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Tributes paid to slain Egyptian
Public memorial held in Dresden, Germany for young mother fatally stabbed in courtroom.
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2009 03:22 GMT
Marwa Sherbini was stabbed repeatedly as she gave evidence in a Dresden court [AFP]

Hundreds of people carrying white roses have gathered in a German city to honour an Egyptian woman who was fatally stabbed in a courtroom in eastern Germany last week.

The crowd massed at the city hall on Saturday in honour of Marwa Sherbini who was knifed 18 times as she testified in a court in Dresden against a young German of Russian descent who was appealing his conviction.

The July 1 attack was allegedly carried out by the defendant who previously called Marwa Sherbini an "Islamist" and a "terrorist" for wearing the hijab (Muslim headscarf).

Marwa Sherbini, 31, was a pharmacist and three months pregnant when she was stabbed, witnessed by her three-year-old son. Her husband was injured when he intervened to protect her and remains hospitalised.

The attacker, identified only as Alex W., 28, is still in detention pending the outcome of an investigation on suspicion of murder.

Several portraits of the young woman with a headscarf were on the steps of Dresden's town hall for the public memorial organised by local civil rights groups on Saturday.

Outrage

The ceremony drew more than 1,000 people, including the Egyptian ambassador and officials from the state of Saxony, where the stabbing incident took place.

The knife attack has drawn public outrage in Egypt and Germany [Reuters]

"This crime by a lone wolf destroyed a family's hopes within minutes," said Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy, the Egyptian ambassador.

"We expect the attacker to be swiftly sentenced and her family to receive justice."

Ramzy said he was convinced "this act does not reflect the reality of the German people ... [who] have an open mind, including to people of other faiths".

The incident sparked outrage among the Muslim community and in Egypt, where the German response is seen as too little, too late, and as an example of racism and anti-Muslim sentiment.

Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, asked German Chancellor Angela Merkel to ensure swift justice when they met at G8 summit in Italy.

Merkel expressed her condolences to Mubarak on Thursday and sent her top official for immigration affairs to offer sympathy to Sherbini's husband, but has not publicly condemned the slaying.

In London, a Muslim group gathered outside the German embassy to protest Sherbini's death carrying signs saying Muslims are being treated as second-class citizens and calling for an end to Islamophobia.

Source:
Agencies
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