Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Muslim Women in Europe, Great Series on NPR

I just started listening on line to a series of stories that have been running on NPR, a look Islam in Europe through the eyes of European Muslim Women.

From Germany comes the story of a German Lawyer of Turkish Decent, Seyran Ates, who has chilling stories to tell:

In 2005, Seyran Ates was named Germany's woman of the year for her work in defense of Muslim women in immigrant communities.

While defending Muslim women for the last two decades, she's been insulted and threatened by her clients' husbands and relatives. She was always able to brush it off, until last year.

As she was about to enter a Berlin courtroom with a client filing for divorce, the husband assaulted the two women. The man called the lawyer a whore, shouting, "What ideas have you put in my wife's head?" Ates says.

None of the many onlookers offered to help the women.

Ates says that brazen incident in public, at a time when she sees increasing Islamization in Europe, convinced her she had to shut down her practice. As a single mother, she says, her life and that of her young daughter have priority.

Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom...
there has been a visible increase in women's use of the face-covering niqab over the past year. Many women here have discarded the long colorful scarves typical of their South Asian cultures and now shroud themselves in black.

Unapproachable and faceless, they shop at the outdoor stalls. Many non-Muslims see the total cover-up as a sign of growing separation. Many Muslim women say it's a political statement, a sign of their new-found identity.

At the same time, there are those who

[do] not single out the 2005 London terrorist attacks as an act of extremism.

"I mean, look at 7/7, how many people died in 7/7? You look at the amount of rape and gun killings, gun crime, twice as much, three times as more people they're being killed," she says. "These are all extremes; to me any violence is extreme."

The series is left listening to and pondering.

1 comment:

passenger of life said...

Well I just wanted to talk about the position of the turkish women in the muslim world.
I ,a muslim Turkish, do not believe that we should be seen with turban or with black clothing covering the body.
What turkey is passing is a phase and we will be back to our secularity level once we solve our internal conflicts.
Well just wanted to tell what ı wanted.