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CRIME

Dresden hopes to honour murdered ‘veiled martyr’

The German city of Dresden is mulling ways to honour a pregnant Egyptian woman stabbed to death in a courtroom in the city, a killing which has sparked anger in the Muslim world, a spokesman said Tuesday.

Dresden hopes to honour murdered ‘veiled martyr’
Photo: DPA

“A meeting with town representatives and the Central Council of Muslims is set to take place next week to decide how we can honour her,” Kai Schulz told AFP, adding discussions would also take place with the woman’s family.

Dresden’s foreign residents affairs officer Marita Schieferdecker-Adolph said: “We are thinking of naming one of the city’s streets after her, but the last time we wanted to do that, it took 16 years.”

The July 1 killing of Marwa al-Sherbini, 31, stabbed at least 18 times in front of her three-year-old son and her husband, allegedly by a Russian-born German man identified only as Alex W., has provoked outrage in Germany and abroad.

It has also fuelled anti-German sentiment in Islamic countries, notably Iran and Sherbini’s native Egypt, where she has been dubbed the “veil martyr” as she was wearing a headscarf when she was attacked for apparently racist motives.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blamed the German government for the act, and on the streets, as many as 150 Iranian Islamist students pelted eggs at the German embassy in Tehran chanting “Death to Germany! Death to Europe!”

In Egypt, small demonstrations were held outside the German embassy in Cairo, with protestors accusing the West of Islamophobia and the country’s top cleric declaring her a “martyr” while calling for the maximum penalty for the attacker.

After an initially slow response to the killing, the German government has moved to deflect criticism, with Chancellor Angela Merkel expressing her condolences to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

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GERMANY AND ISRAEL

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.

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