Veiled PAGE



Sometimes it's frightening what kind of pranks life plays. From one second to the next, I lost my father and got a brother. I was mourning the loss of my father, a real hero of everyday life. Whenever we needed him, he was there. He was our gray eminence. He kept on the ball until he had solved a problem, no matter how long it took. He always made me feel safe and protected. Thank you, Dad!

Pete was like his father. He supported my mother and me like a son and big brother. The fantasies were forgotten when we first got to know each other. I got a loving, big brother in need and my mother a new, caring son and that was more important than anything else. Since I moved into Ebertstraße, I felt, despite all mourning for my father, that I was much calmer and more relaxed. I thought that the stress of studying, the miserable driving between home and university, the part-time jobs and the eternal money worries had blinded me to the friendliness of my fellow human beings. I'd been self-centered towards them like an asshole. I think I recognized the beam in my eye because I was no longer excited about the splinter in the eye of God. At that time I assumed that the shock of the sudden death of my father had awakened me, but all this was God's work, or rather Allah's, didn't come to my mind, for my family had nothing to do with religion; I wasn't even baptized.

The Brotherhood became more and more noticeable in my everyday life. And in the positive sense. It was the bearer of my apartment and not only made it possible for me to live affordably, but there was also a pleasant and relaxing atmosphere inside the house. I felt comfortable here.

On a Sunday afternoon, we were sitting with coffee and cake on my mother's terrace and Pete told us that he had joined the Brotherhood some time ago and had converted to Islam. In the beginning, it was only for professional reasons, but in the meantime, he would also be confident of the rightness of his new faith.

"Had I married you, you would have buried me under mountains of fabric?" I asked with an ironic undertone. He laughed and said:

"First, it's a sin to marry your sister, and second, there's no compulsion in Islam. If women decide to wear the veil, it must only be done of their own free will. Islam is submission to God, not the will of a husband or any other human being." In many ways, I recognized my father in him. Converting pragmatically to Islam to keep his job and then to deal with his decision to find a good way to himself - always being as constructive as possible. Mother and I sensed how his dominance grew and we were more than thankful.

"Do you know, my dear brother, I wonder why the Brotherhood provides me with such cheap accommodation for 200€ with no condition whatsoever", I asked.

"It's the concept of acceptance, not charity. We point with a big, unmistakable finger at all the benefits that people experience from us, to stand up to the ever more widespread hatred of foreigners and Islamophobia. The fact that the number of people converting to Islam is increasing is rather a positive side effect," he said. My mother said:

"I grew up in the 90s and us modern women emancipated ourselves more and more. We even managed to establish a woman as chancellor. In my opinion, Islam is rather contrary to a modern lifestyle. The medieval conditions in which Saudi women live are an abomination to me."

"I don't think I'm the specialist. I do know that we believe the Wahabi interpretation of the Koran is sin and that it contradicts the Salafi interpretation. One question, Caro. Don't you have apartments for visitors to your house?"

"Yes, in every hallway there is a pretty little room for female visitors," I said.

"On weekends in your building, there are regular discussion forums. How about you guys go for a weekend together? Then we could be more relaxed about the topic. I want to make sure you understand me. I don't want there to be anything between us."

"Yes, Mama! You and I will spend a whole weekend together, that would be fantastic! Please, please say yes," I begged. I watched it with my mom. Not being reminded of her late husband for a whole weekend was exactly what she needed.

"Why not, child? Then prepare it all. I'm in!" she said.

Veronika Lichter

I was just grateful in these bad days to have my daughter and a new son by my side. They relieved me of all the cruel duties that the sudden death of my husband had brought with it. I crashed into a black hole and was lonely and paralyzed. And Caroline wasn't doing much any better than me at all. And there was Pete: Growing up with a hateful, psychotic mother, his whole life he had longed for his father. And when he finally found him, he died in front of his eyes. Instead of going away and abandoning ourselves to our fate, he supported us and was always with us. What a strong man! He was his real son and soon I loved him like my own and there should never be anything between us! And so it happened that Caro felt connected to him like a sister.

For us modern women it was simply not comprehensible that a modern, intelligent man could change to such a primitive religion as Islam and then also to Salafism. We have always thought that Salafists were terrorists, but he described them as infidels, as Wahabis. The Salafism is only a strict form of interpretation and therefore rejects any murder and violence. However, clarification was needed.

It was a Friday morning, I drove with my daughter to Cologne to participate in a discussion round of the Brotherhood. I did it for the love for my son because Pete became that for me.

I was the daughter of 1969s, religion, nation or all that consumer idiotism meant nothing to me - I guess I was somehow out of time. Thank God! Thank God!

"What do you think I'm feeling weirdly strange thinking about discussing something so banal like Islam with some crackpots for a whole weekend," I said to Caro.

"We get a lot of things that happen today from the media presented brew-warm and swallow it without criticism, but if you walk outside you find a completely different world. All these aggressions and verbal juries happen because most people can' t cope with the realities of real life and are in a loop of permanent self-deception," Caro enthusiastically stated.

"Woof! That was it! Hang this sentence over your bed - in golden letters," I said and we laughed liberated because deep down we too had great anxiety about the new.