Marwa El Sherbini Did Not Die For Her Hijab, So Please Stop Saying That She Did

Marwa El Sherbini is in the ground away from those who love her most.

She did not want to die, she did not choose to die.

She was murdered.

In Germany the Muslim community is ethnically homogeneous, with the vast majority being of Turkish ethnicity. Even without her headscarf, her coloring and ethnicity means that Marwa would have still looked like an ‘Auslander‘ and a Muslim one at that.

Yet, all over the media she is dubbed as the Headscarf Martyr or the Hijab Martyr, meaning that the focus is once again on Muslim women’s clothing and whether they should wear certain items or not. The case is even being conflated with Sarkosy’s proposal to ban the burqa.

Again, Muslim women’s bodies are being discussed only in terms of the clothes they wear and again the world offers its opinion without listening to Muslim women.

The problem with this talk of martyrdom and clothing, both in the Muslim and non-Muslim press, is that it allows focus to slip away from the true actor of the piece: Alex W., the murderer.

What is known about Alex W. is that he is a Russian immigrant with “a deep hatred of foreigners and  Muslims”.

So surely the next steps should be to examine the cause of such hatred, look into any groups he  associated with or extremist media sources he used.

Instead, the prosecutor of the original court case has swiftly categorized Alex W. as “a fanatical lone wolf”, pushing the focus back onto Muslim clothing once again.

With attacks against Muslims and building used by Muslims rising and this rise occurring alongside a increased popularity of the far right, now is the time to examine violent Islamophobia and racism, before more people are murdered or injured.  The recent conviction of a white British man for planning racists bombings went virtually unreported as the mainstream media “wasn’t interested”. One wonders how many more lone wolves there needs to be before the media notices a pack mentality.

By having the same tired clothing discussions, this opportunity to address Islamophobic and racist violence is being lost in the spin of the “Hijab Martyr”. The truth is buried as deeply as Marwa’s body.

The truth being: Marwa did not die because she was wearing a hijab, she died because a racist murderer killed her.

Muslimah Media Watch thanks Yusuf Smith for the tip.

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