Dear fellow human beings, dear supporters,

my name is Ismet Tekin. Standing next to me is my brother Rifat.

We are survivors of the October 9, 2019 attack in Halle. Jana L. and Kevin S. did not survive that day. I would therefore ask you to take a short minute of silence for the victims.

Thank you so much!

It is not easy for me to speak to you today, even if I am now more experienced in giving interviews. It takes a lot of strength to stand here with my brother.

We stand here, breathing and our hearts beat as always. Our bodies are intact, but not our souls. We have been struggling with the mental consequences of the attack ever since. My brother Rifat used to be cheerful and made us laugh. It is different now. Since then we have not had a carefree day or a quiet night. The fear of death, the concern for each other, the anxious hours of uncertainty and the great sadness about the loss of two innocent people accompany us every second. There was a life before the attack and now there is another life.

Our work in the Kiez-Döner is also not the same as it used to be. A young life was wiped out in our restaurant. Kevin’s death shook us hard. The Kiez-Döner has become a kind of memorial. A memorial for the victims of the cowardly, right-wing extremist attack of October 9, 2019. My brother and I would like to keep this establishment, not the least in memory of Kevin. We want this restaurant to remain in the heart of Halle and not to disappear and be “wiped out” in accordance with the will of the murderer. We don’t want to be driven out.

We will fight with all our strength for the Kiez-Döner’s existence. I promise. I know that many people in Halle see it the same way. They don’t want the Kiez-Döner to disappear either. And yet only a few guests come to our restaurant. Politicians have promised us help. And yet we didn’t get it. We also asked the city and the mayor for help. They were not in solidarity either. We were just left alone with our problems.

I wanted to join this trial as a co-plaintiff because the murderer’s shots just barely missed me. But the federal prosecutor was against it. The court dismissed me. They said the attacker didn’t want to kill me. I wish it was the case. Then maybe I wouldn’t have those nightmares anymore. I was only admitted on Friday. Why make it harder for me than it already is?

Something broke in our relationship with this country. I came to Germany 12 years ago with just a few words of German and a vague idea of ​​how my life could be here. Up until the day of the attack on the synagogue and our restaurant, I always saw Germany and Halle in particular as a cosmopolitan and friendly place. Up until October 9, 2019, I have never experienced exclusion, discrimination and hate here.

And I could never have imagined that someone could actually come up with the idea of ​​killing me and my brother simply because we are Muslims. I would never have thought that our Jewish fellow citizens would be attacked. Why should they hate us? We are not criminals or bandits! How naive of me. Naive, because I didn’t want to know and see what has been spreading in front of everyone for years: racism, hatred of Jews and Muslims, contempt for the weakest in our society, for refugees, homeless people, Sinti and Roma.

I ask those who have hatred in their hearts: why are you disturbed by our faith? Why do you hate us so much? Why can’t we just live together?

This trial is very important to us. We want to know where the offender’s hatred and cold-heartedness come from. We want to know how he became what he became and why society did not prevent him from following this unfortunate path. We want to know whether he had supporters and accomplices or just like-minded people.

Finally, I want the trial to help my brother and I to go through this life with ease and confidence again. I still hope it can be like it used to. Let’s all work together. Let us live together in peace and friendship.

Thank you for your attention!