Veiled PAGE

Email:   vulcan@anarchocat.com

Part 1

It's strange what was fashionable these days. It was totally in, to have beautiful long dresses and skirts made by the Turk in our street, and each was an unmistakable and expensive unique piece. A new awareness for quality had prevailed more and more. It was no longer necessary to dress every three months according to the latest fashion dictate, but rather to dress with less, but beautiful and valuable things. Especially for us less wealthy, this was a better option than walking around in these ugly and exploitively manufactured discounter clothes. The mood was generally much calmer and people were much more relaxed and optimistic. All of them were still aware of the pictures of the Muslim peace demonstrators bludgeoned by neo-Nazis and our indignation was great. Therefore I had joined the 'Young Patriots' at that time. Our goal was to create a land for all citizens in Germany, as demanded by the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany. It was astonishing how quickly the Nazispuk disappeared again into oblivion. Our political actors of the established democratic parties smelled the morning air. A new spirit of optimism spread among the citizens. For the first time we got a new liberal immigration law and an effective law against incitement of the people, which quickly silenced the racist agitation, especial the ‚Bildzeitung‘. I was a sweet sixteen-year-old teenager at the time and was urgently looking for an apprenticeship. My father had let us down and my mother Lizzy was sick. We lived on Hartz4, the German form of social welfare, more bad than right. And we was not alone poor in our district. So we 'young patriots' met regularly in the ‚Bürgerhaus‘ to discuss our situation and to organize social help for the elderly and the sick.

"Hi, Jenny, what's going on", Achmed greeted me when I entered. "Everything as it was and with you?"

"Just sent out the two hundredth application. Hope dies last," he said. I liked the way Achmed treated problems. There was apparently nothing that could detain him.

"But I might have something for you," he said.

"Speak up!" I said.

"My uncle Murad has the tailor's shop in your street and he's looking for a girl for sewing. What do you think, as a temporary solution, until you find something, that's not bad, is it?"

"I can't tailor, but I'd love to learn," I said and thought:

"No matter what, the main thing is to do something!

"Let's just go after the session, okay?" he said.

"Okay, why not? It can never hurt to make an effort! In the session we discussed how we could fight racism in some companies, because those of us who did not have a German name had a double difficulty in finding a job whose applications often ended up unread in the trash.

While leaving, Achmed asked to me:

"You know that we are Salafists? I said:

"To be honest, I have no idea of your religion. Explain it to me, please." "Well, we Salafists are strictly believing Muslims. In Germany we are always confused with the Wahabis, that's the Saudi terrorists, not us. We believe that terrorism is a terrible sin. I only tell you this because my uncle expects a girl to dress decently and be obedient."

"But I don't have to disguise myself, do I?" I asked him a little worried. "Nonsense, behave modestly and inconspicuously and speak only when asked. By the way, you make me happy when you walk three steps behind me," he said.

"All right, my lord and master!" I said mischievously, and I thought to myself in silence, when I have learned to tailor, I can always earn some money and make the most beautiful clothes for myself and others.

--'Craftsmanship has a golden bottom'-- is the word of the day!

We reached the shop and entered. This time I did not come as a customer. How will Murad react? Achmed went directly to his uncle and greeted him by kissing his hand and then leading it to his forehead. I did it like him to Murad's astonishment.

"Hello, Jenny, how do I come to this honor?" he asked me.

"I only try to behave correctly so that I can learn the tailoring trade from you," I said.

"Dear, only relatives greet each other with a kiss on the hand. At our place women never shake hands with strangers, but thank you for your nice gesture and now we want to make ourselves comfortable with a cup of good tea in the living room. Well, come on!"

I got a bright red head and was glad that I was allowed to follow the men, so they could not see it.

"Selima, please bring us some tea! We have guests" called Murad and asked us to sit down. Then a woman, dressed in Turkish, traditional style, that is long, wide dress and hijab pulled far in the face, entered the room and handed us tea and biscuits wordlessly and disappeared as she had come: like a silent shadow. I was fascinated. Soon I should get to know the names Ruband, Abaya, etc..

"Well", Murad said, "I'm not allowed to train you in Germany, because I don't have a master's degree, but I can hire you as an assistant, so you can learn the tailor's craft if you want. But it is important to me that you dress decently and adapt to our way of life."

"I have to dress like your wife Selima, don't I?

"Yes, if you wear Hijab and Abaya it is enough for me. Selima, please show Jenny how she has to dress," he shouted after her. Immediately she appeared and waved to me to follow her.

"Hello, Jenny! I am glad to get to know you! If you are allowed to work with us, we will certainly see each other more often. So, let's see what we can do for your new outfit. Your dress is really pretty, but a little too open-hearted for our demands. You bought it from us, didn't you?"

I just nodded and looked at Selima in amazement, she definitely didn't look like a Turk on closer inspection.

"Let me guess: you're surprised that I'm a German, aren't you? Yes, I married a Turk sixteen years older and I am a converted Muslimah! Here, put this on, please."

She handed me a skirt and a blouse. The skirt was wide cut and reached up to my ankles. When I put on the hip-long, wide blouse with long arm and stand-up collar, my figure was only a memory. Selima tied my hair with a black scarf until there was no hair left.

"Now a pretty hijab and you are presentable! There are different techniques to bind it. Now I'll show you how to wear it around us."

She placed a transparent, flexible plastic sheet in the scarf and folded it into a triangle. So she could pull it wide in my face without the material dropping over my face, it now looked more like a hood. A wide overheadabaya, that's actually just a scarf with a hole in it that stuck out over my stomach in the front and over my bottom in the back, completed my new 'modesty'.

"If you hold your head a little down, no one can see your face except perhaps the tip of your nose".

We stood next to each other in front of the mirror and I saw two twins. The hijab hoods gave us a somewhat Madonna-like look, I somehow felt innocent and untouched, which I actually was. Although I got pretty hot under the dense fabric, I felt strangely comfortable. I thought it was okay to get dressed like that, to get the job, that's the way it is.

"From now on you should only dress like this, then you will get used to it as soon as possible. The best thing is to bring your clothes from home tomorrow morning. I'll show you how to sew Muslim dresses and veils, that saves you a lot of money and you'll learn how to sew at the same time".

Then we returned to the men. We discussed some more details and then left. On the street I first noticed that I was still wearing Selima's clothes, but Murad said:

"I'll donate you the clothes, then you'll be dressed properly in the morning."

Achmed kindly accompanied me home. A Muslimah walking three steps through the street behind a man and I thought it was okay. Strange? Have I discovered a new side to myself? Confused I followed him, but not without admiring his crunchy ass.

 

"What are you doing in my apartment?" Lizzy yelled at me. I always called my mother by her name. Then she recognized me and I thought I heard her lower jaw dislocate. At the same time our neighbour and friend of my mother's, Sandra, entered the apartment.

"Allah u akbar, barn owl," she greeted me and took me in her arms. That was typical of Sandra! I have never seen her lose her composure in any situation. Lizzy needed some time to catch herself:

"What do you look like? It's still a bit late for carnival! Or what is the masquerade about?"

I also took her in my arms and pressed her happily:

"Mama, I have a job! I can work from tomorrow at Murad, the tailor."

"Shit" was the unanimous comment.

"We'll make ourselves a cup of coffee first, then I'll explain the Hartz4 rules to you."

As already said, my father had run away years ago and left my mother a pile of debts and me, her little daughter. She had to fight very hard in that time to get us through and at the same time service the debts. Sandra was the only one who helped Lizzy and me in the emergency. When it looked like we were over the hill, she collapsed and has been paralyzed on the left side ever since. We live on welfare, called Hartz4 in Germany, more bad than right. Mother then explained to me that as soon as I earn money, the Hartz4 rate will be reduced.

In other words, you work and still have to queue up at the 'Tafel' to receive the remains of the affluent society as alms. We were hardly able to bear the extra costs caused by my mother's illness. Everything became more and more expensive.

Shit! I have to talk to Murad tomorrow morning.

Part 2

Jenny:

 

The alarm clock rang. It was six o'clock in the morning and my very first working day, so true Hartz4 would leave me. But now I started to go up and down to the bathroom and afterwards I dressed especially carefully in my new clothes and veils. Immediately this strange feeling set in again. The thick and heavy fabric gave me the feeling as if I was protected. Involuntarily I looked on my mirror image for the smallest visible hair. Everything had to be perfect. Satisfied with my work I went to the kitchen, where Lizzy and Sandra were already waiting for me with breakfast. Sandra was sexual, I say, flexible and since Lizzy, since the debacle with my producer, reacted rather cautiously to male company, a small but fine community of interests had developed in my family. Sandra was really a great friend and we loved her very much. Both were friends and mothers for me. How they looked at me. Their eyes reflected a mother's pride in a capable daughter who started her first job and at the same time were astonished at my new clothes. I went to them and they took me in their arms.

"Do not worry. Everything will be all right. I'll talk to Murad right away. We'll find a solution."

"Oh, child, you are only sixteen and have to make such difficult decisions. You should have fun and enjoy yourself."

"Listen, you're my mommies, giving you back some of what you gave me is the biggest fun I can imagine," I said with a good portion of irony in my voice and a mischievous grin.

We cried a round of luck together, then I grabbed my suitcase containing the things I wanted to tailor and set off.

It's nice when your work is where you live. At seven o'clock I stood at the back entrance to be let in by Selima. I didn't recognize her at first, because she wore a white, silky and very long veil in front of her face. Where her eyes could have been, there were flowers embroidered so that she could see through them.

"Come in, dear! Oh, how pretty! I see you brought clothes to sew on," she greeted me. She took me in her arms and rubbed her forehead against my temples. It was a great feeling how fabric rubbed against fabric. Then I did it like her.

"Why do you wear this strange veil? I can't even see you anymore." I asked.

"This veil is called Ruband and is worn in the area of Murad by the faithful Muslimahs when they leave the women's sphere. Maybe you'd like to give it a try." she asked me.

"No, thank you, Selima! That's a bit too much Islam for me all at once. Listen, when Murad has time, I would like to discuss something with him." "Jenny come to me. I'm in the office." called Murad.

"Sit down and tell me your grief! I just shouted:

"Hartz4!!!!"

"I had already thought so. If you work here, these social people will cancel your help. It is clear to you that with me you can earn only at most something in addition. What do you think of payment in kind?"

"Sorry, please, that is not your seriousness! I am not a whore" I said outraged.

"By Allah, no! You have completely misunderstood me! I meant real food", he turned bright red and Selima could hardly keep up with laughter. I also had to laugh and a short time later he fell into a liberating laugh with us.

 

--Dear reader! Surely you are wondering how can my 16 year old probant already comprehend adult things and with what playful ease she deals with adult language. Normally your children can do this too - but they don't have the courage to show it to you.--  

 

Their sense for a special kind of humor met my taste completely. I could feel at home. And I began to love them.

" Look! I do once the week a bulk purchase for Selima and me. From now on I'll do it for you, too. That is then easily five to six hundred euro in the month, which I can give to you and your mother. What do you think of that?" My tears started coming and I said:

"I can't do anything at all and you want to help us so generously! That is much too much!

"Well, Fräulein! Who is the boss here? Well? Answer me!

"You!" I answered meekly.

Selima embraced me from behind and said:

"For us Muslims it is a sacred duty to help. It brings us a little closer to paradise and we show Allah our great love for him.

"According to this logic you should thank me that we let you help us," I said cheekily and:

"Thank you, you are really incredible! I want to thank your Allah that I met you," I said deeply moved.

"Do not really tell anyone what we agreed, not even Achmed. I'm going home with you tonight to discuss everything with Lizzy and Sandra. The authorities could otherwise twist a rope for us out of our deal. They could even close the store for me." I thought:

"Where does he know Sandra from?"

"Of course, only if we make ourselves punishable with food presents, then I wonder who or what I am for in this country? A parasite, or what?" I said furiously.

Murad looked at me very seriously and said:

"You begin to understand and I want to help you take your rightful place in this world. Inshallah! Now go to the living area with Selima. There she can train you on the sewing machine without disguising herself."

Part 3

"Come on, I want to show you our house first." She led me into the spacious living room that I already knew, from there we entered a lush winter garden with a fountain in the middle. Then she showed me her own room or rather apartment. Nothing was missing here. She even had a toilet, her own bathroom, a small kitchenette and a separate study. Here was also the sewing machine where I was to be trained. Selima took off her ruband and hung it in the cupboard. Then we emptied my suitcase. She sorted my clothes and handed me my winter skirt.

"Now I'll show you how to cut seams without destroying the fabric."

For the next few weeks she taught me everything I needed to know for my work. My self-made small collection soon lay in front of me. I was wearing a hijab that I had made from my colourful summer skirt. Over it I pulled an overheadabaya. I had it especially wide and long so that I was completely covered except for my face. To cover myself decently had become as natural for me as brushing my teeth. I learned to say the prayers five times a day and read the Qur'ân al-kerîm in German. Since the work rested during the prayer times, I could pray three times a day with my friends.

 

Sandra and Lizzy

 

"Hey! Lizzy, what are you looking at so thoughtfully?" Sandra asked worried.

"I'm worried about Jenny! As she stood there before us in her Muslim garb, strange thoughts went through my mind! said Lizzy.

"Me too! Only - have you ever really looked around how everything has changed?

In 1989 the wall and communism fell and we were as old as Jenny is today. Can you still remember the attitude towards life and our dreams? We wanted an emancipated and self-determined life and if someone had predicted a life with Hartz4, we would have laughed at him. We studied and dreamed of a professional career as a matter of course. And what has become of it? Let's hope that Jenny will get better some day. I think it's going to be pretty difficult for us to keep up with the changes the world still has in store for us."

Sandra lamented in her usual teacher-like political liturgy.

"Oh, a message from Jenny!"

 

-- Please clean the toilet! Bring my new boss tonight!--

 

"Always sweet, the little one! Come on, let's clean the toilet and maybe prepare something for dinner. We get apparently high visitors" Sandra laughed and Lizzy agreed, now a bit more relaxed.

"But first let's reap the fruits of our unemployment and have fun. Let's shake up the duvets a little" Sandra said and looked covetously at her friend.

"As you always know, what does me good, dearest friend!" And so they went to make sure of the usefulness of the duvet sets.

Part4

In the evening :

Selima taught me my new craft for the first time with patience and devotion. It was really interesting to see how a piece of cloth became a piece of clothing. In some time she let the work rest and then prayed. Since I had nothing better to do, I knelt beside her. She rewarded me with a warm smile.

"It was nice to see you kneeling down to me during my prayer. If you want, I will teach you our prayers. It would be nice to pray with you."

"Do you always interrupt work to pray?" I asked her.

"Yes, we Muslims pray five times a day at fixed times," she said.

"If you want me to, l'd be happy to do it! It is not possible to learn enough" I said. I was honestly interested in her religion.  I was really interested in this foreign religion. One religion that might persuade such a beautiful Western woman to bend to such stringent clothing rules must be very special.

Then we went back to work and at the next break she instructed me in the ritual ablutions and my first Arabic words I learned to praise Allah. Soon it was time to stop working for today and go home.

Selima and I sat down in the living room to have a tea with biscuits and to wait for Murad. It was totally relaxing to chat with Selima, but after about half an hour I got a bit impatient. Selima whispered to me:

"He deliberately keeps you waiting. He wants to know how patient you are. Don't do him a favor and relax. Sometimes only stubbornness would help with Turkish men. Get used to it if you want to continue working here."

Strange! I felt more and more comfortable in the role of the patiently waiting, submissive woman. I liked to wear this all-covering clothing and to walk three steps behind a man and look at his ass while I was doing it, made me really fuzzy.

God or better Allah! I was just sixteen years old at that time. A blank sheet of paper. And I was so happy that these people reached out to me so lovingly and helped me find my destiny in life.

Part 5

Finally Murad had mercy and pleased us with his appearance.

"I hope Jenny, the time hasn't been too long for you, but I still had urgent calls to make." he said.

"But not yet! We passed the time with a little female chat," I replied.

"Good, then let's go! It's not far. Please cover yourself, Selima!"

Selima covered herself with a ruband and then we stepped onto the street, Selima with a tray in our gloved hands. While we followed the boss in due distance, I looked at Selima. This piece of cloth in front of her face seemed to change everything for me. Suddenly a dear friend became a faceless woman.

"Does it bother you that I come with you or why do you look so surprised? "No, this Ruband makes everything so mysterious. On the one hand I have to tell myself that you are under it and on the other hand I find it good that you cover yourself. I'm probably a little overwhelmed with the situation. Forgive me for staring at you."

Our little procession, Murad ahead, approached my tenement house. Instead of letting me unlock, he rang my mother's bell.

"Yes, please! Who's there?" it sounded from the intercom.

"This is Murad Arslan! I would like to discuss something with you. The door opener hummed and we entered. As we walked up the stairs to the second floor, we were curiously awaited by Sandra and Lizzy in the stairwell. We had to make a strange trio for them: A Turk with a completely veiled woman and a half veiled woman in his entourage came up the stairs.

"Welcome, come in, please." Sandra said, as always taking the plot.

"We already know each other, Mr. Arslan, and I suppose the veiled lady in her company is your wife, right?"

"Yes, this is my wife Selima."

"Hello, Selima! Is it all right for you if we talk among neighbours, Mr Arslan," she asked.

"Sure, my name is Murad and your names are Sandra and Lizzy, right? Selima baked a cake as a little present." Sandra led our guest into the living room.

"Are there still strange men here or are they still expecting some?" Selima asked. When it was denied, she took off her veil. My mammies were amazed when a damn pretty German face smiled at them.

"So it is much more comfortable for me and certainly more pleasant for you to look at," she asked,

"Yes, I am converted and native Kraut to answer your questioning looks." she laughed and my mammies laughed too, the ice between them was broken. Then the food was served and I have to say that the girls had already achieved something neat. After the meal Murad explained how he wanted to pay for my work. Not without the protest of my mammies:

"But it's so generous of you to train Jenny in a trade and we've always got along so well," Lizzy said.

"I'm Jenny's boss and the child doesn't work for me for nothing, I owe it to myself! Either you accept it or we leave it at that."

My emancipatory mummies didn't hear that tone from any man yet. They gave in to meekness. And it also gave me a good feeling to have a man who spoke plain language in our circle. I suspected how a real man could do a family good. Then we ate some of Selima's delicious cakes and drank tea. It was a very nice and happy evening.

 

Murad Arslan:

"Hello Ibrahim; my brother! I have good news from the Islamization Front. We should meet again. How about tonight at the café?" texted Murat. "Is 8:00 p.m. right with you?"

"Okay, see you tonight." texted Ibrahim back. In the café they met in the evening and told each other their news.

"Sheik Achmed Kabir ordered me to recondition my wife. All men in leading positions must. We should work more publicly and fully veiled women don't fit into the picture. Until Islam has established itself on a broad front, I will have to live with it for better or for worse." Ibrahim said. "Brother, I suffer with you! How good that I am only a small tailor. My wife Selima now wears the ruband and has become an impeccable Muslimah. And a new fish has gone into my net, little Jenny Wiesner and her two lesbian mothers are already on the waiting list. Now that the whole street is connected to the gas network, it's only a matter of time before they belong to us as well. How do you actually handle lesbians?" asked Murad. "They will soon convert and then of course stop their sinful activities and be available for our marriage market."

Part 6

Sandra and Lizzy:

 

It's Friday and Jenny is sitting at the breakfast table with her mothers. "It's about time! You have to go to work, Jenny!" said Lizzy.

"It's Friday, we Muslims have a day off. Murad takes me to the mosque today for Friday prayer. What do you think, don't you want to come with me? Please, I would be so happy to experience something with you again." Jenny said.

"I have to go to a mosque? You probably insane? And what does 'we Muslims' actually mean there? Have I failed to see something?" Lizzy reacted annoyed.

"Darling, you take all this much too seriously! Now let Jenny try it out and if she wishes it so much, then we'll come with her. It is the chance to get a taste of a foreign culture. By the way, I would also like to see Selima again." Sandra said.

"Earth to Sandra! Don't you understand that I'm worried about Jenny?" Lizzy asked.

"What are you worried about? That Jenny will become a Muslimah who runs deeply veiled three meters behind her lord and master? Sandra said. "For example! I finally raised her to be an emancipated woman and not a slave," Lizzy resisted.

"Such great emancipated women as we who let ourselves be harassed by the ARGE from one measure to the next. What a self-determined and emancipated life we lead! Or like Mrs. Walter, who goes hooking to finance her son's medical studies," Sandra replied.

"Please stop arguing about me! It's also not easy for me to share this fucking Hartz4 life with you. I'm just trying to get the best out of this fucking situation. If I can tailor, I can always supply myself somehow independently. Mrs. Walter hasn't worked in her job as a medical assistant for years and you overqualified yourself for the job market with your studies. The chances of getting through with a proper handicraft are much better," Jenny said and ran howling into her room.

"Uff, that made it! Lizzy goes to her and comforts her. Your daughter needs an understanding mom now." Sandra said. Sandra could have saved herself the comment, because Lizzy was already running behind her daughter.

"Child, dear! Forgive me! We all have a hard time nibbling on our destiny. And how ungrateful I am, you and Murad will spare me the humiliating way to the 'table'. If you want it so much, Sandra and I will come with you to the mosque." Then they lay in each other's arms and howled. Sandra stood with wet eyes in the door frame and thought:

"I think a lot will change soon. I have to take care of my two loved ones so that nothing happens to them". After Jenny caught herself again, she said:

"I'll tell Murad you're coming with me. Tell Selima to bring something neat to wear for you."

"I will not disguise myself, Fräulein" said Lizzy, falling back into her old cliché. Sandra said, a little annoyed:

"Shut your mouth for once! Nobody wants to disguise you. A long skirt and a headscarf will probably be enough! They went back to the kitchen and finished their breakfast in peace. Soon Murad and Selima arrived. He carried a heavy suitcase and said:

"Girls, Selima has brought a 'small' selection of Muslim clothes for you. It's best if you move to another room for a fitting."

"Bring the suitcase into the bedroom and then sit in the kitchen and drink coffee. We women now have to take care of more important things than you," Sandra slapped him in front of his head with a hearty smile. The irony of her words did not pass him by and he withdrew into the kitchen with a smug grin. Selima put the clothes carefully on the bed and the women looked at them curiously. Lizzy and Sandra first grabbed one of the precious clothes. They had long, wide sleeves and were ankle-length. Then they picked their headscarves, all made of pure silk. Selima showed them how to use a plastic tag to fold a hood-like hijab. Then they put on an overheadabaya and were perfectly dressed for a visit to a mosque. Sandra and Lizzy looked at each other in the mirror and found what they looked at not so bad. As the four women walked into the living room, you could hear the soft noise of their fabrics. There was something special about everything. Automatically all four women moved in such a way that they were in harmony. Selima informed Murad that they were ready. Then they went, Murad ahead, to the car. Their little procession caused quite a stir in the street and Sandra thought:

"Jo, people! Now you've got something to talk about." Murad drove a two-door Mercedes Coupe and so it took some time until the three women in the unusual wide dresses and veils got into the back of the car. But then it finally started.

Arriving at the mosque, Murad first let the women step out to look for a parking space. Selima said,

"Let's go inside, follow me." They entered the mosque through the side entrance, which was reserved for the women. They took off their shoes and Selima took off her Ruband, too.

"Men are not allowed here," Selima explained. Sandra asked:

"Do I imagine it, or are there much fewer women than men?"

"The Friday prayer in the mosque is obligatory for men. Women can, but don't have to. We will now ritually wash ourselves before the prayer and then enter the prayer room. Me and Jenny will show you. How it works". Finally they entered the prayer room and Selima said:

"Kneel here on the carpet and watch us. Remember something good that happened to you and thank God for it and pay homage to him in thought. Basically, we don't do anything else if you leave out all the fuss! For you shall rejoice in yourselves and in Allah, that is what we are here for". Sandra thought,

"What a crazy woman! Runs around like a shadow in public and at the same time has such a dingy Ruhrpot snout on her lips!"

"My little Jenny grows up and masters all the challenges she faces. Allah I thank you for that and praise you for all the good things I was allowed to experience with all my heart." Lizzy thought. Then a feeling of pleasure overwhelmed them both. They felt the protection of God, the safety and security of a believer in Islam. After the prayers ended, Selima said:

"We are now going to the adjacent madrasah. There we can eat something and gossip a little with the other women."

They left the mosque.

A fully veiled woman followed by three women in Hijab and Abaya. The symmetry of their movements made it easy to see that they had grown together.

There they got to know really interesting women, like the high school graduate Kamila with her mother Genna Böhm. Women from the upper middle class, who talked to them at eye level without falsehood. Kamila told them how she found her way to Islam. Fascinated, they listened to her story. Selima Arslan also joined them. When they heard who she once was, they were speechless. Then she said that she was pregnant at last and everyone was pleased with her. Murad texted:

"I'd like to leave. I have work to do at home. Please walk to the exit." Quickly they exchanged their mobile phone numbers and said goodbye to hurry to the exit. Sandra thought for herself:

"What's going on now? A man calls for departure and we women storm off like chickens. Well, yes! Actually, it's quite comfortable to let yourself be guided, it makes me a bit fuzzy, too."

Murad was already waiting in the car in front of the exit and this time the women had mastered the entrance to the rear without any problems; apparently they had got used to the voluminous clothes and veils. Arriving home, Murad went up with them to take the suitcase with the rest of the clothes with him

"Murad waits! We'll change quickly so you can take everything with you." called the always worried Lizzy.

"Nonsense! Consider it a gift, a small thank-you for your friendly tolerance towards us. It was an honor to show you something of my culture. I wish you a nice day."

Then he was already gone and left behind three pleasantly surprised women who hadn't experienced such a beautiful day for a long time.

Part 7

Jenny and the Meiser family:

Selima and I worked on our machines. I was already working on my own modifications, but I was happy when Selima took care of something that I didn't make any gross mistakes. I was very happy in my new job. Here I learned to sew at the machine and by hand. Selima said she still wanted to teach me crocheting, knitting, lace making and fine embroidery and she showed me videos on YouPube showing elaborately styled hijab. Here I first became aware of the whole range of tailoring. Until I would be really fit in my job, she says, I would probably need two years.

The core business was of course the tailoring and here I honestly tried to earn my money in kind. Selima gave me various scraps of fabric to practice on, including a large salmon satin cloth. It was too good for me to use it only for training purposes. I wanted to sew something beautiful out of it when I had learned more. Otherwise, with Selina's help, I had sewn my entire stock of clothes into decent Muslim clothes. So I only wore Islamic correct clothes and without hijab I felt almost naked. Praying the prayers with her had become something quite normal for me. Murad presented me with a German Koran. "Here you have a Koran in German, which you can read at home in the evening. If you want to learn how to read the original, I would be happy to teach you on Fridays." he said.

"Then you want to teach me Arabic? Right?" I asked.

"Exactly! I'll turn you and your 'mothers' into real Muslimahs."

My 'mothers', Lizzy my bodily one and Sandra my support, how much I loved them nevertheless. They had changed since the visit to the mosque, too. Lizzy had become calmer and less anxious. She seemed to accept her illness more, she accepted her fate. That she would soon be cured under unforeseen circumstances was not yet apparent to all of us at that time. Sandra had become quieter. Now she no longer poured herself into political statements at every trifle and instead of her cynicism she tended to make ironic interjections.

All in all there was much more laughter at home.

Yesterday we had visits from Ali and Aleyna Meiser and their daughter Samira. Ali talked to my 'mothers' while Aleyna was interested in the 'young patriots'. She told me about her youth work in the madrasah and we both recognized many common interests of both organizations. I gave her some contact addresses and she said she would organize a joint meeting. Then she joined the adults and I had time to make friend with Samira.

Samira had heard that I was learning tailoring and I showed her some of my work. She asked,

"Listen, the woman who was with you in the madrasah wore a strange veil."

"A ruband," I said. "A Turkish version of the Afghan burqa. Looks great, doesn't it?"

"Yes, the embroidery around the eyes looks crazy good. If I'm honest, I thought you might have one to try," she said.

 

United by a RuBand:

Jenny + Samira

 

I texted Selima: "Hello Selima, do you have some time for my friend Samira and me?"

"But surely, dear, come over." We told our people that we were going to the Arslan to introduce Samira to Selima and set off. Selima was already waiting for us at the back entrance. As always beautiful with a white ruband and pink calyxes above the eyes.

"Come in," she said and led us into the women's wing.

"I briefly met Aleyna in the Madrasa. And you are her daughter?" "Stepdaughter! My true mother rejected my father, but I don't like to talk about myself, but the reason for my visit is curiosity. I would like to try your veils."

"These veils are called Ruband and believing Muslimahs wear them in the part of Turkey where Murad comes from," I explained a little wisely. She went to a closet and brought us some specimens.

"I think Jenny would like to try some, too." Samira said with a knowing smile to Selima.

"Always close! Don't let me stop you, girls! Meanwhile I go to make tea for us," Selima said and disappeared. Samira took a dark green ruband. The eyes were white, drop-shaped embroideries decorated with a golden border.

"Wow, you look strong!" I said enthusiastically and grabbed the light blue one with the purple plant calyx.

"Fantastic how you have changed. Jenny disappeared in one footstep and turned into a beautiful Muslimah."

Samira breathed admiringly. Our vision was very limited. In the normally lit room everything that was more than a meter away blurred and we got pretty warm. But we looked at each other in the mirror and couldn't get enough of ourselves, we found ourselves beautiful. Until Selima came with the tea we had tried some other Ruband, but came back to the first ones.

"Mashallah! I have two honourable, decent Muslimahs to visit. What an honor! Selima said laughing as she served us tea with biscuits.

"Wait, I'll put on my ruband and show you how to drink tea and eat cookies with it!"

After she put on her ruband, she put her left arm under the veil and lifted it slightly until she could lead her tea glass to her mouth. Then she drank. The first time I tried, without eye contact, I easily lost my orientation, but I managed without spilling. After that it went better and better. So we three sat deeply veiled together and told each other our stories. We forgot the time. Meanwhile Lizzy contacted Murad and asked if she could show up with her visit to collect the girls and she still had tons of cake to spare which she would like to bring along. Murad shouted through the closed door:

"Jenny, your 'mothers' are coming with their visit to pick you up" and disappeared.

"I think I'll make tea again," Selima said and disappeared.

"I think your girlfriend is great! I loved her directly," Samira said.

"Girlfriend and boss! I am so happy to be allowed to work here. I love Murad like a daughter loves her father". I told her.

"Your families are waiting for you in the living room. There I serve the tea. So come with me." Selima shouted to us. We had completely forgotten our Ruband and when we entered the living room we looked into questioning faces.

"Hello, it's us! Samira said with presence of mind.

"We tried Selimas Ruband and forgot to give her back. Hopefully we didn't shock you too much?"

"Hi! it's Jenny!" and I raised my hand. Lizzy was angry and said:

"Are you crazy, I can still tolerate your headscarves, but let's get the veils off!"

"Mama, calm down! We were just curious and a bit vain. Please, don't always take everything so seriously." I said, but I did not take off my Ruband. Sandra and Genna came closer to look deeper at the Ruband. "Look how elaborate and noble these veils are, Lizzy."

Lizzy came closer and calmed down. In the past, she would have stepped into it and wouldn't have stopped whining. She had really changed a lot to her advantage.

"You're right, they are really beautiful. But child, do you see anything at all and can you get enough air?"

It was love that always worried about my well-being.

"Mama, everything's fine! When we go, I'll take off the ruband, okay?"

We sat together for another hour and in the presence of Ali and Murad I felt very comfortable covered with Ruband. Deep down I knew that wearing a Ruband was just the thing for me. I still have this salmon-colored cloth, that should become my first self-made Ruband. Then came the time of departure and we went back to the women's wing. With a heavy heart we discarded our Ruband. Samira and I thanked Selima and pressed her until her air was gone.

My 'mothers' and I accompanied the Meiser family to their car and we departed warmly. Next Friday we will come back to the mosque for Friday prayer and then we will meet again in the madrasah. It was a very long day, especially for my handicapped mother, and we were dog-tired. I got ready for the night and fell into a deep, dreamless sleep.

Part 8

Six Months Later

Aleyna Meiser:

 

The meeting with the 'young patriots' was very informative. I had brought my stepdaughter Samira with me. They had a lot of good ideas and we also brought in our experiences. Most of them are normal Western-oriented teenagers who are fully affected by the effects of the Hartz4 dilemma. I believe that their dynamics will also give my young people more incentive. Because their anger could be felt everywhere in their statements. We have agreed to hold the next meetings in our madrasah for reasons of space. The prospect of being supported by the Brotherhood in their professional career was great. So we separated and looked forward to seeing each other again soon.

"You, Mama, where we are just in the proximity, let us still visit the Arslan. Jenny now has her own apartment, I have to see that and Selima will be happy to see you again."

When she called me Mama, my heart opened. That I could be loved after a shitty life, full of hate, but again so loved, for that I will thank Allah forever.

Samira was interested in Ruband and less in Jenny's apartment. But what the hell? A little small talk with Selima over a cup of tea, just came in handy. I texted her:

"I'm close with Samira. Would love to visit you, okay?"

"I am happy" she replied. We made our way and when we arrived at the back door after five minutes, Selima and Jenny, both veiled beyond recognition, were already waiting for us. They asked us to come in and we went straight into the women's wing. There they got rid of their ruband and gloves and we greeted each other extensively.

"Jenny, do you always wear Ruband now?" Samira asked.

"My name is now Gadi and I converted. Yes, I always wear my Ruband outside the women's wing." she said.

"You lucky girl! We members of the Brotherhood are not allowed to cover our faces anymore for political reasons," I said with some melancholy.

"It serves a higher purpose, so let's not complain!"

"Sit down, my dear friends, and have some tea," Selima challenged us. "I'm terribly curious about Jenny's, I mean Gadis Apartment. Do you care if I go to her room with Gadi?" Samira asked.

"No, go ahead. You would only be bored with us," Selima said.

 

Gadi and Samira:

 

Samira said, "This is a nice apartment!"

"Not really! You won't believe how pretty my Ruband are!" Gadi teased and both laughed knowingly.

"Go to the closet and serve yourself," she said. Samira would not have had that said twice. She took one after the other and was thrilled.

"Not one is like the others and everyone can see that only you could have made them. You really have an incredible talent," Samira said.

"What do you say, should I try on the green one or the salmon one? The green is beautiful, but the salmon has such a subtle pink and the white rhinestones somehow make it special." When Gadi handed her matching gloves, Samira felt like she was in heaven.

"Come on, put it on and then we'll go down to the women's." And again Samira disappeared to make room for a new, exotic creature. Like a ghost she floated to the women in the living room. Both women lost their spit when they saw this majestic appearance. Selima caught herself first and asked,

"Gadi, darling, did you sew this? It's incredibly beautiful! When did you do that?"

"At night, when everyone was asleep. I'm happy when you like my work." Selima said:

"Grab your Ruband, we have to show it to Murad." They went downstairs and Selima shouted:

"Murad, please come once. I want to show you something."

"What is it, oh we have visitors, welcome Aleyna and who is the lady in this incredibly beautiful robe?"

"It's me, Samira, Aleyna's daughter."

"I greet you too, Samira. Selima, what is so special?"

"Do you not see it? Take a closer look at the Ruband. It is a dream", Selima said. "You're right, on closer inspection, it's really something special. Who was the artist?"

"Gadi has spent the nights and created this work of art. " Selima said. "Samira, please go up and down. It seems as if the veil changes with every movement." Murad said.

"Fantastic, did you sew any more ruband?"

"She has at least ten others in her apartment," Samira said to her. "I want to see them all. We do a catwalk. When you like it? Join in, Aleyna." he said. The women disappeared and then ran up one by one to Murad, who gave them instructions on what movements to make. When he had seen everything, he said:

"Every Ruband is different and yet I recognize the handwriting of an artist. Gadi you are blessed with a fantastic gift, Allah be praised".

Everything turned out to be too much for Gadi. She ran into her room. Samira said:

"Poor thing, maybe that was a little too much at once. I took care of her" and left. Strangely touched, the women and Murad sat down and waited patiently. Then they came back.

"Sorry, but I only tailored Ruband as I thought they should look. I felt somehow run over by your enthusiasm. You really think my little work is so special? I would be happy if I could give each of you women a Ruband. The salmon-coloured one is reserved for Samira, though! Aleyna and Selima kept the one they already had on. Samira jumped on Gadi and hugged her hard. Then she ran up to secure her treasure.

Then it was time for Aleyna and Samira to leave. They promised to meet again soon and then they left.

 

Lizzy's Happiness

Now I've been working as a tailor for Murad Arslan for almost a year. I have found my destiny. His wife Selima, my boss and best friend is full of praise. The order book is full to the brim. There have been ten temporary workers working here for a few months now and I now have a very well rewarded permanent position and have officially moved out of my home and have my residence at Arslan. - In order not to endanger my mothers' Hartz4 covers, such brainless pull-ups are unavoidable. Poverty here, like everywhere else, enjoys a certain 'esteem' from our authorities. - Especially since I seem to be an artist by now. My Ruband are ordered internationally and practically presented as a special event at fashion shows. I'm very proud of it, but I'm only willing to make more models if my anonymity is maintained. The work is very easy for me. I make drawings and have the Ruband made before. I then put the finishing touches on them myself. I converted to Islam half a year ago and now call myself Gadi, i.e. my luck, and am fully veiled in public, I wear a Ruband. Lizzie's enthusiasm about it is still limited today and Sandra expressed some concerns; she said that I might exaggerate a little. Funny! Every Friday they run dressed in hijab and abaya to the mosque for prayer and then spend the whole day in the madrasah.

"It's so good to relax once a week in prayer and then to meet our friends in the madrasah and above all everything is free," they said. They were right. When you live on support, you have little opportunity to enjoy yourself. No! they had already completely changed. You could see how relaxed they were now: Lizzy wasn't such a cry-baby anymore, who complained at every opportunity and Sandra lost more and more her aversions against her fellow men, she became friendlier and more sociable. Sandra's sarcasm gave way from time to time to a fine irony. Ibrahim Arslan had indicated to my mother that various paralyses had already been cured in the brotherhood's Egyptian clinics. In Berlin a new clinic of the Brotherhood has just been opened and if she would like she could be examined there free of charge. When I told Murad about this at work, he offered to pay the travel expenses to Berlin. Like every afternoon after work, I made my way to my mommies. Carefully I put on my Abaya, fixed everything with my Ruband. After I had exactly controlled that no piece naked skin was to be seen, I pulled the glove over and made me on the way.

"Lizzy, Sandra! I is it me!", I called out as I entered the apartment. With the two one I didn't know, you already know what I mean! Then I went directly into the kitchen and set tea water on.

"There is no strange man there. You can take off your veil," Sandra said and went to the coffee machine. Our 'intellectual' drank litres of coffee, seldom tea and she smoked like a chimney, but only on the balcony. I took her in my arms and pressed my beloved 'ashtray' warmly. When I got rid of my veils in the dressing room, Lizzy came to greet me.

"I have good news for you, but let me enjoy my tea first!" I said. When we had made ourselves comfortable. I had drunk my tea and Sandra came off the balcony with an empty coffee cup, I told her.

"So, Murad says, you go straight to Berlin, he pays the travel expenses for both of you. He's already booked you a hotel place with one of his relatives in Berlin. He said if you pricked yourself to accept gifts, he'd spank you. That's it!"

"Well, no man has spanked my ass for a long time, could be really nice again", typical Sandra.

I said: "Everything is already prepared. You travel Monday morning at 8:00 o'clock with the Intercity to Berlin and they expect decent clothes; so Hijab and Abaya are duty! Okay?

They had really changed a lot. I never would have dared to talk to them like that before. Just telling them what to wear would have led to massive arguments. Now they seemed to be happy that they were told what to do. Then they disappeared into the kitchen to cook some food for us.

I didn't want to go back to my little apartment alone in the dark, so I left early after dinner. Because in winter it got dark early. Actually, as a good Muslim I should only be on the street accompanied, but it's only a hundred meters. I knew I didn't have to worry because I was in our street under the protection of the Brotherhood, Allah bless them. I want to tell you about a little incident:

I was, as usual after my visit to my mammies, on my way home - it was already dawning - when a convertible slowly drove up beside me and young guys thought they had to insult me:

"Hey, barn owl! Do you want to fuck. I fuck you in your Muslim ass .. Before they realized it, they were wedged by my brothers with their cars. I had to get into one of their cars immediately, but I still saw some wardrobe-shaped brothers lovingly dedicating themselves to the idiots before we turned around the next bend.

I had to listen to a little sermon that a decent Muslim woman alone had no place on the street, but they knew who I was and tolerated my habits. It's really a good feeling to always know you're protected.