The case „Safia S.“. Safia is the youngest imprisoned Muslim girl and the first teenage girl in newer German history in custody for more than 5 months, personal imposed by the federal state prosecutor. If you now thinking of backwarded states of dictatorship like Egypt, Burma, Iran, North-Korea the answer simply is „no“. This is happening in year 2016 in the middle of European Society of Common Values, in the German constitutional republic. It seems that we could face new dimensions of爄slamophobia and scare-mongering of Muslims in Europe.
The story – what happened?
In february 2016 the Muslim teenager Safia Schmitter (15) was confronted with a police control at railway station (Hannover, Germany) and stabbed a police officer with a small potato knife in his neck. The officer wasn’t harmed lethal and was able to leave hospital after ambulant treatment at same day. Safia was arrested. Shortly thereafter she apologized to the officer for her action in a letter. At this time the circumstances that lead to this case and the motivation behind weren’t clear. Maybe she had psychic stress, mental incapacity or felt herself harassed by frequent repressive police controls against Muslims. That could be justifications or lead to a reduced sentence in accordance to German law and would defuse this incident. Until this point there weren’t any political or religious accusations from German officials or media. It was „only“ a normal incident of grievous bodily harm and resistance against enforcement officers. From a general viewpoint violence against police officers is almost a daily business in Germany committed by individuals from every direction, f.e. Nazi hooligans at football matches, violent politcal demonstrations drug addicts, alcoholics etc. In the first official statement of the police department a few hours after the incident a knife attack at police control by a teenager was reported. Not really extra ordinary in daily business of police officers that much.
The changing point…the problem…the next level. – Witch-Hunting –
Spontaneously the media coverage changed in a big campaign. The accusation of political and islamic motivations where spread. Special investigation teams of police department were initiated. ISIS affilited accusations were spread. Safia was called „The ISIS-girl“ and a lot of other islamophobic nightmares created that ensure high selling rates of media and maxium of attention of people. The top of results was the intervention of the highest German public prosecutor. He himself ordered a new custody for young Safia in terms of terror accusations. Remember: At the start it was a „normal“ case of violence against police officers. Now it changed to terror accusations.
The side effects – the family – the public pillorying
The side effects of the story should be mentioned too. The whole family of Safia was exposed in media. She and her mother were criminalized by media with the usual islamophobic accusations that practising Muslims in Europe are confronted with. As a young girl in the age of 7 Safia was known as a one of the youngest Quran recitators in Germany. You can see a couple of videos of Safia reading Quran in Youtube by typing „schwester safia“. Young Muslim girl Safia reciting Quran at young age and wearing headscarfe was reason enough to roll out the „radicalisation“ prejudice. From her childhood ‚till now almost every detail of her life, her brothers, school, friends, hobbys, social media accounts, divorce of her parents, living place of her mother, journeys, favourite songs, whats app chats and a lot of personal pictures are beeing indiscriminately exposed to everyone. For her and her family there are no personal rights, data protection or not even fundamental rights valid to every individual in a constitutional state. Please notice: until now, almost nothing of most accusations is prooved and not even a trail since 5 months has started. Everyone can easily imagine what it feels like for her and her mother beeing stigmatized and trying to manage a normal life someday if this will be possible. Some can try to imagine what it means if it happend in the own family when the child, brother, sisters doing a similiar action and finding themselves and private details in the media from one day to another.
The difference – The one-sidedness – The discrimination
It is very interesting how different the weight factors are in political landscape and media when it comes to Christian or non-Muslim (found guilty) criminals and supposed Muslim criminals.
Let’s illustrate a famous case in Germany. Marwa El-Sherbini. She was stabbed to death in front of the court by an radicalized orthdox Russian-German Christianist Alexander Wiens.
His motivation was 100% islamophobic or hate of Muslims. We never heard about his childhood, his friends, his family, his social media account, his religion, his fanatic views, his idols etc. – not even a single actual picture of him was released nor you’ll find many pictures of him at Google.
There was no media campaign exposing his last journeys, connections to christian-orthodoxist radicals and there was no federal state prosecutor charging him of terror accusations although he killed public a human beeing in a hate-motivated state in front of a German court. And this was a terror act.
Now compare to the case of Safia. Safia did not kill anyone. It is not proven that Safia is member of ISIS and acted in a state of religious radicalization. But you know everything about her and she and her whole family is exposed in media. If this is not a one-sideness discriminating treatment then was is it? Democratic? Constitutional? In dubio pro reo? Higher moral standars? Common European Values?
It remains to be seen what will happen when trail for young Safia is starting.