Accused seriously incriminated

Stuttgart, Germany
September 7, 2000
Stuttgarter Nachrichten

Stuttgart/Altdorf - Sabine H., accused of the murder of a 35 year old secretary was unmoved in the Stuttgart State Court - although the expert witnesses testified that they could identify finger prints and skin particles in her residence.

by Georg Stavrakis

Three experts presented their findings to the 9th Criminal Court. Finger prints and foot prints on the plastic in which Anja J's body was wrapped were said to be those of the accused. Her finger prints were also found on the package which contained the wrap, which the police had confiscated from the scene of the crime in Altdorf in Boeblingen County. Finger prints of Sabine H. The expression of the 35-year-old woman did not change. Not even when the presiding judge, Martin Krause, pulled the hatchet out of a bag - the murder weapon with which the victim was struck twelve times on the neck and back of the head.

Even the vial of Haldol, the narcotic with which Sabine H. was said to have used to put the unsuspecting Anja J. out of commission before the mortal blows were struck, contained traces of the accused's skin, according to experts.

Defense attorney Heinz Mayer was not impressed. "Just the alleged motive itself is very meager." His client was supposed to have planned a murder to change her identity only because she was facing punishment for theft? For 25,000 marks, which she was said to have stolen from the grandmother of her living companion of the time, and of which she had only 4,900 marks to pay back? "I can imagine that we have a few surprises in store for us," said Mayer. Sabine H's story read like that of a loser - at least that is the way she presented it. She had always invested much in her numerous relations with women and she had always been exploited. She said she had not stolen from the grandmother, but had accepted responsibility for the crime. She said she had ploughed into a Lesbian affair in Stuttgart and was then made out to be a thief. She said she had been offered a new identify by a secretive group because she was being persecuted by the Scientology sect - but she could not explain how all the evidence was pointing to her as Anja J's alleged murderess. It must be a conspiracy, the 35-year-old woman gave the court to understand. The alleged perpetrator as victim?

The trial will continue tomorrow, on Friday.

Fatal search for a new identity of a brutal murderer? Sabine H.

Stuttgart, Germany
August 14, 2000
Stuttgarter Nachrichten

Stuttgart - A village of 3,500 souls between Boeblingen and Herrenberg. A well-cared-for, residential idyll with flower boxes and small garden parks in which can be seen children's slides and swings. Altdorf - scene of a practically incomprehensible violent act.

by George Stavrakis

The police officers were confronted with a scene July 22 of last year in the residence on Maurener Street in Altdorf which they will probably never forget. Next to the bed lay a woman's corpse wrapped in plastic. The shock came when the wrap was removed: the face was no longer recognizable. A young woman was the victim of a bestial murder.

On July 17th, only one day after the murder in Altdorf, Sabine H. celebrated her half-sister's wedding in the nearby little city of Offenbach. The 34-year-old woman, who has no profession, toasted the occasion with the other guests. She was deeply tanned and was dazzling in her black dress. Is that the woman accused by the Stuttgart state attorney's office of having murdered a 35-year-old foreign language correspondent on July 16 in Altdorf? Who struck her with a hatchet to to assume her identity? The police and the state attorney's office are positive Sabine H. is lying.

The trial will be held on September 4th by the 9th criminal chamber of Stuttgart state court, Judge Martin Krause presiding. At first glance, the case appears to be crystal clear, yet it raises so many questions. Crystal clear because the investigator thinks he knows rather precisely what drama was played out that Friday, July 16th, 199, in the residence on Maurener Street.

It is alleged that Sabine H. rang the foreign language correspondent's doorbell that morning. The 35-year-old woman opened the door with no problem - she had expected the visit. She could not have known that her visitor had a little bottle with a narcotic, Haldol, and a hatchet in her pocket. Pleased, she asked Sabine H. inside. The two women ended up talking about a job for the unemployed 35-year-old woman. They drank coffee. Suddenly the woman who lived there felt ill. She lay on the bed. Sabine H. took out her hatchet and started chopping. Again and again. A total of twelve times, switching back and forth between the blunt and the sharp edge of the hatchet. And repeatedly in the face of her victim, as if she wanted to erase her identity forever. Sabine H. wrapped the lifeless corpse in plastic wrap and left it near the bed. She simply covered up the blood-smeared spots on the wall with spray paint. At least that is the way it looked to the state attorney's office in the indictment.

It was not until July 22, six days after the violent act, that the body was found. The police took Sabine H. into custody on July 23 in the vicinity of the scene of the crime. At the time she had black hair - the same as her victim. She was driving the Opel Corsa of the murdered woman, and was using her identification papers, keys and cellular phone. In the Opel's trunk, officers found a hatchet with traces of blood next to the spare tire. The gory deed had been planned in advance, then carried in secret for base reasons, according to the state attorney's office. It was said that Sabine H. intended to assume the identity of her victim to avoid arrest for robbery.

It was said that Sabine H., a lesbian, had stolen 25,000 marks from her grandmother to pay for a trip to the USA with her girlfriend. The robbery was foiled and the 35-year-old woman was put on probation. At the end of 1998 she was supposed to have gone to prison because she still had not paid back almost 5,000 marks of the stolen amount. After she ignored several warnings from the judiciary office, a warrant was issued for her arrest. Sabine H. fled.

The woman was a refugee from the law for years. At least that is what she gives people to believe. In 1992 she worked as a waitress in a bar in Nurnberg. Sabine H. thought the operation had been infiltrated by Scientology and that she was being persecuted by the sect. She applied for help from a sect expert, who turned her down upon closer examination.

According to psychiatric evaluation, the woman, who is 35 years old today, is of sound mind. "It surely can't stay that way," stated her attorney, Heinz Mayer. Whether he demands a new evaluation or not will be seen at trial time. Apparently Sabine H. found out about the murder victim through a job placement ad in the newspaper. She offered the unemployed foreign language correspondent a job. The women met repeatedly. A short time later one of the two was dead. Beaten to death in her own bed room.

Many Islamic groups speak with two tongues

Fundamentalists undermine the integration of Turkish youth in Germany
by Ahmet Arpad

Stuttgart, Germany
April 5, 2000
Stuttgarter Nachrichten online

Stuttgart - "The Mosque, a symbol of German-Turkish co-existence" - an absurd concept. Anyone who tries to hawk the notion that new mosques are a sign of stability is naive. Experience and practice, be it in Berlin, Duisburg, Cologne or Stuttgart, have taught us one better.

It is understandable that foreign people move into the same neighborhood together for social reasons. Ethnic communities are formed thus, isles which offer security. Yet ghettos turn into a devil's playground of discrimination. It is on this fertile ground that fundamentalists of the most diverse Islamic sects have settled. In the meantime, their associations are the only ones to look after the Turks living in the ghettos, to provide social services and to be active in the area of education. In many localities their services are even supported by the communities with six-digit financial contributions.

As far as senior city officials are concerned, those people are "in good hands." The mother is learning German and the daughter gets help in doing her housework. In the organizations' companies the long unemployed father once again finds work, and the son gets a position as a teacher after going through college. Everybody is happy, but the happiest of them all are the fundamentalists.

According to German Constitutional Security agents, however, they play a double role. On one side they present themselves to the public as a non-political representative of Islam, on the other side, though, they run propaganda campaigns, primarily in the ghettos. The question remains: to what end? Studies, like the recent work by Rainhard Hocker, "Youth in Islamic Organizations," shows that the growing influence of certain organizations is having effect, mainly on Turkish youth. The fundamentalists recognized their chance. They targeted this socially neglected area in the ghettos. In the meantime, Germany has almost the same conditions as the ghettos of Istanbul's metropolis of 12 million. That is where the representatives of political Islam look after those whom the state has neglected. They strive, through aggressive campaigns, for social and political change.

As far as the Islamic organizations in Germany are concerned, Moslems are at home here and have to be able to live by the rules of the Scharia. They consider Europe as a territory of Islam and believe that Islamized spaces should be created for people - whether for a classroom or an entire city district. In Germany the Islamists outwardly profess to Basic Law. Among themselves, however, the Law of the Scharia applies. Not infrequently, leading functionaries prefer the "Mehrehe." Are such people credible in dialogue?

The Islamic organizations, according to Constitutional Security, represent only ten percent of the Turkish population - trend rising - but, in Germany, are erecting the most Mosques and "Islamic cultural centers." They represent the most diverse Islamic sects and are often at odds with each other. However, they have a common goal: the Islamification of Germany in order to obtain the establishment of an Islamic state system in Turkey.

According to the strongly hierarchically membered organization of the Suleimanci, with about 20,000 members, it maintains 320 "Islamic culture centers." Those are where 60,000 mainly Turkish boys and girls are brought up in the teachings of Suleiman Efendi. Year after year young people are released into German society as elite Moslems - with a German passport and a Suleimanci identity.

The program of the Association of Islamic Culture Centers (VIKZ), which intends to construct a Mosque and an Islamic center, together with apartments and student dormitories, in the Heslach district of Stuttgart, plans the Islamification of Germany by expansion of Koran schools and training establishments. Cultural anthropologist Werner Schiffauer is of the same mind in his new book "Die Gottesmaenner" ["The Men of God"].

The Suleimanci order, which belongs to the VIKZ, is a descendant of the Naksibendi sect, which was founded in the 14th century. Prayer is done only behind a prayer-leader, meals consist only of meat slaughtered by their own butchers. For them the founder of their order, Suleiman Hilmi Tunahan, is "our greatest, our saint." Little is known of the content of their teachings. There are no publications which give information on the course of their belief. The Suleimanci had to stop publishing their magazine, "Anadolu," in 1980, after anti-Christian and anti-Jewish attacks. They perceive themselves as the most important keepers of Islam and believe that only 300,000 Moslems, all of them Suleimanci, will be chosen to go into Paradise.

No one knows what the VIKZ in Heslach actually has in mind. At the first big meeting in the council building as well as the recent round table meeting, its representatives dealt out information sparingly. It has not yet clearly presented its concepts. The Suleiman boarding school, with space for about 200 young people on Pettenkofer Str. in Mannheim, is also a closed book.

Besides for religious purposes, the nationwide "culture centers" are also used chiefly for youth work. The Mosque plays only a coincidental role. In Stuttgart, too, it deals mainly in youth programs. Its statements say that Islamic values should be imparted to young people. The Suleimanci from Cologne work in Heslach together with the Nurcu from Stuttgart. Their current partner is the religious community of Islam from the Jama'at un Nur community, which, in turn, is an important member of the Islamic Council.

The Suleimanci, in contrast, are represented in the Central Council of Moslems (ZMD). The General Secretary of the ZMD is concurrently General Secretary of the VIKZ. The Central Council, which is allegedly financed by Saudi Arabia through the Islamic World League (see "Moslemische Revue" 4/94, p. 278), maintains very good contact to the Islamic Council. Both would like to be acknowledged as corporations with public rights [which would give them certain rights and privileges in Germany], and also would like their Moslem children to receive religious instruction in German schools. The Milli Goerues dominate the Islamic Council and, according to various court decisions and Constitutional Security reports, is "an organization which represents a radical Moslem mentality." Relations are strained.

There are more than enough Mosques and houses of prayer in Stuttgart. They are not well attended. The Mosques are full only on certain days of the year. Even on Fridays there is no a lack of space. It is known that in Islam, the faithful need not absolutely go into the Mosque for prayer. Praying may occur anywhere. Also, almost every Mosque has recently had an "Islamic Education and Cultural Center" built. That is where the adults of tomorrow are to be educated in the teachings of the "Great Four" - Suleiman Efendi, Said-i Nursi, Fetullach Guelen and Necmettin Erbakan.

But our society needs tolerant and open people who think European. Germans, Turks, German-Turks.

"The first Christians did not have the subject of religion under [Culture Minister] Schavan"

Stuttgart, Germany
March 13, 2000
Suedwestdeutsche Zeitung

Winfried Kretschmann is asking for a pilot project in schools for Islamic instruction: the teachers, not the state, she says, should judge confessional content.

The latest appeal for Islamic instruction comes from Federal President Johannes Rau (SPD). This kind of demand from society and politics are piling up. Despite that, there has been hardly any progress in southwest Germany. Winfried Kretschmann, State Assembly Representative for the Greens, talks of both real and feigned problems in an interview with Baerbel Krauss.

From your point of view, why is Islamic instruction necessary in Germany?

For religiously affiliated students, it is important for them to receive religious instruction in an authentic manner which supports their identify. In Germany, we have the right model with the most grades of freedom: religiously affiliated students received religious instruction; non-affiliated students are provided with meaning in ethics instruction. Pluralism reigns. Besides that, Basic Law guarantees each religious denomination a claim to its own instruction.

Nobody is quibbling about this Constitutional right. But when the Basic Law was written, certainly Islam was not taken into consideration; it was probably mainly the Christian Churches and Jewry.

When one takes a look at the history of this Constitutional article, at the time it was written the topic of dispute was between the so-called independent religious movements and the established churches. Its text reflects that exactly. Every religious and weltanschauung community is equally justified. To that degree, our Constitution is well prepared for us to have Islam in the country as another religion.

In the discussion about Islamic lessons, fear that fundamentalist ideas could make their way into schools plays a major part.

That has to be taken seriously. The fear is justified. But the question is how one counters it. Not in that one judges a religion. The state, thank God, is not permitted to do that. Religion is free and not bound by any condition. But religious instruction must be given by teachers who have both feet on the ground with the rest of society, and who do not just passively tolerate Constitutional principles, but actively represent them. The state must see to it that Islamic religious teachers are trained according to our standards and monitors by the employers. That is the only way of preventing fundamentalist ideal from getting into schools.

Liberality for religious content should go for the entire spectrum: when speaking of world religions do we include pietistic splinter groups up to Hare Krishna and Scientology?

Somewhere, of course, there are boundaries. A religious community may not be allowed to use religion as a disguise for commercial purposes, which, from my point of view, is the case with Scientology. But that already basically applies. However, our resources are limited. Therefore, there must essentially be a minimum number of students available for courses to be given; the same goes for all subjects.

How should members of small religious groups go about getting a university education which is the basis for a career in teaching?

Naturally that will cause problems. Nevertheless we cannot let the standards slide. Such training routes have to be created. I've been making a case for a long time to have an Islamic faculty. The Reformers of 500 years ago also had a desire to raise the plateau of spirituality. We do not want to go back there, thank you.

Do you say that the school supervisors are enough to monitor Islamic instruction?

That is not enough. But when one has religious instruction as a proper subject in a school, besides the supervisors, there is also a certain social control. That goes for every teacher. There are already Muslims in the employ of the schools who are teaching other subjects. Many of them will get additional training and then also teach religion. At least that is how it would look in a transition phase.

Since you teach ethics, wouldn't you have ever liked to have taken religion out of the course plan and provided ethics for everybody?

That would surely be simpler, but it would be worse. One has to realize, as part of the deal, that religion continues to be forced out of public spaces. However, there is something very liberal and integrative about having to protect religion in a democratic, secular society, about having it pass through the fire of information. We need people who are tolerant because they possess an inner conviction, not because everything for them is more or less the same for them either way. A model which includes religious instruction is the most convincing one for that.

Islamic instruction has been in demand for years. Despite that, there has been little progress in Baden-Wuerttemberg. Why?

One can say that difficulties are a reason that a problem cannot be solved. I think that is exactly what is happening. Naturally there are problems - if nothing else the state needs people whom it can speak to who are Muslim. Instead of continuing to conjure up more difficulties, though, one could use the people there are as a pilot project and watch how they test out. Then the next step will occur by itself. I think these difficulties have little credibility, though, since they have existed for ten years. I am under the impression that Culture Minister Schavan is under pressure from Minister President Teufel and the CDU faction. They really do not want Islamic instruction, but they just will not admit it.

Mrs. Schavan invokes the Constitution and demands an Islamic point of contact from the organization for religious instruction. So far, there has not been one.

Of course there is one - just not in the sense of a church with a clear structure. Islam is now a religion which does not recognize official membership. But that kind of religion also has a title to what the Constitution offers. What the Culture Minister wants is to have the result of a process first. When one makes demands in the beginning, then the process does not get underway. One has to accept that there are models which do not fit the strong interpretation of the Constitution in regard to the point of contact. That will have to develop. If one does not even offer the Islamic organizations a trial project, then how will anything ever be agreed upon? There would not be any reason for it.

Should the Culture Minister get over it and simply grant the three applications for pilot projects?

Yes. As far as I can see, a cooperative attitude is lacking. That is all that is needed. The behavior of state and church is based upon cooperation. I don't see that with the Minister. The Islamic groups who want this trial are cooperative. They are working together with the Christian institutions with the course plan. That shows a great preparedness for cooperation. If one does not work with these people, the Fundamentalists will move in to have their own way.

In a recent interview, Annette Schavan has pled "that Islam in Germany, especially the many Islamic groups, must construct a representative structure for the future."

The Moslems are there to do that - up to the degree that those principles correspond to their own religion. Forcing Islam to assume a church structure is an attempt at conversion by the state. The arguments are especially piquant, because there is much criticism in the Christian churches that they are too protected. According to Mrs. Schavan's standards, the Christians who were organized at the time of Jesus would have no chance of enjoying our Constitutional rights; the first Christians did not have religion on their lesson plan.

Doubting America's ability to go it alone

Karsten Voigt, Coordinator for German-American Relations
on the new relationship with the USA superpower

Stuttgart, Germany
July 27, 1999
Stuttgarter Zeitung

In the Kosovo crisis, in trade or with the death penalty - differing opinions continue to pop up between Germany and the USA. Whether these conflicts will endanger the trans-Atlantic alliance was the subject of an interview by Michael Weissenborn with Karsten Voigt (SPD) at a visit to the Institute for Foreign Relations yesterday in Stuttgart.

You say that Germany will stand up for its viewpoints with greater self-confidence even with the USA. What is that based on?

We have been developing a stable democracy with our own democratic traditions. A general change has also taken place in German politics. The new generation does not want to forget the crimes of National Socialism nor the Marshall Aid Plan. In all appreciation for the U.S. role in the post-war era, however, it would like to bring the partnership principle into effect. That has always been offered by the U.S.A. In the long term, partnership relations between democracies are more stable than others

Were the limits of NATO solidarity of the red-green federal government reached in the German disapproval of use of ground troops in the Kosovo War?

At first all partners in the alliance had unanimously ruled out ground troops. The Kosovo case, however, cannot be a precedent: in the future more effort will be taken to adhere to a UN mandate, and the use of ground troops can - under the current real circumstances - only be effected by a unanimous decision by all partners of the alliance.

The U.S. magazine "Newsweek" wrote that Washington had been on the verge of a decision to deploy ground troops, but only the German disapproval had held them up?

I don't know if that's right. Surely there would have been a new discussion in Germany in the event that all other alliance partners would have been in favor of the use of ground troops. Fortunately the mission in Kosovo ended successfully even without ground troops. This does not mean that Germany will never deploy ground troops in the future. That must be decided on a case by case basis. Germany must have had a very important reason to decide differently than the rest of the alliance partners. Germany's being more reserved than the others has to do with our having taken an enormous step forward in the military action in what we have already done.

Do you see a danger that, because of the experiences in the Kosovo war, Europe will have more and more of a tendency to go its own way without really wanting to go any more? In other words: rely on the army.

The Kosovo war permitted the development of a European security identity within NATO to be more clearly seen. European have recognized that it has to do with developing the structures for that in NATO and the EU. That is also a question of a better defense politics agreement among the Europeans.

Can the economic competition between Europe and the USA act as a catalyst for better political integration?

The European unification need not lead to the alienation of the USA in order to develop its own dynamics. On the contrary: an increasingly unified and economically capable Europe also needs a partnership with the USA.

In foreign politics, the USA frequently blazes its own trail. Do you believe that the Americans still have to learn multilateral commerce first?

For the Germans, trade in the context of multilateral cooperation is a must. We will continue to urge the Americans to orient themselves toward multilateral trade. The Americans are often involved in attempts to go it alone. That contradicts our principles, and I believe that that, after all, also runs contrary to American interests.

Your office predecessor saw the danger of a trans-Atlantic "cultural rift", that Europe and America were drifting away from each other. Don't the numerous conflicts of value over Scientology, the death penalty and the internet show that he was right?

These differences are not more noticeable because we are drifting away from each other. We are experiencing more friction today because we are working together more closely. Therefore we notice the differences more easily. To an increasing degree we have a sort of inner political relationship with each other. Disputes over genetically altered meat, access to the internet and data protection are traditionally internal political themes, and they are becoming more and more important in Euro-Atlantic relations. We must learn to discuss such themes, which connect commercial interests and orientation of values, rationally with one another.

Series before Church Day:
Belief outside the large churches

(Number 8 in the series and conclusion)

Stuttgart, Germany
June 1, 1999
Stuttgarter Zeitung

"God's image can not kick you in the shin"

The members of Christian Science seek logical proof of divine dealings in their lives.

Fear, illness and suffering can be overcome with the methods of Christian healing - of this the Christian Scientists of the First Church of Christ are convinced.

by Katja Schmidt

Although their English name, "Christian Science," sounds similar, they have nothing to do with "Scientology," say the Christian Scientists ["Christlichen Wissenschafter" in German]. So what is it then, Christian Science (CS)? Religion, science and the belief in miracle healing - in a secular world, this is an almost exotic combination. However, the adherents of these teachings do not appear that exotic. Their church on List Street is sparsely furnished inside. Only the lectern and the motto "God is Love" could distract the attention of the faithful. The service on Sunday morning is just as simple. Each time the "congregation of witnesses" explain a little bit to outsiders about what Christian Scientists believe.

Every Wednesday evening they meet for a service and report of experiences in which the scientific methods of Christian healing have solved personal problems. Nothing could take away from the joy of the nationwide meetings of CS; unloved chores, in retrospect, turn out to be positive experiences, and some turn out to be spectacular to a certain degree: after having been poisoned, a young boy came back to life - a miracle from a medical perspective. What is scientific about that? "CS is based on systematic rules which follow a logical principle," explained Volker Steinlein, one of the five members of the board of the congregation which is 120 strong. "We start out thinking that God only wants good for his people, otherwise he would not have made us in his own image." Sickness, fear and hate are said not to have been foreseen in God's creation. "Who goes to the trouble of building something and simultaneously plans the destruction of his own creation? God is not cynical," said Steinlein.

So how does CS explain sickness and death? Even pain can be excruciatingly real: sufferers of migraine headaches could write a song about pain. One only has to recall knocking his shin on something. "It has to do with your mental attitude," says Steinlein. "How is God's image supposed to be able to knock into your shin?" By that he means the separation of spirit and matter on which CS is based. God's creation is said to be a spiritual creation which could not be influenced by matter. The person, as an expression of a divine idea, could not therefore be threatened by sickness. The physicist falls back upon mathematics in order to make the core of CS understandable to those who have difficulty grasping the concept. "Sickness is like a mathematical error. If I were to accept sickness, then I would also believe that God's creation was not perfect," said Steinlein. "That would mean something was wrong with the system. Nevertheless everything is quite logical."

The individual's discussion with CS plays a big role in one being aware of this logic. "It is important for everyone to continuously seek proof of the righteousness of CS in his life." The foundations for this are said to be the Bible and the book which appeared for the first time in 1875, "Science and Health with Key to the Holy Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy. In 1879, she founded the first congregation in Boston. Since 1904, there has also been a CS church in Stuttgart, the oldest in Germany. Today the CS is represented nationwide by about 100 congregations, and in the whole world in more than 70 countries.

As a lay church, the Stuttgart congregation also has the status of a registered association with an elected board for its administration. The community is financed solely through donations. "However, if someone lets himself be healed with the methods of CS, he can comfortably give a little more," believes Steinlein. In the United States, CS is generally better known than in Germany. A number of insurance companies, as it reads in a CS promo book, even permit the expenses of a Christian Science treatment there

In Stuttgart CS appears to have its (first) period of growth behind it. It says that its congregation today has 120 members. The assembly hall which was built in the 1950's has room enough for three times that. "For us it doesn't matter how many members our community has. The only thing which is important is the seriousness with which we all study CS," said Steinlein. The church does not send out missionaries. "After all, this has to do with science. Try sending out missionaries for mathematics once. That won't work, either."