Egypt funeral for court stabbing victim
Sherbiniâ€™s body was returned to Egypt from Germany for the funeral in Alexandria [AFP]
An official funeral has been held for a pregnant Egyptian woman stabbed to death as she prepared to give evidence in a German courtroom.
Several government representatives took part in the funeral for 32-year-old Marwa Sherbini in the northern city of Alexandria on Monday.
Sherbini was stabbed 18 times by a German man of Russian descent, formally identified only as Axel W, last week as she was about to give evidence against him as he appealed against his conviction for calling her a â€œterroristâ€ for her wearing the hijab.
Her three-year-old son, Mustapha, witnessed the knife attack on his mother, who was three months pregnant with her second child.
Sherbiniâ€™s husband, Elwi Ali Okaz, an Egyptian academic, was also critically injured as he tried to protect her.
Al Jazeeraâ€™s Rawyeh Rageh, reporting from Alexandria, said that the case had attracted huge attention in Egypt.
â€œThe local council here in Alexandria, the victimâ€™s hometown, has decided to name a street after her and the press is describing her as the â€˜Hijab Martyrâ€™,â€ she said.
â€œAt least two protests are expected to take place in Alexandria and Cairo as this is being seen as a xenophobic and Islamophobic attack.
â€œPeople on the street and members of parliament are asking the government not to take the issue lightly.â€
Hundreds of mourners gathered for the funeral, some chanting â€œDown with Germanyâ€ and scuffling with police, witnesses said.
The German embassy in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, said that the attack was not a reflection of German attitudes towards Muslims.
â€œIt is a criminal act. It has nothing to do with persecution against Muslims,â€ Magdi al-Sayed, a press officer, told the state-run Egyptian Gazette.
â€œPeople are looking for victims and Muslims are sometimes seen as a viable optionâ€
Sulaiman Wilms, European Muslim Union
But Sulaiman Wilms, the head of communications at the European Muslim Union, said that the incident was at least partly representative of the situation faced by Muslims across the continent.
â€œIt definitely reflects a certain spillover from certain elements of the public-media discourse, but it also reflects the general violence and degredation of order which we have within European societies in these times of global crisis,â€ he told Al Jazeera from Cologne.
â€œPeople are looking for victims and Muslims are sometimes seen as a viable option.â€
Sherbiniâ€™s family have called for revenge following the deadly knife attack on Wednesday.
â€œIf she was just stabbed once, I would have said this is a mad man, but the number of times she and her husband were stabbed reflects the extent of racism this man had in him,â€ Tarek Sherbini, the victimâ€™s brother, said.
â€œHere in Egypt, we believe in â€˜an eye for an eyeâ€™. The least we expect is the death penalty for the murderer.â€
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies