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Who Represents German Muslims?
by Veli Sirin
A Sunni Muslim funeral for the slain student Tuğçe Albayrak, a German-born 22-year old woman of Turkish descent, was attended on December 3 by 1,500 mourners in Wächtersbach, a town in the western German state of Hesse. Prayers for Albayrak began in the local mosque, which is controlled by the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs [DİTİB], an official arm of the Turkish government that administers Sunni religious affairs in Germany. She was then buried in her hometown, Bad Soden-Salmünster, not far away.
Tuğçe Albayrak was an aspiring high school teacher, hoping to complete university courses in German language and in ethics. She was knocked to the pavement of a parking lot on the night of November 15, at a McDonald's restaurant in the city of Offenbach, also in Hesse. With a severe head injury and in a coma, she was kept alive for two weeks, but on November 28, her 23rd birthday, her parents asked that life-support technology for her be switched off, and she died.
Whether the death of Tuğçe Albayrak was caused by a blow to the head or by her impact on the pavement has yet to be made clear by investigators. But Tuğçe perished, according to witnesses, after trying to protect two German girls, 13 and 16, whom she allegedly heard complaining of harassment in the restaurant's toilets. The girls did not come forward immediately; following German law, their identities and statements remain confidential.
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