that one can apply for German citizenship after being a permanent resident for 8 years, being able speak German and support oneself without resorting to welfare.

From 1995 to 2004, 1,278,424 foreigners have obtained German citizenship by naturalization (The largest group being Turks, the second largest Iranians).

But I'm sure you're right and that wiki article is complete bullshit written by secret Nazis.
posted by MikeMc at 2:37 PM on July 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I disagree with your assertion that the raw deal given to minorities in America is not the fault of any living individual. Can you back that up?

No, I can't. That was poor wording on my part. There are, of course, oodles of racists and classists of various stripes that do their darndest to make sure poor minorities stay poor. All I meant was that it annoys me when people try to assign blame for the origins of the situation to living people, as though everybody was doing just fine up until fifty years ago. We've had a poor, largely minority underclass for longer than any individual in this country has been alive. I feel that attempting to maintain the status quo, while just as repugnant, is ultimately different from setting up and establishing a society in which a poor, black underclass is an inevitability, as happened in the US just after the Civil War.
posted by Commander Rachek at 2:41 PM on July 11, 2009


MikeMc: Did you read more deeply? Until less than a decade ago German citizenship was based on "jus sanguinis" which, as you might guess from the name, means that citizenship is based on your bloodline and not where you were born. It's true that Germany passed laws reforming this somewhat less than a decade ago but even now you have to jump through hoops such as being able to "prove" that you will be a productive citizen and not need welfare, hoops which are easily used to discriminate against suspect groups.

If you want to argue that the citizenship laws aren't as incredibly and blatantly racist as they were up to eight years ago well, okay, that's probably true.
posted by Justinian at 2:46 PM on July 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


But don't let that stop anyone from claiming that the policeman is a racist.

I didn't think the police was racist, I thought he was inept, or a product of poor training and policy. You don't arm officers and then allow them to use the weapon, then accept an "Oopsies!" when they make a mistake. There has to be better safeguards to make sure that armed officers understand the situation before firing. It might take an extra second, but it will prevent shooting a victim instead of the attacker.
posted by necessitas at 2:48 PM on July 11, 2009


To be clear, and as I said many posts above, I don't think what the police did overshadows the horrible incident. I just hope it's not ignored and/or swept under the rug due to focus on the larger issues. It is a separate issue, but it is a training issue and one that really should be addressed.
posted by necessitas at 2:49 PM on July 11, 2009


No, I can't. That was poor wording on my part. There are, of course, oodles of racists and classists of various stripes that do their darndest to make sure poor minorities stay poor. All I meant was that it annoys me when people try to assign blame for the origins of the situation to living people, as though everybody was doing just fine up until fifty years ago. We've had a poor, largely minority underclass for longer than any individual in this country has been alive. I feel that attempting to maintain the status quo, while just as repugnant, is ultimately different from setting up and establishing a society in which a poor, black underclass is an inevitability, as happened in the US just after the Civil War.

I think I knew what you meant to say, just wanted to make sure you were in earnest and not trolling.

I want to be sure here, but when you say the origin of the situation, I am going to assume you are referring to the inital injustice against blacks in America in the form of slavery.

I think, and I may be alone here, that it would be useful and important to assert that the origin of blacks as an underclass is the result of racism, and not slavery. Slavery is a symptom of racism, as was the inability of blacks to own property or vote or attend the same schools or drink from the same fountains, et cetera.

The raw deal given to blacks is racism on the part of whites. Slavery is a horrible byproduct of that racism. Racism and the continued supression of minorities (in today's society it seems to be Muslisms and Gays) is everyone's problem.
posted by lazaruslong at 2:52 PM on July 11, 2009


I feel that attempting to maintain the status quo, while just as repugnant, is ultimately different from setting up and establishing a society in which a poor, black underclass is an inevitability, as happened in the US just after the Civil War.

I should have responded to this as well. I think you are absolutely right, there is certainly a gradient level of evilness inherent in the difference in those two things.
posted by lazaruslong at 2:59 PM on July 11, 2009


Until less than a decade ago German citizenship was based on "jus sanguinis" which, as you might guess from the name, means that citizenship is based on your bloodline and not where you were born.

But Germany has responded to the criticisms of it's citizenship policies in a positive manner. You can argue what they've done is too little, too late but in reality they were under no obligation to do anything at all. That's really the crux of the issue: what are a country's obligations to immigrants?
posted by MikeMc at 3:12 PM on July 11, 2009


kitchen drapes

So I'm clear, are all of these kitchen drapes, or just some of them?

NY fashion model - silk scarf, or drapes?
Norwegian costume - traditional dress, or drapes?
Portuguese soccer fan - kerchief with her team's logo to show support, or drapes?
Cancer victim - drapes?
First Lady visiting the Pope - respect for religious traditions, or drapes?
posted by Houstonian at 3:13 PM on July 11, 2009 [6 favorites]


This is a tragedy, and a travesty of justice. I hope they lock that bastard up, and throw away the key.

Also, I cannot exaggerate how relieved I am that, this once, the ugly, disgusting, racist, Islamaphobic moron wasn't a Yankee.

.
posted by paisley henosis at 3:26 PM on July 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


My favorite part of every serious Metafilter discussion is when someone comes in and lets us all know that they were questioning the very goodness of Metafilter's quality lately and that someONE's stupid comment/post/SLYT has proven it to them in spades. I mean, yeah, that was probably one of the dumbest, most racist ignorant things I've ever read (kitchen drapes), but seriously, Mefi is getting worse? How is that possible? It should only be able to be better since the ability to post images in-thread disappeared. We can only go up from there, right?

I would like a Mefi post or a Metatalk post of every time somebody has declared that Metafilter has reached a new epic low. That would be awesome. How many here are guilty of that? If I wasn't lazy/high/watching Ghostbusters II (no, for real this time) I'd make the post myself and embarrass all/most/at least 100 of you.
posted by Bageena at 4:24 PM on July 11, 2009


Also, in regards to this post, WTF Germany?! For real? What kind of shitty operation have you got running there? This is one of the most tragic stories I've ever read. I can't believe that, on top of letting the stabbing happen, the cops shot her husband. My jaw is still on the floor.
posted by Bageena at 4:27 PM on July 11, 2009


>My favorite part of every serious Metafilter discussion is when someone comes in and lets us all know that they were questioning the very goodness of Metafilter's quality lately

That complaint was a one-line epilogue to my comment.

Meanwhile, you devoted eight lines to bitching about it. Thank you for showing us the way toward more substantive dialogue!
posted by ixohoxi at 5:01 PM on July 11, 2009


Wait guys, hold up. I think I have the solution to hate crimes right here in my knapsack....

It's Saturday night, my closest old friend just flew in today from Yonkers, and I am going to open this nicely chilled bottle of Abita Jockamo IPA and pour it into a frosty mug and forget all about MetaFilter pissing contests for a bit. Toodles!
posted by BitterOldPunk at 5:25 PM on July 11, 2009


Also, in regards to this post, WTF Germany?! For real? What kind of shitty operation have you got running there? This is one of the most tragic stories I've ever read. I can't believe that, on top of letting the stabbing happen, the cops shot her husband. My jaw is still on the floor.

You had better pick your jaw up. Did you know that in America people often kill other people over the colour of their clothing? Daily, this sort of thing happens.

It's not as strange as a wingnut killing a woman who sued the shit out of him in court, of course.
posted by cmonkey at 5:40 PM on July 11, 2009


Every American who has bought or sold a slave is long since dead.

You are so utterly, abysmally ignorantly wrong. Many who profited by slavery still live.

Slavery, in for the form of Slavery By Another Name lasted until the Second World War and was ended only when it would have provided a propagranda coup for the Nazis to have it continue. In its defacto form, it lingers yet. And not only their children but indeed some of the very men who directly profited from this latter day form of the peculiar institution still are alive.

And it was slavery:
On March 30, 1908, Green Cottenham was arrested by the sheriff of Shelby County, Alabama, and charged with ''vagrancy.'' Cottenham had committed no true crime. Vagrancy, the offense of a person not being able to prove at a given moment that he or she is employed, was a new and flimsy concoction dredged up from legal obscurity at the end of the nineteenth century by the state legislatures of Alabama and other southern states. It was capriciously enforced by local sheriffs and constables, adjudicated by mayors and notaries public, recorded haphazardly or not at all in court records, and, most tellingly in a time of massive unemployment among all southern men, was reserved almost exclusively for black men. Cottenham’s offense was blackness.

After three days behind bars, twenty-two-year-old Cottenham was found guilty in a swift appearance before the county judge and immediately sentenced to a thirty-day term of hard labor. Unable to pay the array of fees assessed on every prisoner--fees to the sheriff, the deputy, the court clerk, the witnesses--Cottenham’s sentence was extended to nearly a year of hard labor.

The next day, Cottenham, the youngest of nine children born to former slaves in an adjoining county, was sold. Under a standing arrangement between the county and a vast subsidiary of the industrial titan of the North--U.S. Steel Corporation--the sheriff turned the young man over to the company for the duration of his sentence. In return, the subsidiary, Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad Company, gave the county $12 a month to pay off Cottenham’s fine and fees. What the company’s managers did with Cottenham, and thousands of other black men they purchased from sheriffs across Alabama, was entirely up to them.

A few hours later, the company plunged Cottenham into the darkness of a mine called Slope No. 12--one shaft in a vast subterranean labyrinth on the edge of Birmingham known as the Pratt Mines. There, he was chained inside a long wooden barrack at night and required to spend nearly every waking hour digging and loading coal. His required daily ''task'' was to remove eight tons of coal from the mine. Cottenham was subject to the whip for failure to dig the requisite amount, at risk of physical torture for disobedience, and vulnerable to the sexual predations of other miners— many of whom already had passed years or decades in their own chthonian confinement. The lightless catacombs of black rock, packed with hundreds of desperate men slick with sweat and coated in pulverized coal, must have exceeded any vision of hell a boy born in the countryside of Alabama--even a child of slaves--could have ever imagined.

Waves of disease ripped through the population. In the month before Cottenham arrived at the prison mine, pneumonia and tuberculosis sickened dozens. Within his first four weeks, six died. Before the year was over, almost sixty men forced into Slope 12 were dead of disease, accidents, or homicide.

Most of the broken bodies, along with hundreds of others before and after, were dumped into shallow graves scattered among the refuse of the mine.

Others were incinerated in nearby ovens used to blast millions of tons of coal brought to the surface into coke—the carbon-rich fuel essential to U.S. Steel’s production of iron. Forty-five years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freeing American slaves, Green Cottenham and more than a thousand other black men toiled under the lash at Slope 12.

Imprisoned in what was then the most advanced city of the South, guarded by whipping bosses employed by the most iconic example of the modern corporation emerging in the gilded North, they were slaves in all but name.

Almost a century later, on an overgrown hillside five miles from the bustling downtown of contemporary Birmingham, I found my way to one of the only tangible relics of what Green Cottenham endured. The ground was all but completely obscured by the dense thicket. But beneath the undergrowth of privet, the faint outlines of hundreds upon hundreds of oval depressions still marked the land. Spread in haphazard rows across the forest floor, these were sunken graves of the dead from nearby prison mines once operated by U.S. Steel. Here and there, antediluvian headstones jutted from the foliage. No signs marked the place. No paths led to it...
Like the song says, Look away, look away....
posted by y2karl at 7:04 PM on July 11, 2009 [9 favorites]


And I give blacks/Muslims/etc. enough credit to think they don't just feel threatened by hate crimes; I assume they're like me and most people in that they're mostly interested in living in an area with less violence rather than more violence.

I've been living in NYC for 5 years. There are parts of this city I avoid religiously. I recently met someone who grew up in Bensonhurst. To which I replied "I know Brooklyn pretty well,and I'm not even sure where that is." And then I told her the kinda funny, kinda sad story about how a couple of years ago I saw an ad on craigslist for a tv I was looking to buy, for a pretty good price. The listing was in Bensonhurst. I passed.

Yusuf Hawkins was killed 20 years ago, and I lived clear on the other side of the country at the time. Through all that time and all that distance, the message was loud and clear.

"your kind aren't welcome here"

And my friend assured me that things had changed, and I'm sure they have. I might even visit Bensonhurst, just to get over my fear of it. But don't tell me there's no such thing as a hate crime.
posted by billyfleetwood at 9:36 PM on July 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


also here's a pic of our First Lady wearing some "kitchen drapes" on her head while visiting some Islamic Ayatollah or something...

Oh...I mean The Pope. The Catholic pope, in case you were wondering. Because for reasons that I have yet to discern, every single religion we've come up with has some kinda rule about putting doilies on your head.
posted by billyfleetwood at 10:01 PM on July 11, 2009


...every single religion we've come up with has some kinda rule about putting doilies on your head.

Sometimes literally.

Honestly, sometimes it's out of respect for sacred places--part of why women wear hats in churches, part of why Jewish men wear kippot. Part of it is sociological identification. Part of it can be part of taking on a role--i.e. in shamanistic practices. Part of it is modesty--that one should somehow limit the physical in order to appreciate the spiritual, or for modesty in the sexual sense. [/religiousstudiesstudent]

Let women cover their heads however they wish--wigs, hijabs, hats, tiaras, doilies, teichels--and deal with the fact that partial to full assimilation often happens within a couple of generations. This woman should never have been killed, especially for something that affects no one but herself,* and it is immensely sad.

*Yeah, he probably killed her because she was bringing him to court, but I think the hijab set it all off, I truly do.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 11:35 PM on July 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


George Carlin on head coverings and religion.
posted by hippybear at 12:39 AM on July 12, 2009


I'm sure this was all completely visible to the policeman, because there were no other people or objects in the courtroom, and an array of cameras or mirrors so that he could see the two men from every angle.

Either the cop identified his target before shooting, or he didn't identify his target before shooting in a courtroom full of people. Either way it indicates a level of poor judgment to a degree that he shouldn't be holding a gun.
posted by yeloson at 2:40 AM on July 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


When I don't know who my target is, I'll just shoot the one with the most blood on him, or the darker skin, or another arbitrary determiner, because, thank God, people on MetaFilter will certainly rush to my defense.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:33 AM on July 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Either the cop identified his target before shooting, or he didn't identify his target before shooting in a courtroom full of people. Either way it indicates a level of poor judgment to a degree that he shouldn't be holding a gun.

Bullshit. If he'd held his fire for a few seconds, and the attacker had stabbed the husband a few more times and killed him, you'd say it was the policeman's fault that he died. You came to your conclusion without any evidence, and are discarding or explaining away any evidence that disagrees with your preconceived notion of what happened.

According to the article, he hit exactly where he aimed—the leg of one of the two men who had been involved in hand-to-hand combat from the time he entered the room. Unless you can present evidence that he was firing recklessly, please stop blaming him for doing his job.
posted by oaf at 8:08 AM on July 12, 2009


According to the article, he hit exactly where he aimed—the leg of one of the two men who had been involved in hand-to-hand combat from the time he entered the room. Unless you can present evidence that he was firing recklessly, please stop blaming him for doing his job.

Shooting the victim of a murderous attack is not generally considered exemplary police work, you know.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:05 PM on July 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Unless you can present evidence that he was firing recklessly, please stop blaming him for doing his job.

He shot a victim, which strikes me as being self-obviously evidence of recklessness. Obviously you demand some further proof, so I must ask: What would satisfy your requirements?
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:34 PM on July 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


He shot a victim, which strikes me as being self-obviously evidence of recklessness.

He shot one of two men who were at arm's length from each other, if that far apart. He appears to have arrived after the fight between the two men began and probably couldn't tell who instigated it. But I'm sure that the attacker, if asked politely, would have quit stabbing the husband for a moment and explained the situation truthfully just so the policeman could be 100% sure who started it.

The policeman would have been more likely to kill the husband if he'd used a taser.
posted by oaf at 1:50 PM on July 12, 2009


...please stop blaming him for doing his job.

Part of a policeman's job, is to NOT use lethal force until identifying when and where it's necessary.

I love the false binary here: either he has to shoot or do nothing.

Because there's no such thing as night-sticks. Because there's no such thing as warning shots. Because police aren't supposed to be trained to run into fucked up altercations.

Individual racism is a man shooting an innocent man. Institutionalized racism is everyone who comes to protect the shooter.
posted by yeloson at 2:15 PM on July 12, 2009


I'm still not following, Oaf. Are you saying that, when a cop arrives at a fight, and he sees there has been a stabbing, just shooting either one of the two men is a good policework? Can you point out an actual example of this being actual police policy?
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:10 PM on July 12, 2009


Congratulations MetaFilter. A tragedy and a potentially constructive discussion on the state of multiculturalism, integration, media and institutional racism and post-war collective guilt in Germany has descended into another round of point-scoring, finger-pointing and sweeping generalisations.

Europeans are all racist and xenophobic yeah, and don't they just smell awful? Americans are fascinated with guns and violence and are also racist yeah, have you seen what they eat?

I think I have just thrown up into my own navel after gazing into it too long
posted by JustAsItSounds at 10:10 PM on July 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Problems with the Lone Wolf idea and other commentary from Muslimah Media Watch, a muslim women's media watchdog site.
posted by BinGregory at 10:48 PM on July 12, 2009


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