Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Muslim Woman Murdered for 'Acting German'

Germans are now getting their own taste of the sort of shock felt in Holland at the murder of Theo van Gogh by militant Dutch Muslims. So long in denial about the millions of Muslim immigrants they permitted into their country, the vicious murder of a young Muslim woman may finally have awakened the German people to the threat their culture faces from within.

Hatin Sürücü was a Turkish Muslim who had lived in Germany for most of her life. At 16, her conservative Turkish family married her to a cousin in Istanbul, Turkey. But Hatin apparently tired of being treated like breeding stock and only stayed in Turkey for a short time before returning to Berlin with her son. She obtained welfare support and started training as an electrician. She also, fatally, decided to stop wearing her headscarf and cowering before Muslim men.
But it was a choice she paid for with her life. On Feb. 7, 23-year-old Hatin Sürücü was gunned down at the aforementioned bus stop. She died on the spot. Shortly afterwards, three of her brothers -- who reportedly had long been threatening her -- were arrested. Investigators suspect it was a so-called "honor killing," given the fact that Sürücü's ultra-conservative Turkish-Kurdish family strongly disapproved of her modern and "un-Islamic" life.
Hatin's murder was shocking enough, but the reaction of many Muslims caught Germans by surprise.

Days after Hatin Sürücü was killed, some male students of Turkish origin at a high school near the scene of the crime reportedly downplayed the act. During a class discussion on the murder, one said, "She (Hatin Sürücü) only had herself to blame," while another remarked "She deserved what she got --the whore lived like a German [emphasis mine]." The school's director promptly dashed off a letter to parents and students, castigating the students and warning that the school didn’t tolerate incitement against freedom.
Despite the usual empty rhetoric from Islamist apologists, this sort of sentiment is typical in among German Muslims.

"There isn't a single school with a high foreign population where teachers haven't faced this kind of thing, where individual students sometimes regard murder as a just sentence," said Heinz Wagner, head of school and education policy at the VBE teachers trade union and a school director himself. Referring to the controversial remarks on Sürücü's murder, he said, "The very fact that they decided to provoke with something like that tells you that they're getting their ideas from somewhere."

At Berlin's Turkish-dominated neighborhood near Kottbusser Tor in the Kreuzberg district, 17-year-old Erkan, a high school student of Turkish origin, was divided about the issue. "I'm not saying you should murder, but Hatin's lifestyle just didn't fit the way traditional Muslims live," he said.

Honor killings are just another inconvenient fact of fundamentalist Muslim life.
At the juvenile prison in the Berlin suburb Plötzensee, six of the current 529 inmates are serving time of six years and more for manslaughter in so-called "honor crimes." All come from the Muslim world. Aged between 18 and 22, one of them, an Afghan national, was 16 when he helped relatives kill a widowed aunt who had refused to marry her brother-in-law.

Prison director Marius Fiedler said most of the murders are often carefully plotted in the family with the support of all, including women. "Usually the patriarch selects the youngest son to carry out the crime because he knows that judges in Germany don't usually give the maximum sentence of 10 years to a minor for manslaughter," he said.
As usual, Muslim advocacy organizations are dismissing Hatin's murder and the Muslim applause the greeted it as not representative of Muslim opinion as a whole, and certain Muslim leaders are calling for mandatory ethics classes in high schools to instill democratic values - like, say, tolerance - in Muslim youth.
Some, however, are skeptical of such flash-in-the-pan plans. "Every time there's a controversial incident, politicians routinely come up with 'ethics class' as a panacea," said school director Wagner. "But the school can't be the only place for learning democratic values. You have to begin with the family."
High school ethics classes are no more likely to dispel the forces of Muslim extremism than a space heater is apt to melt a glacier. Cultural attitudes spring from family and immediate community - not the classroom. Moreover, Islamist extremists like to recruit young Muslim men who have been educated at Western universities (like Mohammed Atta, who led the September 11th massacre); such men have presumably already been as exposed as possible to ideals of democratic toleration, and due to their Muslim faith, reject such notions completely. Education by itself will neither liberalize Muslim communities nor defuse Islamist fanatics.

Germany opened its doors to Turkey and the rest of the Middle East. It now has festering ghettos filled with hostile, militant Muslims who despise German culture and refuse to assimilate. Incidents like the murder of Hatin Sürücü make denial of this reality impossible. The question for Germany, like Holland, and the rest of Europe, is: what now?


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