Sonntag, 28. Februar 2016

"No space for women"

What do you do if in a mosque there is "no space" for women? Faraz Rabbani advised the following. Says a lot about us as a community that we have gotten so much used to nonsense ("sorry, no women allowed; there's just no space, what can we do"), that we're close to be shocked when we hear such a simple, common sense answer (by a highly qualified, highly regarded sheikh, after all).

Mittwoch, 24. Februar 2016

In my memory

When a song was written for Northern Ireland, but works perfectly for Sarajevo, Beirut, Aleppo or Homs, too. It's the same pain, always.
"But when I returned how my eyes have burned 
To see how a town could be brought to its knees
By the armoured cars and the bombed out bars

And the gas that hangs on to every tree
Now the army's installed by that old gasyard wall
And the damned barbed wire gets higher and higher
With their tanks and their guns, oh my God, what have they done
To the town I loved so well"

Montag, 15. Februar 2016

When life hands you lemons...

Or: How I was chosen for a "random" security check, and ended up giving an impromptu live hijab tutorial

Sunday morning, at the airport. I forget to take off my watch, the metal detector goes off.
I think, 'they'll quickly check with the portable metal detector'. No, they want to search me in a separate room.
Ok, whatever. It's me and two female security officers who close the curtain behind them.
I think, 'they'll quickly pat me down and I can go'. No. Not that easy, not that quickly.
It's them, and me.
Female security officer (FSO) 1: 'Can you please take your scarf off, madam?'
Me [with a strong expression of WTH on my face, raised eyebrows and all]: 'Take MY SCARF OFF?'
FSO 1: 'Yes.'
FSO 2 [smiles, looking slightly embarrassed]
Me: 'Okkkk...'
I take off my scarf. FSO 1 pats me down from head to toe, doesn't forget to check my socks (because THAT'S where we Muslimist terrorist extremists hide our bombs, you know), a few minutes later she says I can put back my scarf on.
I reach for it. There is silence. And I think, 'You know what...'
Me: 'Well, at least you'll get to see now how I wear my scarf...'
FSO 1 and FSO 2 both look at me.
I force a smile.
Me: 'Yes, because there is different ways of tying it. I usually do it likes this...'
FSO 2 [looks at me pointing on my scarf, nods hesitantly]
Me: 'So first I put the scarf here. On top of this [I point on the undercap]. I always wear one of these underneath. Otherwise it can be really annoying when the scarf doesn't stay in place but keeps moving around. You know, that's just REALLY annoying. One time around and then a pin here...'
FSO 1 and 2 both follow my movements and nod in agreement.
FSO 1: ' And do you wear it in the summer, too?'
Me: [little excursus about light fabric, long sleeves, and breezy maxi dresses]
Both nod again and touch the fabric of my shirt when I hold it towards them.
FSO 1: 'Do you have scarves in many different colours?'
Me [laugh]: 'Oh yes, I do. But my favourite is pink!'
FSO 1: 'Pink is great!'
Me: 'Pink is the best!!'
We all laugh.
FSO 1: And makeup is not allowed?
Me: [short explanation about my personal preference (no makeup), scholarly opinions (divided), and individual choices (it depends)] ... 'and then there is those who believe it is not allowed but they do it anyway. But that, you have it in all religions, don't you, you have Christians, too, who do that...?'
They both nod enthusiastically and murmur in agreement.
FSO 2: 'And now this pin?'
Me: 'No, that one comes all the way in the end. Look, here. I'll use this one first, here, and then that one. See, now it is all in place.'
I look at myself in the mirror and see both of them turning towards my reflection in the glass.
Me: 'I just need to pull at little here, and there, and then ... that's it, done!'
Smiles all around, and I leave, pick up my baggage and look for my gate.