A Muslim woman who sits in the German parliament has been given a police bodyguard after she received death threats over her public appeal for other Muslims to abandon headscarves.
Turkish-born Ekin Deligoz, 35, has occupied a Greens Party seat since 1998, the year after she was naturalized as a German, but she only gained national attention last month when she assailed the scarf as a symbol of backwardness and submission to male dominance.
That has turned her life upside down. After anonymous hate calls by phone, Berlin assigned two federal policemen to protect Deligoz at all times, even when she goes out for walks with her husband and child or to do the shopping.
"It's the little things that have changed," she said wistfully last week.
Recalling the 2004 murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh by an Islamist, German authorities believe they cannot be too careful.
But Muslims in Germany worry that they are once again being portrayed in the media as violent and incapable of debate.
German authorities estimate that 3.5 million of Germany's population of 82 million are of Muslim heritage, the bulk of them with Turkish roots. Headscarves have been making a comeback among younger Muslim women in recent years.
Deligoz, who in the federal parliamentary directory describes herself as Muslim, is not the first German woman of Islamic heritage to make bare heads and hair into a political issue.
Seyran Ates, a lawyer who campaigns against headscarves and wife-beating and Necla Kelek, a sociologist and author who attacks Islam as inimical to women's interests, are representing similar views on a federal advisory panel, the Islam Conference.
Politicians on both the right and the left sprang to Deligoz' defence last week.
Renate Kuenast, leader of the Greens caucus in the Bundestag, hosted a meeting on Tuesday with Germany's five national Islamic organizations. She said all affirmed that Deligoz had a right to speak without threat of violence, even if they disagree with her.
"We are doing everything we can to ensure her safety," said Mounir Azzaoui, a spokesman for the National Council of Muslims.
But the Islamic groups are adamant in their defence of Islamic women who choose to wear scarves.
Ali Kizilkaya, chairman of the Islamic Council, said after the meeting, "wearing a head covering is a rule of our religion," adding that it was just as applicable in Western nations as in Muslim ones.
Deligoz was born in Tokat, Turkey and moved to southern Germany at the age of eight with her mother, who brought her up.
She is married to a German and has a college degree in public administration. After moving to Berlin, her husband opened a cafe so he could mind their child during the daytime.
Her political focus in recent years has been on the care of young children. She believes kindergartens should cost less.
"I'm also concerned about what a child who is five now can expect when they are 18," she told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper last week.
Minority children needed to be taught better German, trained in social behavior and offered quality religious instruction, she said.
An Australian university student who has never visited China and has only a modest social media following would seem an unlikely target for the Chinese government. However, when a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman personally denounced Drew Pavlou at a news conference, it was just the next phase in an extraordinary campaign against the 21-year-old that has fueled concerns over China’s targeting of critics overseas. Pavlou first placed himself in the superpower’s sights when in July last year he organized a small sit-in at the University of Queensland, where he studies, to protest against various Chinese government policies. Since then, the Global
‘ASKED TO MOVE OUT’: Indonesian coast guard personnel argued with a Chinese vessel over territorial claims after it entered the country’s exclusive economic zone An Indonesian patrol ship confronted a Chinese coast guard vessel that spent almost three days in waters where Indonesia claims economic rights and that are near the southernmost part of China’s disputed claims to the South China Sea. The Indonesian Maritime Security Agency on Friday night detected Chinese ship 5204 entering Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in what Indonesia calls the North Natuna Sea. The agency sent a patrol ship that closed within 1km of the Chinese coast guard vessel and they communicated to affirm their position and their nation’s claims to the area, Indonesian Maritime Security Agency head Aan Kurnia said. “We
BEFORE WINTER COMES: Snow cuts off roads into Ladakh for four months or more each year, so the crunch is on to get food, tents and high-altitude equipment to Leh From deploying mules to large transport aircraft, the Indian military has activated its entire logistics network to transport supplies to thousands of troops for a harsh winter along a bitterly disputed Himalayan border with China. In the past few months, one of India’s biggest military logistics exercises in years has brought vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food into Ladakh, a region bordering Tibet that India administers as a union territory, officials said. The move was triggered by a border standoff with China in the snow deserts of Ladakh that began in May and escalated in June into hand-to-hand
Since her personal telephone number was posted online, Hong Kong democracy advocate and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chairperson Carol Ng has received menacing calls from strangers and been bombarded with messages calling her a “cockroach.” She is not alone. A sophisticated and shady Web site called HK Leaks has ramped up its “doxxing” — where people’s personal details are published online — of Hong Kong democracy advocates, targeting those it says have broken Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Promoted by groups linked to the Chinese Chinese Communist Party and hosted on Russia-based servers, HK Leaks has become the most prominent “doxxing”