The recent murder in Germany of a pregnant Muslim woman, Marwa al-Sherbini, at the hands of a German man, has provoked bitter reactions and protests in several parts of the world, and precipitated strong diplomatic responses. This can be illustrated by the following examples: Demonstrations by Muslim communities erupted in Germany, Iran, Egypt, and the UK (some of these demonstrations were linked with threats to Germany). Strong reactions from leaders of Islamic groups and organizations in several parts of the world, including the United States. Diplomatic responses at the highest levels conveying condolences for the woman's death. Significant public response and outcry, which has been portrayed in the Arab and Islamic media.
Labeling the victim as a "hijab martyr."
No righteous human can deny that to kill any person in cold blood is unacceptable and barbaric. However, in light of the reactions by Muslims to this murder, there are a few questions that must be raised.
First, why does such a reaction ONLY occur when the killer is a westerner? Thousands of Muslim women who also wear the hijab have been murdered by Islamic terrorists. Yet, when such an incident occurs, a heated response by Muslim communities around the world against the actions of the perpetrators is nonexistent. Does this silence imply tacit acceptance of such acts by Muslim communities so long as they are conducted by Muslims?
Second, would the Muslim world have reacted to the murder in the same manner if Marwa had not been wearing the hijab? Muslim communities must stop classifying women as muhajabat, meaning "wearing the hijab," a respected title, and mutabarigat, meaning "not wearing the hijab," which is considered inferior. The soul of every human being must be regarded as sacred, irrespective of whether a woman wears the hijab or not.
Third, where was the Muslim outcry in March 2002 for young girls in Saudi Arabia who were burned to death in a fire at their school when religious police decided to delay their evacuation because they were not wearing the hijab? These girls deserved the same public response that was evoked by Marwa's murder.
Fourth, there have been many honor killings of innocent young Muslim girls in Europe, the most recent of which in Germany when a 45-year-old Turkish Muslim man was convicted for stabbing his 15-year-old daughter to death. Why have Muslim communities not demonstrated against such killings, and not called these victims "martyrs" for not wearing the hijab? Is the 15-year-old girl's blood cheaper than Marwa's?
Fifth, how would Muslim communities feel if an apologist claimed that we must understand the frustration and anger of the man who killed Marwa, in reaction to acts of terror committed by Muslims practically every day, instead of blaming him for the murder? This scenario, while theoretical, actually occurs when apologists attempt to justify and excuse the activities of Islamic terrorists. Why have these apologists not found justification and excuses for the criminal who killed Marwa? Is it perhaps because they can only find justifications when Muslims are the killers?
Furthermore, if Muslims truly consider human lives as equal, they should have responded with the same passion as they did in the Marwa case against Islamic terrorists who have killed hundreds of thousands of their fellow human beings - both Muslim and non-Muslim - in several parts of the world, including Iraq and Algeria.
In short, killing Marwa al-Sherbini was a grave crime. But the selective reaction to these sorts of crimes by Muslim communities, and the ignorance of similar ones committed by fellow Muslims demonstrates a significant double standard.
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