• Germany edition
 
Tragedy draws Turkish 'Men Against Violence'
Photo: DPA

Tragedy draws Turkish 'Men Against Violence'

Published: 06 Jun 2012 16:02 GMT+02:00
Updated: 06 Jun 2012 16:02 GMT+02:00

An anonymous courtyard in the Kreuzberg district was filled on Tuesday evening with a mix of mourners and demonstrators – it was here that Orhan S. threw parts of his wife Semanur’s body after killing her on the roof.

Those gathered lit candles and laid flowers on the ground in remembrance, but the talk was also of prevention. Many of the people there were wearing T-shirts bearing the slogan "Men Against Violence" above the image of a bushy moustache.

“Unemployment, drugs, poverty, they’re leading people to depression and violence,” said Ali Baba, 51, who helped organise the gathering. He works with community group Aufbruch Neukölln! - “Neukölln Awake!” which runs projects to try to prevent and stop domestic violence, as well as working with victims.

The horrors which took place on the roof and the attention they grabbed across the country have inadvertently given frustrated men from Germany’s migrant community a box on which to stand and decry an all too often hidden pandemic.

Baba has been working with Aufbruch Neukölln! for the past six years, helping men to fight drug addiction and raising awareness and rejection of domestic abuse.

Wider impact on the community

He, like others who turned up that evening, is concerned by the wider impact that Semanur’s killing has on the city’s Muslim and migrant people.

“We know that he was shouting 'Allahu Akbar' from the balcony, which means God is great in Arabic,” said Baba. “But what he did was nothing to do with God, Islam forbids murder and this has to be understood.”

Mourners had laid large photos of Semanur on the ground along with the candles and flowers – and hand-written placards reading, “Never turn away from help” and “We are shocked by so much violence”.

Heval K. told The Local that he had known the 32-year-old suspect Orhan S. loosely for the past 20 years. They had mixed in the same social circles. “I saw him about two weeks ago, he looked ill, something was clearly wrong.”

Indeed Orhan S. was known to have had problems with depression and schizophrenic episodes and is now being held in a psychiatric institute.

’It was about mental illness, not Islam’

“That is what this was about, mental illness, not Islam,” the 26-year-old added. An animated young Kurd, he explained that he was here “out of solidarity” and to help spread the word that domestic abuse is not a problem confined to Berlin's immigrant circles.

“It's a problem everywhere, the difference is that the German media make a much bigger deal out of it when they can connect it to Muslims,” he said. His friend nodded beside him. “The media desperately needs to be more objective.”

He, like Baba, believes that raising awareness about domestic abuse within Germany’s migrant communities could help not only them, but encourage German men to speak out too and even aid relations between different groups.

“Mixing with Germans is hard; girls have turned me down before because they think I could be violent. And when a man throws a woman's head off a balcony this only serves to widen the divide.”

Pointing to the group of Turkish pre-teens that have gathered behind him – all wearing red and green “Men Against Violence” T-shirts, Heval said, “We don't want young people growing up in this kind of atmosphere. The boys nod, the youngest of the group chews on sweets being handed out by one of the women present.

“We just want to prove that not all of us are like this, and the sheer cruelty that happened here has left us truly saddened,” he added.

Anger at the violence and its circumstances

Groups of men from Aufbruch Neukölln! young and old, of both German and migrant descent stand side by side for photos. Neighbours greet each other with hugs. The atmosphere seemed to contain a certain subdued anger – for what had happened in this case, and the circumstances surrounding it.

Away from the crowd, 43-year-old Duran Korkmaz surveyed the scene. Speaking in perfect English he lamented the high unemployment and poverty levels in Berlin.

“Mental illness is not a taboo in the Turkish community, but I think the problem is more of a class thing,” he said.

“No matter where you come from I believe that if you are in a lower social class, depression has more of a stigma.”

Korkmaz, a dentist, is one of the Aufbruch Neukölln! volunteers running a helpline for Turkish men struggling with violent urges. “We try to de-escalate the situation,” he said.

The three placards on the floor appeared to offer a quiet message to the women present – have the strength to speak out against domestic abuse and try to prevent the fate of Semanur S. from being repeated.

Jessica Ware (jessica.ware@thelocal.de)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

17:14 June 6, 2012 by Edin
According to the Bundeskriminalamt in 2011 there where exactly:

-2.174 murders

-7.539 rape cases

-139.091 Serious assault cases

-236.478 Drug cases.....etc.

Now can someone explain me how come only those which are even remotely related to Muslims and Islam get such exposure in German media and especially The Local??? Is one lunatic so much more important than any other of those 2174 just for shouting AllahuAkbar???

The Local editors, would you please be so king to enlighten me?
18:40 June 6, 2012 by Erwin Mahnke
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
19:04 June 6, 2012 by joysonabraham
@Edin

Look inwards and try to correct yourself rather than finding solace in what others did wrong or what others saw more. when there is no more of such stuff people won't see anything anymore and peace.
19:38 June 6, 2012 by Englishted
¦#39;It was about mental illness, not Islam¦#39;

Totally agree ,sad case and I hope the children recover and find happiness in the rest of their lives.
19:41 June 6, 2012 by Jerr-Berlin
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
20:46 June 6, 2012 by Leo Strauss
All of this is just off the hook. This cat and the Canadian porn star. Human life seems to have very little value anymore. Is the Psychopathy of our leaders trickling down into the street and unleashing this? Ever read `American Psycho`? Its much better than the movie. The killer wants to be caught and is crying out for recognition the whole time but everyone else is just too self-absorbed. Maybe we aren`t listening. Is anyone still freaked out by these acts?

Was it always like this?

Gonna go push some heavy German Möbel up against my door. :(
17:27 June 8, 2012 by tadchem
The flip side of this is that there are societies in which this kind of behaviour is tolerated, and parhaps to some extent encouraged. Granted, most of those societies collapsed when 'literacy' was introduced, but not all of them. Some current 'societies' still discourage literacy among women to keep them away from ideas that might threaten the status quo - ideas such as the one that 'honor killings' are wrong.
00:19 June 9, 2012 by schmuck281
Ali Baba? Ali Baba?

Are you kidding me?
13:39 June 9, 2012 by AlexR
Tragedy draws Turkish 'Men Against Violence'

Better late than never.
15:19 June 9, 2012 by Bruno53
Unemployment or belonging to some religion is NO excuse for ugly crimes like this. Punish this guy NOW!
06:48 June 10, 2012 by soros
Leo Strauss asked "Was it always like this?" concerning the incidents of violence in the news: the answer is that it was far worse throughout history. And don't forget 1945 with the mass rapes and murders of women in Berlin by the advancing Russian Army. Yes, it was like this. But, according to prof. Steven Pinker, in the West and in America life has become less violent, even with domestic violence,than ever before as far as the records indicate. We needn't be so pessimistic.
18:01 June 10, 2012 by Eagle in NYC
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
23:15 June 10, 2012 by sirona
@Eagle in NYC, I do not know exactly where you get your information but I'd say that it's definitely not from the so-called "moderate" Muslims. First of all, there are innumerable interpretations of any religious teaching in Islam. There are as many different believes regarding how you should live your life or what the Qur'an is talking about as there are Muslims.

Secondly, the Qur'an does mention that killing humans is a terrible sin in quite a number of different passages as well as stating that murder of a human is equivalent to the murder of all humanity (5:32). There is also an incredible amount of debate on the literal translation of the passages regarding violence against women in the modern Islamic community. I have read 2 different tafsirs of the Qur'an and still all I remember about actual "violence" in the books are regarding (depending on the translation) what to do when your wife is doing evil things/cheating on you, and the suggestions do not in any way include cut her off into small pieces and go bats**t crazy and throw them out the window. So you can have a look at the "friendly" teachings of Islam and the Qur'an or alternatively, you can focus on the really unfriendly, non-modern parts of a 1400 year old book and blame all the contemporary Muslims for its contents.

Finally, I think if you really read the Qur'an and/or have conversations with more moderate Muslims, you may change your ideas about how the book is just an evil downgrade of all the awesomeness that was in the Bible/Torah. It is, in the end, a different book of a different religion and I, personally, find it to be a much more abstract, less humanized version of the aforementioned religions, and also to be less influenced by the over-simplified paganistic believes. I like that the Qur'an seems to follow in the middle Eastern tradition of mystic religions, which is perhaps the reason why they did not include a list of 10-steps to heaven for the common people.
17:54 June 12, 2012 by DickShawnsDiction
@Edin:

You have a very good point, of course, but what is mere logic and fairness against the overwhelming (and deeply addictive) pleasure of Xenophobia? Also, considering the fact that the gentlemen under discussion was "mentally ill", how can his case be used as a lens through which to view anything other than mental illness? Ah, but that's just logic again, rearing its boring head.

Yes and ask yourself what the "Local" is really all about... is it to bring you "news" or to aid in creating a certain... mood...?
23:21 June 16, 2012 by cliveklg
sirona "I think if you really read the Qur'an and/or have conversations with more moderate Muslims"

Is that code for we'll skip over the passages that are reprehensible?

But then the Bible is no less offensive in many ways.
13:14 November 18, 2012 by roundabout321
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
Today's headlines
German women are still falling short of equality
Still a man's world: women in Germany find it hard to rise as high as Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen. Photo: DPA

German women are still falling short of equality

Women in Germany are still underrepresented in leadership jobs and among professors, a new government report said on Wednesday. They are also paid less and remain unlikely to study science, technology, engineering or mathematics. READ  

The Local List
Five reasons to visit Oktoberfest (five not to)
Photo: DPA

Five reasons to visit Oktoberfest (five not to)

With just over 50 days to go until Munich's Oktoberfest starts, it is time to book your train/plane/horse to the world’s biggest beer festival. Or is it? The Local List looks at five reasons you should be making that trip, and five why you'd better steer clear. READ  

Visa chaos hits Bayern Munich's USA tour
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. Photo: DPA

Visa chaos hits Bayern Munich's USA tour

Bayern Munich boss Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is among the club's staff and players who could not join a week-long tour to the USA on Wednesday because of visa problems. READ  

Dead TV star replies to SPD party invite
German actress Renater Küster with a statue of her late husband Dieter Hildebrandt. Photo: DPA

Dead TV star replies to SPD party invite

The Social Democrats (SPD) accidentally invited a dead TV star to attend its summer party. It got a shock when the veteran presenter replied saying, "I can't make it". READ  

Father killed in 'Cold Water Challenge'
The digger tipped over. Photo: DPA

Father killed in 'Cold Water Challenge'

A father died and five of his friends were injured on Tuesday night in western Germany when a digger fell on top of them during a so-called Cold Water Challenge. READ  

Huge Bavarian crop circle puzzles crowds
Raisting crop circle. Photo: DPA

Huge Bavarian crop circle puzzles crowds

A mysterious crop circle in Bavaria has attracted thousands of visitors since it was spotted in a wheat field last week. READ  

German siblings killed by drunk driver in Austria
Photo: DPA

German siblings killed by drunk driver in Austria

A ten-year-old girl and her 21-year-old brother were killed overnight in a road accident on the A1 motorway in Upper Austria, caused by a drunk driver who was driving on the wrong side of the road. READ  

Merkel: Russia sanctions were 'inevitable'
Merkel warned further sanctions could be imposed against Russia. Photo: DPA

Merkel: Russia sanctions were 'inevitable'

Strong sanctions imposed by the EU against Russia over its role in the Ukraine crisis were “inevitable”, Chancellor Angela Merkel claimed on Tuesday night, despite Germany's initial reluctance to get tough on President Vladimir Putin. READ  

Boy's body found in US Ramstein plane
A C-130J at Ramstein air base. Photo: DPA

Boy's body found in US Ramstein plane

The body of an adolescent boy was found in a wheel well of a US military cargo plane after the aircraft landed at Ramstein Air Base in Germany over the weekend, the Pentagon said on Tuesday. READ  

Have Your Say
Should Germany legalize cannabis?
Photo: DPA

Should Germany legalize cannabis?

A New York Times editorial on Sunday called for the US to drop its ban on marijuana, calling the strongly-worded law a "laughing stock". Should Germany follow the US states of Colorado and Washington and legalize recreational use of the drug? READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Analysis & Opinion
Have Your Say: Should Germany legalize cannabis?
Photo: DPA
Education
Germany's students fail to graduate in time
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Hamburg harbour lit up in blue
Business & Money
JobTalk: 'Application process is failing'
Photo: Bundesarchiv/Bild 183-S45825
Culture
Germany puts 700,000 WWI docs online
Photo: DPA
Society
This man wants to give all of us €12,000 a year
Photo: DPA
Education
Top university switches master's courses to English
instagram.com/gotzemario
Gallery
Germany's World Cup stars share their holiday photos
Travel
Plans unveiled for bike trail along former Iron Curtain
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The Local List: 12 best words in German
Photo: DPA
Gallery
German Bucket List: How many of these can you tick off?
Photo: Europeana.de 1914 - 1918
Gallery
A German soldier's life behind WWI lines
Education
Raising the bar for law & business in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual school turning education on its head
Sponsored Article
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,261
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd