On 19 September, the next call came through, this time from her daughter-in-law: "She proudly said that Issa was now Shahid, a martyr. He had died in the fight for Allah." Sabine's voice now sounds bitter: "No, Christian did not die in the fight for Allah, but in the fight for al-Baghdadi and his criminals." Photos and videos of Christian's bloody body in the desert sand east of Homs quickly appeared on social media channels.

Sabine now has tears in her eyes, for the first and only time during the hours of conversation. "In such a moment you don't think anymore," she says. She speaks about the grief, the horror, the powerlessness. Faith gives her stability. "I find peace in it."

IS terrorist Lappe with his wife Yasmina (photo: private)
Sabine Lappe likes this picture, but not the one that followed it: it shows a positive pregnancy test balanced on an assault rifle

The unreachable grandson

She is a lonely woman with almost no one left. People try to avoid her as soon as they learn who she is. "Are you the mother of THE Christian Lappe?" She has grown used to the question. "Yes, I AM the mother of THE Christian Lappe," is her usual reply. "And I am not dangerous. I don't wear a Kalashnikov under my robes, and I don't chop anyone's hands off, either."

The mother of a dead terrorist. That is who she has become. The label clings to her. The pharmacy on her street doesn't serve her. "When I wanted to redeem a medical prescription the other day, I was asked to leave. You are simply an idiot. You are the mother who failed. Or you are considered a terrorist yourself." She hasn't visited her old mosque community in a long time, either. The congregation fears that she would cast a bad light on them.

At the end of 2017 Christian's son was born in what is now largely former IS territory in Syria – on his fatherʹs birthday. Sabine shows some photos. The boy resembles Christian. His widow, Yasmina, is now married to the Iraqi fighter Christian chose for her. Sometimes weeks pass before Sabine hears from her.

Sabine's greatest wish is to be able to hold her grandson. But she doesn't believe that her dream will ever come true. "I felt it with Christian that I would lose him. And I feel that I will lose the little one, too."

Esther Felden

© Deutsche Welle 2018

More on this topic
In submitting this comment, the reader accepts the following terms and conditions: Qantara.de reserves the right to edit or delete comments or not to publish them. This applies in particular to defamatory, racist, personal, or irrelevant comments or comments written in dialects or languages other than English. Comments submitted by readers using fantasy names or intentionally false names will not be published. Qantara.de will not provide information on the telephone. Readers' comments can be found by Google and other search engines.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.