In NeukÃ¶lln, Berlin, a group of young Turks got into a fight amongst each other because they could not agree on who should retrieve a ball that had flown across a fence. Two Germans, Sven N. H. and Oliver H., passed by and tried to stop the fight. The Turks turned their anger on the two Germans, and Sven received a fist blow. The two Germans reacted by beating up the Turks. Some of the Turks called their cousins, who rushed to the place armed with knives. Even more Turks arrived, and Sven and Oliver had to flee to Oliver’s house. The Turks knew where Oliver lived, and armed with knives and daggers, they arrived at his house and started throwing things at the house and shouting threats at the two Germans. Oliver fled through the garden, but Sven chose to stay. An adult Turk yelled to Sven that the young Turks outside the door just wanted to talk. As Sven came out, the Turkish group started beating him up, and Sven tried to flee down the street. Sven fell, and the pack of Turks attacked their fallen enemy. Sven stabbed Yousef Al-Abed (18) with a kitchen knife, and Yusef died. Sven was admitted to the hospital with skull fractures. The state prosecutor said that Sven was acting in self-defence and that Yusef was among the most aggressive of the attacking Muslims.
3,000 Allahu-akhbaring Muslims attended the funeral of Yusef and thereby transformed NeukÃ¶lln into something out of the Gaza Strip:
Translated from German, Berliner-Zeitung, March 17: “Tense calm in NeukÃ¶lln”
After the death of 18-year-old Yusef, the prosecutor has now issued a notice that Yusef evidently belonged to the more aggressive of the group of young, armed Arabs and Turks that attacked the collapsed Sven N. Now the fear of riots has increased in NeukÃ¶lln (Berlin).
A few candles forming five letters, ‘Yusef,’ lie behind the flowers, letters, prayers, and photos. They remind us of the death of 18-year-old Yusef El-A., who died in a knife fight. A 34-year-old German named Sven N. allegedly stabbed him. This was two weeks ago. People still put flowers on Fritzi-Massary-street in NeukÃ¶lln. Two girls from the neighborhood were just there. Otherwise, you hardly see any people on the street. It’s so quiet you can hear the wind.
But underneath, there is a growing fear that the situation might lead to major conflicts. Last week, the prosecutor issued a notice that Yusef was probably one of the most aggressive in the group of about 20 young, armed Arabs and Turks that attacked the collapsed Sven N. So far, Yusef has been considered a victim who had stumbled into the fight by accident. The family El-A. found the prosecutor’s notice hard to believe. The family does not live near the crime scene, but in the so-called white settlement in NeukÃ¶lln. Many immigrants live here, almost one in two comes from the state. The local authorities have specialized in conflict resolution; there are courses for conflict mediators, street educators, mediators, and community helpers. They do not seem very successful. Yousef himself was until recently also active as a conflict mediator. The mother is a former participant in the integration project know as City Mothers.
Every day, young friends of Yusef gather in the living room of Yusef’s parents. As strict religious Muslims, they have a duty to seek out the relatives of a dead Muslim brother. They exchange news, talk about what they can do. Many are suspicious of the German authorities. ‘Yousef’s friends are completely devastated because he is suddenly portrayed in a negative way. This will surely lead to trouble,’ friends of the family say. On Facebook, friends threaten with wild anti-German insults and with vengeance. The family on the one hand wants there to be no riots, but on the other hand they fear that the name of their son will be dragged through the mud. ‘The investigation is not finished yet, so why do they publish things like this?’ a cousin asks. The situation is currently ‘calm but tense’. The young people are just waiting for a sign from Yusef’s father and they will burn down the neighborhood, they say.
Yusef’s father’s prudence has until now prevented riots. 3,000 Muslims from all over the city came to the funeral. It was the largest Muslim burial. The heated atmosphere was more reminiscent of the Gaza Strip than of NeukÃ¶lln. The father talked in the mosque and he even showed up with the police at the youth club, where Yusef used to go. ‘It is together that we have succeeded in calming emotions a bit,’ says a spokesman from the police.
But the danger is not over. What if Sven N. is acquitted? The NeukÃ¶lln Integration Commissioner Arnold Mengelkoch is worried that the Salafist mosques will use the situation in their propaganda. Yusef was a regular in the Al-Nur Mosque, which is observed by the German Intelligence. The propaganda will have great effect among the unemployed between 14 and 24 years old, says Mengelkoch.
The psychologist Kazim Erdogan, who has been debating with Arab-Turkish fathers, has observed that religious Muslims want to interfere. ‘This we must not allow.’ He is concerned about the increasing influence of religion among the youth. There are at least 20 mosques in NeukÃ¶lln, maybe even 32.
For Mengelkoch, the case of Yusef is a problem for NeukÃ¶lln. ‘Arab family clans appear regularly in hospitals and schools in order to make ruckus over trifles.’ Mostly in groups, usually armed. For Yusef it was fatal.’