Muslims pray for murdered Egyptian woman

Muslims across Germany prayed on Friday for a pregnant Egyptian woman murdered in Dresden last week, a killing that provoked outrage and anti-German sentiment in her home country.

Muslims pray for murdered Egyptian woman
Egyptians carrying the victim's coffin in Alexandria this week. Photo: DPA

Marwa al-Sherbini was stabbed at least 18 times in a courtroom in Dresden on July 1 in front of her husband and three-year-old son by a Russian-born German man who has since been charged with her murder.

With Berlin under fire for a slow reaction to the killing, the German government’s integration tsar Maria Boehmer visited his bedside on Friday, a day ahead of a planned memorial ceremony outside Dresden city hall.

Dubbed the “veil murder” by Muslim groups, the killing drew thousands of mourners to her funeral on Monday in Alexandria, with Egypt’s top cleric declaring her a “martyr” and demanding the maximum penalty for the attacker.

The 31-year-old’s husband, geneticist Elwi Ali Okaz, is in a critical condition in hospital after also being stabbed by the assailant and shot in the leg by confused police who took him for the attacker.

Accompanied by Egypt’s ambassador to Germany and the president of the German-Arab Association, Boehmer said: “There is no place for racist or religious violence in Germany.”

“The German government sets great store by integration. We see variety as an opportunity … Germany is not anti-Islam,” she added.

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, meanwhile, wrote a letter to his Egyptian counterpart Ahmed Abul Gheit expressing his condolences to the woman’s family.

“We want to make sure that everyone in Germany feels safe, whatever their origin, their nationality or their religion. Racism and Islamaphobia have no place in Germany,” Steinmeier said.

The unemployed 28-year-old attacker, identified only as Alex W., was in court appealing against an earlier conviction and fine for calling Sherbini a “terrorist” for wearing the Islamic headscarf in a dispute in a playground.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke with Egyptian President Hosni Muburak about the killing in L’Aquila, Italy, on Thursday where world leaders gathered for a Group of Eight meeting.


Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

A driver in Passau has been hit with a €5,000 fine because he was caught by traffic police giving the middle finger.

Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

The district court of Passau sentenced the 53-year-old motorist to the fine after he was caught making the rude gesture in the direction of the speedometer last August on the A3 near the Donautal Ost service area, reported German media. 

The man was not caught speeding, however. According to traffic police who were in the speed camera vehicle at the time, another driver who had overtaken the 53-year-old was over the speed limit. 

When analysing the photo, the officers discovered the slower driver’s middle finger gesture and filed a criminal complaint.

The driver initially filed an objection against a penalty order, and the case dragged on for several months. However, he then accepted the complaint. He was sentenced to 50 ‘unit fines’ of €100 on two counts of insulting behaviour, amounting to €5,000.

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In a letter to police, the man said he regretted the incident and apologised. 

Police said it was “not a petty offence”, and that the sentence could have been “even more drastic”.

People who give insults while driving can face a prison sentences of up to a year.

“Depending on the nature and manner of the incident or in the case of persons with a previous conviction, even a custodial sentence without parole may be considered for an insult,” police in Passau said. 

What does the law say?

Showing the middle finger to another road user in road traffic is an offence in Germany under Section 185 of the Criminal Code (StGB). It’s punishable by a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine.

People can file a complaint if someone shows them the middle finger in road traffic, but it usually only has a chance of success if witnesses can prove that it happened.

As well as the middle finger, it can also be an offence to verbally insult someone. 

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