Have you heard of the Marwa al-Sherbini case? If not, it may be worth asking why not, since that's what Egyptians are asking.
Some of my readers, most of whom are presumably involved professionally or academically in Middle East affairs, may have heard of Marwa al-Sherbini, but the case has been little noted in the Western media. Sherbini was a young (32 years old) mother killed in a German court — yes, in an open courtroom during a judicial sesssion — in Dresden July 1 in front of her three-year old son. She was stabbed (18 times) in the courtroom by a xenophobic German who had previously attacked her as a "terrorist" for wearing hijab, leading her to lodge a complaint against him. He was appealing a fine when he stabbed her. Adding insult to injury, when her husband sought to protect her from her attacker, the security in the courtroom shot the husband, not the attacker. (As one person notes in one of the links, "he wasn't blond so he must be the attacker.") And to add more insult to that one, the prosecutor initially charged the attacker with manslaughter (for stabbing someone 18 times in an open courtroom?). (Now there are reports the charge will be changed to murder.)
Oh, sorry, now it appears she was also pregnant with her second child. And why, exactly, are people outraged? Oh, right. All these reasons.
It's received very little coverage in Europe or the US, and that fact as well as the crime itself has outraged the Egyptian street to a remarkable degree. Her body was met at Cairo airport; thousands reportedly turned out for her funeral in Alexandria. Everyone from the Sheikh al-Azhar on down to the most secularist bloggers are expressing concern. The Egyptian blogosphere has been awash with postings, many noting that the killing of Neda Soltan in Iran (by the government, admittedly) led to Western outrage, while the killing of a Muslim mother in a European courtroom by a man clearly motivated by hatred of Islam and Muslims, is ignored. The Egyptian reaction is pretty intense so far, and interestingly, some of the opposition forces seem particularly incensed. Though the official media is incensed as well, these kinds of popular outcries can backfire on unpopular regimes.
Here's an overall account of the case. And here are some of the blogposts so far, starting with English:
Zenobia at Egyptian Chronicles;
Hicham Maged's Blog;
Here, Bikya Misr argues that the Western media is showing its bias by ignoring the case; many have compared the coverage of Neda Soltan, the Iranian women killed by the Basij, with this case, though obviously this was not a killing by an arm of the state;
And newspaper accounts. In English:
at Al-Misri al-Yaum.
at Daily News Egypt
Blogs in Arabic:
The funeral in Alexandria at Iskanderani Misri.
Newspapers in Arabic:
The main government daily Al-Ahram;
Reactions at the website Al-Misriyun;
The opposition Al-Dustur calling her shahidat al-hijab (martyr of the hijab);
. . . and so on. This feels, at a distance, like real outrage, from bloggers conservative and leftist, and in the street. This case is going to get a great deal of attention in Egypt and probably throughout the Muslim world.