Here is a terrible story which has had far too little coverage:
The body of a Muslim woman, killed in a German courtroom by a man convicted of insulting her religion, has been taken back to her native Egypt for burial.
Marwa Sherbini, 31, was stabbed 18 times by Axel W, who is now under arrest in Dresden for suspected murder.
Husband Elwi Okaz is also in a critical condition in hospital, after being injured as he tried to save his wife.
Ms Sherbini had sued her killer after he called her a “terrorist” because of her headscarf.
The case has attracted much attention in Egypt and the Muslim world.
German prosecutors have said the 28-year-old attacker, identified only as Axel W, was driven by a deep hatred of foreigners and Muslims.
Media reports say Mr Okaz was injured both by the attacker and when a policeman opened fire in the courtroom.
I can find little about this crime in the news – which is a remarkable and noteworthy fact in itself.
We don’t appear to know much about the “suspect”, to use the technical term. He appears to be a Russian of German descent. We don’t know his full name – so we can’t google him yet – but in this AP report, we have a statement from the Dresden State Prosecutor that the man was “a fanatical lone wolf.”
There is also this:
Officials from a German Muslim group and the country’s main Jewish group made a joint visit Monday to the Dresden hospital where the victim’s husband is being treated.
“You don’t have to be a Muslim to act against anti-Muslim behavior, and you don’t have to be a Jew to act against anti-Semitism,” said Stephan Kramer, the general secretary of the Central Council of Jews.
One of the touchstones of the debate over the burqa is the necessity of accepting that a person can wear a headscarf for a number of reasons. She may choose to do so with an act of solidarity, or as a statement of social identity. As a statement of political identity, too, the symbolic meaning may range from support for extreme politics to an embracing of an expression of humility and charity. It might be worn without any particular notion in mind, or with many. Or it might be forced.
Like yarmulkes, or the handkerchieves in the pack pockets of gay men in the 1970s, there is a code in the wearing of a head covering. What that code means, however, is not always clear to the casual observer. It most certainly mattered little to the man who took Marwa Sherbini’s life.
She was pregnant.