Almost every day, something happens which reminds me of an interview (g) the Rheinische Post newspaper did with a Swiss woman, Gaby Zweng, in January of 2016. She has lived in Egypt for 17 years, and has had relationships with both Christian and Muslim men. She stressed that she herself felt safe in Egypt, and that the vast majority of Egyptians condemned the sort of sexual harassment that happened in Cologne.
But she also had a few other things to say:
You have surely heard of the attacks on New Years' Eve in Cologne. Does it surprise you that Muslims did something like that?
Zweng: Let's just say that it doesn't surprise me that men from Arab countries could do something like that.
Zweng: I am constantly aware here that events which are ascribed to Islam by the West happen just as often among Christians as among Muslims. Both religions live here alongside one another, and I think it's more a question of mentality than religion.
So the problem is not Islam but Arabic culture?
Could you imagine that something like what happened in Cologne might also happen in Cairo?
Zweng: Yes, that happened during the revolution in Cairo in Tahrir Square. Women went onto the streets and protested. I think that such things happen so that Arabic people can enjoy the suffering of other people, and that men especially want to raise their profile, especially in a group
Why do you think that Arabs, in particular, enjoy the suffering of others?
Zweng: Arabs love videos in which other people have accidents and suffer misfortunes. They find it funny. This has caught my attention, as well as that of some of my friends.
You mean videos of silly accidents and pratfalls like ones in Germany, or ones in which people are seriously injured?
Zweng: No, these are certainly serious videos. This is probably a result of the fact that here, you teach children what's right and wrong by hitting them, and people as a whole are much more likely to resort to violence than we are. That's how they are raised.
The latest incident that made me think of this interview was the arrest of seven young men -- six from Iraq, one from Libya -- for setting a homeless man on fire in a Berlin subway station.