CNN Senior Mideast Affairs Editor
Marwa is already dubbed the “Hijab Martyr.” Many believe she was murdered because she’s Muslim and wears her religion on her head in a Hijab, the Muslim head cover. Her heinous cold-blooded murder in a Germany courtroom has sent shockwaves across the Middle East and now it is spreading across the world.
Marwa was 31 and three months pregnant, when she appeared at a Dresden courtroom to testify against a man who had already been convicted of verbally attacking her by calling her a “terrorist” at a playground with her 3-year-old son. Instead of justice, Marwa and her family were met by a tragic fate.
On July 1st, in the Dresden courtroom, the same man identified only as Alex M. stabbed her 18 times in front of her son and husband. As her husband tried to defend her, he got his share of the stabbing and he was shot by a police officer who mistook him for the assailant. Marwa later died in the hospital. Her husband is still in critical condition.
Two Egyptian researchers at Dresden University, Mohammed Ahmed Khalif and Magdi Khalil, told CNN that on that fateful day, their trust in Germany was shattered.
"We have fear about our family here, about our children” said Khalif. He said he is disappointed by what he believes is a muted response by the German public and its politicians.
Khalil agrees with Khalif. He adds that some people in Germany could possibly harbor an anti-Muslim sentiment. He suggested twisting this around to see how people would react to the same story. “What do you think if we have an Egyptian guy who kills a German woman in a court? What do you think would happen,” he asked.
Germany’s government spokesperson Thomas Steg stressed that, “In Germany we cannot tolerate, right wing extremism, hatred of foreigners nor Islamophobia."
For many in Egypt and across the Middle East, this response came late and wasn’t enough.
Egyptians mourned the death of Marwa with shock and outrage. As it is customary in the Middle East when someone dies young, the 31-year-old pregnant mother was buried in a procession fit for a bride, while across the nation people continue to take to the streets in sympathy.
Underneath the sadness of mourning, anger is brewing at what people in the Middle East call a hate crime. They are moved by news reports of how Marwa died.
Many have taken to the streets, waving banners that call her stabbing death a hate crime and that it’s racially motivated. They say Marwa was killed because she's Muslim and wore the Muslim headscarf.
When they felt their calls for justice were going unnoticed, Egyptians along with other Arabs and supporters from around the world, took to the Internet, which has become the voice for the voiceless in the Middle East region.
They accused the media of failing to highlight the murder.
They criticized Europe in general and Germany in particular for becoming increasingly extreme towards minorities, especially Muslims.
And on Facebook, they asked for justice; calling for the harshest possible sentence for the assailant and an apology from Germany. They created pages where people can pay homage to a woman who has now become known simply as the "Martyr of the Hijab."
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
Questions or comments? Send an email
Want to know more? Go behind the scenes with