CAIRO: About 35 protestors gathered outside the German Embassy in Zamalek Tuesday to denounce the murder of Egyptian Marwa Al-Sherbini, who was stabbed to death on July 1 in a Dresden courtroom. People came to honor Al-Sherbini and demand action and accountability on the part of German and Egyptian authorities, as well as the international community.
In recent days some have questioned the efficacy of German security during the stabbing, the charge of manslaughter and a lack of strong official reaction on the part of the Egyptian government.
Many are upset with the lack of coverage in foreign media. Most see the shortcomings of this tragedy as the result of Islamophobia.
Following the funeral in Alexandria, which drew thousands on Monday, individuals came to vocalize these grievances. They assembled on a sidewalk of the Cairo sleepy street on which the embassy is situated.
Security forces were fully mobilized for the event and many reporters were in attendance The first to arrive was Mohamed Abdel Quddous. He arrived with a loudspeaker and Egyptian flag in each hand. Abdel Quddous explained that the protests were a continuation of those held in Alexandria the day before. He said that the German security men were negligent and deliberately did not intervene to protect her. Reporters and police outnumbered protestors for some time, but more people gradually arrived.
Meanwhile, it was business as usual at the embassy across the road. People waiting for visas and other consular services queued up and looked on at the demonstration. A group of about 35 men and women of all ages stood together holding signs and chanting. One sign read why was she killed? The content of their chanting varied widely. One man cried out what would Germany do if it had been a German woman? The women yelled in unison I will not get rid of my hijab. We need to take revenge for Marwa!
Some shouted who is the terrorist? The killer or the victim?
Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit was the subject of sharp criticism, with protesters claiming he had done nothing to represent the interests of Al-Sherbini or Egypt. Some questioned whether Germany abridged the rights of non-citizens residing in their territory.
Recommendations for action included barring diplomatic relations with German, holding the trial in an international or foreign non-German court were among the most prevalent.
One protestor felt the Egyptian media s coverage of the murder was inadequate, while he lauded satellite television channels for their more comprehensive reporting.
Another young man discussed the intensive coverage that the death of President Hosni Mubarak’s grandson received this past spring and wondered aloud why the media hasn’t allotted similar time and coverage to Al-Sherbini’s.
The rally diverged from Al-Sherbini and her murder. Protesters began chanting their allegiance to Islam and the prophet Mohamed, shouting we are with Islam.
Others criticized French President Nicolas Sarkozy s recent announcement about banning the burka in France.
Others called for more involvement on the President’s part.
One man demanded to know why Gamal Mubarak went to Cairo Airport to receive the Egyptian football squad after the arrived home from the Confederation Cup in South Africa – but had not been present for the return of Al-Sherbini s body at the airport Sunday night.
Other remarks verged on racism, with an older gentlemen harshly condemning the general German population who must look to Hitler and their history.
Away from the embassy, awareness about Al-Sherbini’s murder was mixed in Cairo on Tuesday. Some Egyptians that were interviewed knew nothing of her plight. In Dokki, Mohsen Abdel Mohsen, an accountant, said he felt the attack was a result of her hijab. But misinformation was common, with one individual believing Al-Sherbini had been shot to death, not stabbed.