- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 7, 2009

CAIRO | Egyptians are horrified by the brutal slaying of a pregnant Muslim woman stabbed repeatedly inside a German courtroom, calling what they see as a lack of outrage in Germany evidence of racism and anti-Islamic sentiment.

On Monday, thousands of mourners marched behind the coffin of Marwa al-Sherbini, 32, in her Mediterranean hometown, Alexandria, where her body was buried after being flown back from Germany.

“There is no god but God, and the Germans are the enemies of God,” chanted the mourners, while others carried banners condemning racism.

“We will avenge her killing,” her brother Tarek el-Sherbini told the Associated Press by telephone from the mosque where prayers were being recited in front of his sister’s coffin. “In the West, they don’t recognize us. There is racism.”

Mrs. al-Sherbini, who was about four months pregnant and wore the Islamic head scarf, was involved in a court case against her neighbor, who was accused of calling her a terrorist, and was set to testify against him when he stabbed her 18 times inside the courtroom in front of her 3-year-old son.

Her husband, Elwi Ali Okaz, who was in Germany on a research fellowship, came to her aid and was also stabbed by the neighbor and shot in the leg by a security guard who initially mistook him for the attacker, German prosecutors said. He is now in critical condition in a German hospital, said Mrs. al-Sherbini’s brother.

“The guards thought that as long as he wasn’t blond, he must be the attacker, so they shot him,” Mr. al-Sherbini told an Egyptian television station.

The neighbor, who has only been identified as 28-year-old Alex W., remains in detention, and prosecutors have opened an investigation on suspicion of murder.

Christian Avenarius, the prosecutor in Dresden, where the incident took place, described the killer as driven by a deep hatred of Muslims.

“It was very clearly a xenophobic attack of a fanatical lone wolf,” he said.

He added that the attacker was a Russian of German descent who had immigrated to Germany in 2003 and had expressed his contempt for Muslims at the start of the trial.

At its regular news conference on Monday, German government spokesman Thomas Steg said that if the attack was racist, the government “naturally condemns this in the strongest terms.”

The killing has dominated Egyptian media for days but has received comparatively little coverage in German and Western media.

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