Police are investigating a possible religious motivation behind the murder of an Afghan Christian woman in the Bavarian town of Prien, southern Germany.
The 38 year-old mother, known only as FS, was with two of her children when she was stabbed outside a supermarket on 29 April. She later died of her injuries in hospital.
A 29 year-old Afghan asylum seeker has been accused of stabbing the woman, who, it is believed, he knew. He was described as ‘mentally unstable’.
FS, a Christian convert from Islam, was baptised eight years ago and had been in Germany since 2011. Described as a “model of integration”, she was a member of an Evangelical Protestant church in Prien, and supported an Afghan Bible study group organised by a neighbouring Free Evangelical church. She leaves behind two children, aged five and 11.
Police spokesman Stefan Sonntag said that ‘a religious motivation is being examined, although we cannot confirm this yet’.
At her funeral service, the community pastor spoke about reactions triggered by the crime. Speaking to DW, Karl-Friedrich Wackerbath said that Muslims turned up spontaneously and apologised for what had happened. They also expressed hope that the incident would not again lead to a general smear campaign against Muslims.
Even though clerics from their home countries can share different convictions, they said, Muslims in Germany would not threaten to kill anyone who converts from Islam to Christianity. “The danger however, is that a wedge is being driven between our cultures and religions.”
In 2016 a group of German NGOs were critical of Germany’s “integration experiment” of mixing Christian and Muslim refugees in refugee centres, saying the situation for Christian and other religious minorities there is “still unbearable”. It followed an incident when one recently-arrived refugee was confronted with these words written on the wall in his refugee shelter: “The time has come to cut off the heads of all non-believers!”