Tragedy draws Turkish 'Men Against Violence'
The horrendous killing of a mother-of-six by her mentally ill husband in Berlin this week prompted hundreds of men, mostly with a Turkish background, to gather at her house to speak out against domestic abuse. Jessica Ware went along. An anonymous courtyard in the Kreuzberg district was filled on Tuesday evening with a mix of mourners and demonstrators – it was here that Orhan S. threw parts of his wife Semanur’s body after killing her on the roof.
Those gathered lit candles and laid flowers on the ground in remembrance, but the talk was also of prevention. Many of the people there were wearing T-shirts bearing the slogan "Men Against Violence" above the image of a bushy moustache.
"Unemployment, drugs, poverty, they’re leading people to depression and violence,” said Ali Baba, 51, who helped organise the gathering. He works with community group Aufbruch Neukölln! - "Neukölln Awake!” which runs projects to try to prevent and stop domestic violence, as well as working with victims.
The horrors which took place on the roof and the attention they grabbed across the country have inadvertently given frustrated men from Germany’s migrant community a box on which to stand and decry an all too often hidden pandemic.
Baba has been working with Aufbruch Neukölln! for the past six years, helping men to fight drug addiction and raising awareness and rejection of domestic abuse.
Wider impact on the community
He, like others who turned up that evening, is concerned by the wider impact that Semanur’s killing has on the city’s Muslim and migrant people.
"We know that he was shouting 'Allahu Akbar' from the balcony, which means God is great in Arabic,” said Baba. "But what he did was nothing to do with God, Islam forbids murder and this has to be understood.”
Mourners had laid large photos of Semanur on the ground along with the candles and flowers – and hand-written placards reading, "Never turn away from help” and "We are shocked by so much violence”. (...)