Thousands of Germans have participated in silent candle vigils to pay tributes to Tuğçe Albayrak, a young Muslim girl of Turkish origin, who lost her life after rushing to help two women who were being harassed in a restaurant in the city of Offenbach in Main.
“Like countless citizens, I am shocked and appalled by this terrible act. Tugce has earned gratitude and respect from us all,” German President Joachim Gauck called the Albayrak family to condole with them, The Independent reported.
“She will always remain a role model to us, our entire country mourns with you.
“Where other people looked the other way, Tugce showed exemplary courage and moral fortitude.”
Tuğçe, 23, went into the coma on November 15 after she rushed to help two women in a restaurant where they were being harassed by three men of Serbian-descent.
The young girl was brutally beaten by one of the attackers, an 18-year-old identified as Sanel M., in a parking lot an hour after she had stepped in to help the women screaming for help in front of the restaurant’s bathroom.
Over the past two weeks, her family and friends had waited for good news as she laid in a coma. Yet, doctors said she was left brain dead by the attack on November 26.
Her parents then decided to take her from life support systems on November 28, the date of her birth 23 years ago.
Praising the young girl’s courage, thousands of Germans have staged silent protests in front of the restaurant where the scuffle erupted, bidding farewell to the brave girl.
The crowd wore t-shirts with Tuğçe’s photo captioned “Seni seviyoruz” (We love you) and held hand-written signs saying “Danke [Thank you] Tuğçe.”
Up to a hundred thousand people have also signed a petition calling for her to be awarded the Order of Merit.
Germany has Europe’s second-biggest Muslim population after France, and Islam comes third in Germany after Protestant and Catholic Christianity.
It has between 3.8 and 4.3 million Muslims, making up some 5 percent of the total 82 million population, according to government-commissioned studies. ONISLAM