What do you think about the hijab

Islam in Germany : Women with headscarves have two reasons for fear

“What can I carry in my handbag to defend myself?” As an Arabic-speaking lawyer, I received questions from women on a wide variety of topics. But I have never been asked questions about self-defense and whether it is allowed to carry pepper spray or weapons in a handbag in Germany.

Even so, just asking one woman would not cause me to write this article. But there are many questions and many women with headscarves who are afraid. Yes, you read that right, headscarf and be afraid!

"After what happened in Paris and Vienna, we are constantly being attacked as if we were the perpetrators," says an acquaintance from Syria. "A woman with a headscarf is seen in Germany as the representative of every idiot who calls Allahu Akbar."

Women also use social media to exchange ideas on how to defend themselves in the event of an attack. Experience is gathered and attack variants are listed. Early in the morning on the way to the training company, when picking up the children, in the evening at the supermarket - other situations are also described in detail and the best defense method is discussed.

Hostility increases after every terrorist attack

Young women who were unable to complete an apprenticeship in their countries due to the war and who are now looking forward to a new start are thinking about how they can get to their apprenticeship place safely early in the morning. "Is it our fate to constantly live in fear?"

After every terror attack in Europe, we are all extremely horrified in Germany. The danger seems to be very close. We feel fear, fear for ourselves and for our loved ones. Any of us could be in the place of victims. "We are also afraid ... do you think an assassin will not shoot if there are Muslims around?" Says my friend.

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But after every terror attack, Muslims in Europe experience fear twice. First of all the fear that everyone feels in this situation, and even more the fear of a more difficult, now more dangerous everyday life.

The racist slogans are getting louder

As a woman with a “neutral” demeanor and good German, one is not aware of the brutality that it means to be exposed to racism every day. But when you are out and about with friends in headscarves or with an Arabic-speaking group, Germany immediately feels strange. On the street, in the train, and in the supermarket, too, the racist slogans are clearly more and louder.

There is a passive audience in Germany, I can't think of a better way to describe it. When a veiled woman with a pram was shouted at and insulted by a German woman for no reason in the full train, the strategy of most on the train was to remain silent and look away.

I spoke to a German from a people's party about it. As a solution, he suggested that women should perhaps do without the headscarf. You would have better chances here.

The headscarf is an expression of personal freedom

I wouldn't write about that either if it were an individual opinion. Unfortunately, many, too many, think, if not out loud, that this is the ideal solution.

"A European woman in Saudi Arabia or Iran also has to wear a headscarf," is a knee-jerk argument when the subject is discussed. But Saudi Arabia and Iran are countries where "personal freedom" is an unknown term. The comparison of Germany with these countries alone represents a defeat for our democracy and our basic rights (in this sense I speak here as a German).

We have to come to an understanding that the voluntary wearing of a headscarf is also a right of freedom. But instead of promoting and protecting people's freedoms, women are required to "adjust" if they want to lead a normal life. Finally, I would like to shorten and share from my biography relevant to this article: I don't wear a headscarf myself!
Vinda Gouma is a German-Syrian lawyer and has lived in Berlin for eight years.

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