Tuesday, Dec. 08, 2009

The Headscarf Martyr

For Muslims around the world, this was the crime of the century. On July 1, Marwa el-Sherbini, 31 — a devout Egyptian-born pharmacist — appeared in a court in Dresden, Germany, to testify against Alex Wien, an unemployed Russian émigré who was appealing an earlier conviction of defaming el-Sherbini by calling her an "Islamist" and a "terrorist" on a playground. Prosecutors said that after el-Sherbini's testimony, Wien lunged at her with a 7-in. kitchen knife he had smuggled into court and stabbed her at least 16 times. Her husband Elwy Okaz, 32, was also repeatedly stabbed before being shot by a police officer who mistook him for el-Sherbini's attacker. He survived. El-Sherbini, who was three months pregnant at the time, bled to death in front of the couple's 3-year-old son. Wien was tried in the same courtroom where el-Sherbini was killed. He was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. El-Sherbini's husband filed lawsuits against the judge and regional court overseeing the original trial.