Bonn At the Nordfriedhof in Bonn unknown culprits have desecrated the grave of a man who died of Covid-19. Among other things, a Hitler phrase was found at the Muslim resting place. Swastikas were smeared on other graves. And there is also upset about the man's death.
A Muslim family from Bonn lost a loved one to the corona virus under dramatic circumstances - and is now also confronted with a particularly perfidious kind of grave desecration. The 83-year-old Muhammad El Khaldi has been buried in the Islamic burial ground of the Nordfriedhof. On a note at the grave the family asked not to lay flowers. And on this very leaf someone has written with ballpoint pen: "We live in the Germany Heil Hitler“.
Adib El Khaldi from Oberkassel, the son of the deceased, discovered the graffiti at noon on Sunday. He met two cemetery gardeners who stood horrified in front of another grave that had been smeared with a swastika. Several of the other graves were also affected. El Khaldi is stunned. "This goes against all humanity," the 40-year-old said two days later. "It totally upset me, my sisters and my mother." His father, he says, died of corona just a few weeks ago. "For someone to disturb the peace of the dead is the worst thing."
Adib El Khaldi immediately filed a police report on Sunday. Police have taken the matter very seriously, he reports. "We have no leads on the perpetrators so far," says a police spokesman. The Staatsschutz, the police department that investigates politically motivated crimes, has been called in, he said. Last year, there was only one other "Staatsschutz-relevant" case in this area, he said. The scene of the crime was also the Nordfriedhof. In August, two women were racially insulted and attacked in the Muslim burial ground. A connection with the grave desecrations is not suspected, according to the police. If you have seen anything or can offer any hints on the culprits, please contact the state protection under 02 28/1 50. The integration representative of the city, Coletta Manemann, condemns the grave desecrations as "intolerable".
Adib El Khaldi saw his father just once more
Difficult weeks lie behind Adib El Khaldi, his sisters and his mother. The father's ordeal had begun in mid-November. An uncle had visited the mother for coffee and two days later had tested positive for Covid-19. Adib El Khaldi's mother developed headaches and a dry cough, but recovered. She had no previous medical conditions. Father Muhammad was fairly fit but diabetic at the time of infection. A high-risk patient.
"After ten or eleven days, it was a steep decline. Every breath hurt him," reports Adib El Khaldi. At St. Josef Hospital in Troisdorf, his father was given an oxygen mask but was still gasping for breath. After that, he said, he was intubated. "We knew he wouldn't survive," says Adib El Khaldi. And like so many relatives in the Corona crisis, the family could barely visit the sick man. Wearing protective coveralls and goggles, Adib El Khaldi saw his father one last time as he lay in an induced coma. "I felt the need to see him, even if he was not conscious." That brief visit was only possible because his sister was still working at St. Joseph's as a doctor in the intensive care unit at the time. She has since resigned. She was with the father every day and provided information to the family, which has lived in Bonn for decades. The blood values worsened from day to day.
For a week, the doctors tried everything to save his father, reports Adib El Khaldi. But then, he says, they suggested shutting down the equipment because of lack of capacity. The family refused, partly because of their faith: "God takes life, not a doctor.“
At first, the chief physician respected that, he said, but then appointed an ethics committee. When it ruled against shutting down the equipment, a second committee was convened, the grieving son said. That, too, declined, he said. Adib El Khaldi is furious: "You still have hope, for a miracle." The GFO clinics in Troisdorf do not comment on El Khaldi's case, citing medical confidentiality.
Due to Corona, it was a different kind of funeral
"It was especially bad for my mother," El Khaldi recounts. Despite the Corona-induced distance from her husband, she said she had a hunch the day he died. "We put pressure on her behalf, and she was allowed to visit him one more time." Shortly thereafter, Muhammad El Khaldi died.
Because of Corona, his funeral could not take place as usual. And that didn't just affect the limited number of guests at the funeral service. Normally, his father would have been washed and buried without a coffin, but infection control prohibits that. "Even in Muslim countries, people are currently buried in coffins," El Khaldi says.
Muslim graves are rarely richly decorated. Adib El Khaldi's sister also placed the note because cemetery visitors kept laying flowers on the bare earth. "It's nice," Adib El Khaldi says. But according to Muslim burial rules, the final resting place should be as plain as possible: "In death, everyone is equal before God."
Original text: Christine Ludewig. Translation: Mareike Graepel