July 11th, 2009 10:06 EST
Murder of Muslim Woman: German chancellor asks that religious minorities be protected
Representatives of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) met today with officials of the German embassy in Washington, D.C., to discuss a recent incident in which a pregnant Muslim woman was stabbed to death at a Dresden court while testifying against a man who had insulted her for wearing a religiously-mandated headscarf, or hijab.
The woman was stabbed 18 times as court security personnel allegedly failed to intervene. When the woman`s husband attempted to shield her from the attacker, he was shot by those same security personnel and remains in critical condition.
SEE: The Headscarf Martyr: Murder in German Court Sparks Egyptian Fury
During their meeting today with the embassy officials, CAIR representatives delivered a letter from the organization`s National Executive Director Nihad Awad to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, which stated in part:
This horrendous act of hatred is obviously of concern to all those in Germany and worldwide who value justice and religious tolerance.
There is a growing perception that the German government was slow to condemn this bias-motivated act of violence and has not addressed the underlying Islamophobia that can lead to such tragic incidents.
We are also concerned that the ban in several German states on Muslim teachers wearing hijab may serve to legitimize the type of Islamophobic views held by [the woman`s] attacker.
We implore you to protect the rights of all religious minorities in Germany by taking immediate and direct measures such as instituting policies that seek to prevent the growth of Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, racism, or any other form of bigotry. CAIR and the American Muslim community stand ready to assist you in developing and implementing those policies or initiatives.
We urge you to investigate whether the perpetrator of this crime was in any way linked to a larger anti-Muslim movement.
CAIR has more than 15 years of experience in dealing with issues related to Islamophobia, hate crimes and civil rights, and would be willing to share this experience with German officials and the German Muslim community. "
Those taking part in today`s meeting included Awad, CAIR Legal Counsel Nadhira Al-Khalili and CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper.
CAIR, America`s largest Muslim civil liberties organization, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.