• Germany's news in English
 

Tragedy draws Turkish 'Men Against Violence'

Published: 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)

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
Energy prices drive return to inflation
Photo: DPA

Energy prices drive return to inflation

Inflation in Germany crept higher in March, driven by rebounding energy prices, preliminary data showed on Monday. READ  

Alps Plane Crash
Lufthansa questions 60th anniversary jubilee
Photo: DPA

Lufthansa questions 60th anniversary jubilee

Germany's national airline is reconsidering plans to celebrate its 60th anniversary on April 15th following last weak's deadly crash of a plane from subsidiary Germanwings in the French Alps. READ  

Alps Plane Crash
Prosecutor: co-pilot had suicidal tendencies
Photo: DPA

Prosecutor: co-pilot had suicidal tendencies

A spokesman for prosecutors in Düsseldorf said on Monday that Germanwings flight 4U9525 co-pilot Andreas Lubitz had been treated for suicidal tendencies in the years before obtaining his pilot's license. READ  

Minister admits army guns' 'accuracy problem'
A German soldier aims a G36 rifle. Photo: DPA

Minister admits army guns' 'accuracy problem'

Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen admitted on Monday that the German army's standard rifle suffered from an “accuracy problem” - almost 20 years after it was first brought into service. READ  

Minister promises “shredding-free” eggs
Photo: DPA

Minister promises “shredding-free” eggs

Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt hopes to end mass shredding of male chicks in hatcheries in the next two years, he announced on Monday. READ  

Düsseldorf police set up special 'Alps' unit
The site of the Germanwings crash in the French Alps. Photo: DPA

Düsseldorf police set up special 'Alps' unit

A new police unit, which will go under the name “Alps”, includes 100 officers whose task it is to identify victims of the Germanwings crash and to investigate the background of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz. READ  

Presented by the Croatian National Tourist Board
10 surprising things you didn’t know about Zagreb
Zagreb is a hot spot for tourists from Germany. But why? Photo: Shutterstock

10 surprising things you didn’t know about Zagreb

The Croatian capital is the latest trendy destination among Germans seeking warmer weather. So what’s the lure? The Local investigates ten reasons why the Deutsch are flocking to Zagreb. READ  

Greece crisis
Varoufakis begs for calm in war of words
Greek Independence Day celebrations on March 24th. Photo: DPA

Varoufakis begs for calm in war of words

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis called on German and Greek leaders to calm their rhetoric over his country's bailout programme in an op-ed published in Germany on Monday. READ  

Alps Plane Crash
Lufthansa fear second black box won't be found
A flight data recorder. Photo: DPA

Lufthansa fear second black box won't be found

Germany's national airline Lufthansa says that the flight data recorder which could provide key evidence about the causes of the Germanwings plane crash last Tuesday may never be found. READ  

Rail in north and east delayed by storms
Photo: DPA

Rail in north and east delayed by storms

Rail passengers will have to deal with delays on several key rail lines after storms on Sunday night caused damage to infrastructure. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Can the 'nightmare' of a pilot downing a plane be prevented?
National
LIVE: Co-pilot suspected of crashing plane
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
National
Last-minute drama of Germany's Eurovision 2015 entry
National
German photographer takes world's top prize
Features
Meet the woman getting Germans to drink more – and better – beer
Gallery
Get inspired for International Women's Day with German heroes
Sponsored Article
Expert US tax preparation for Americans in Germany
Green party proposes first-ever cannabis legalization plan
Gallery
In pictures: Germany's seven most livable cities
National
Singapore canes Germans for train graffiti
Politics
Surprise! Germans love feeling like they run the EU
Politics
Anger over plan to show women what men earn
Travel
Munich tram fans bicker over new bell
Features
Kafka: puzzling translators 100 years on
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best country to work in?
Photo: Police
Rhineland
Student driver crashes tank into family garden.
Photo: DPA
Politics
There was a notable absence at the Anti-Semitism Commission
National
How Dresden bombing still divides Germany, 70 years on
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Take a cute break with this gallery of baby animals
International
What's keeping UK expats from voting?
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
All you ever needed to know about Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
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

7,039
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd