Veiled PAGE




Time to meet the Böhms for sailing at the weekend. Klaus and I have been together since our time in the Bundeswehr. He has a flourishing taxi business today, and we got together again and again over sailing. Their two daughters are Hanna, eighteen and Sophia, sixteen years old. I called Klaus:

"HaIlo! I am in the harbour and am already preparing the boat. Do you know when you will come?"

"Richard, we have a big problem there with Hanna. She didn't come home from school on Wednesday. She called and said she wanted to spend Whitsun with Petra. She has not contacted us since and we cannot contact her. It seems she has turned off her cell phone."

"Well, the girl turns nineteen, she has something else in mind! I believe you are too worried." I was trying to calm him down.

"Sorry, dude. That's what I think, too, but now I can't leave Rita alone," he said.

"I don't like to sail alone. I'll come by if you like. Maybe I can help? Tell her that I'm coming over because she can cook so well, then she's a little distracted."

"Thank you, and you are a real friend! See you later." I repacked everything and drove to my office. There I checked Hanna's cell phone number to find her last location.

"Holy shit! What's the kid doin' in Arslan's madrasah?" Once my first shock was over, I realised what was going on. Whenever Ibrahim Arslan had his hands in the game, it always happened. I grabbed the cell phone and called him..:

"Here Peterson, I urgently need some information. Is there a Hanna Böhm in your company?"

"Yes, she will convert to Islam together with some other sisters tomorrow," he said.

"That must prevent", I said.

"What am I supposed to do? I am Imam and cannot prevent her?"

"I am a friend of their parents, and they are anxious. Hanna should immediately call her parents and inform them what she wants to do. Then I can intercept the worst when I am with them. Think about who I am and what I can or cannot do! Okay?"

I set off, and when I was with them, the excitement was tremendous. Klaus said: "Hanna called, and she says she's in a madrasah in Marxloh and she's preparing to convert to a Muslimah tomorrow. Tomorrow we are invited to participate in her Shahada."

"Well, slow down! We sit down and discuss this in peace."

"Richard, I would like to see my daughter. I need to get her out of there. Can' you understand that?" Rita said.

"Rita, Hanna is of legal age. She is free to decide for herself what she wants. We need to do this with some diplomacy. If not, she won't be able to talk to you out of defiance. Think about your youth, as you were almost a militant eco."

" Maybe you are right? I'll fix some coffee for us first." We sat down, and I advised them:

"If she decided to become a Muslimah, you shouldn't stop her, but assure her that she remains your beloved daughter. Whatever she chooses. It is important for you that she will continue to live with you to be able to exert any influence over her. I suggest that you go straight to her and Rita will talk to her calmly without harassing her. You think that you can do this, Rita?"

"Thank you, and your clear mind has saved me from a huge stupidity. I was about to kidnap my daughter by force. I will get hold of myself."

"I am professionally involved with the madrasah, and we monitor it. I want to describe it to you: It is Salafistic, albeit strictly anti-terrorist. They reject our way of life and practice a rigorous Islamic orientation, working with missionary zeal to propagate it. This is considered a threat by us. And Hannah will discard her old name and dress strictly Islamic. It won't be easy to watch it without any problems for you. So be sensible, then maybe everything will be all right."


Hannah Boehm:

"Your mum and dad want to talk to you, Sister Kamila." I was reading on my display. So they gave us small displays with which we could communicate silently. So I wrote:

" When my mother wants, she may visit me here in the women's wing. Please admonish her to whisper!"

She stood in front of me in tears, and we took each other in our arms, then we sat down. She whispered, I am so proud of you, Mama, and said:

"How weird you look with your strict clothing and your headscarf, baby," she said.

"You'll have to get used to it, Mama. Tomorrow a new chapter in my life starts. However, I notice how calmly you are reacting to all that. I am proud of you."

"Thank you, child, and what will happen to you?"

"Well, tomorrow I will speak the Shahada, my creed and then until I pass my Abitur I want to live here and practice my new faith," I told her.

"Darling, I want to respect your wish. Only please you could stay at home because we miss you so much" and tears rolled from her cheeks.

"What do you think, you will spend the night with me in the madrasah and celebrate my Shahada tomorrow morning with us. I will live with you on weekdays, and my weekends I live here, in the Madrasa. You can also spend your weekend with me in the madrasah if you want.

"You mean I should live here with you on the weekends?"

"Yes, I'll turn you into a good Muslimah."

"We'll see about that. Well, I'll inform Klaus that I'll be staying with you tonight and that he shall get me fresh stuff for sleep."

"Send Papa home, and we got everything here. He doesn't need to bring you anything. It's enough for him to pick us up tomorrow after my Shahada."

While the mother was on her way, the Niqaabi wrote to me.

"You did very well, dear sister. We will save your mother's immortal soul, and she too will soon share the joys of our faith with us. Allah will bless you!"

When mum came back, I said: "I want you, as long as you are here, to veil yourself as my mother and married wife should be here. Let's go to the bathroom."

There she was dressed entirely by me as Niqaabi, and I asked her to veil over my Shahada tomorrow as well. I was astonished to see how stoically everything happened to her. Then I took her to my place, and I recited the Koran to her. She learned very quickly to eat with Niqaab, and everything else was also easy for her. When we lay down to sleep in the evening, and I said to her:

"We sleep in the veil. Tomorrow morning we take a shower and put on fresh clothes. So we are always properly dressed," she was shocked at first, but then she accepted her fate.

Rita Böhm:

Finally, we reached the Madrasa. We waited in the entrance hall, and we were very friendly welcomed by the Imam. He let Hanna immediately be informed about our arrival. Hanna sent her father her love and asked me to visit her in the women's wing. I collected all my strength when I had to follow an utterly veiled one to the women's wing. I saw her there. She wore a full floor-length dress and a tightly bound headscarf that hung far over her shoulder. I could only see her eyes, her nose and her mouth, everything else disappeared in a silky cloth, but I did not want to offend her, and I smiled at her with tears. She praised me for my understanding, and my heart became quite warm, and all my worries had probably not gone away, but they didn't squeeze so badly anymore. We quickly found our way to a constructive conversation. In the end, we agreed on a compromise. I will spend the night in the Madrasa today and celebrate her Shahada with her tomorrow. She even made me disguise myself as a married mother of a Muslimah deserves, she said. I know that if I meet my daughter, I will not lose her. I had miraculously got used to the veil very quickly. I looked at my display in my black-gloved hands. I sat together with my daughter Kamila, and we read the translated Koran verses on the screens, which recited to us via headphones in the original. I felt deeply connected to her. It was lovely. When we went to bed, she told me to sleep fully clothed, then in the morning we would shower and get new clothes. So we would always be dressed correctly for twenty-three hours. At first, that seemed very strange. But I soon fell into a peaceful sleep with my daughter in my arms.