Education a "Passport to Freedom" for European Muslim Women

December 4, 2005

Source: International Herald Tribune

On December 4, 2005 the International Herald Tribune reported, "Hanife Karakus, the soft-spoken daughter of Turkish immigrants, is a thoroughly European Muslim. She covers her hair with a veil, but she also has a law degree and married the man of her choice...Adding to this mix, Karakus recently became the first woman to preside over one of France's 25 regional Islamic councils... Karakus, 24, does not call herself a feminist; she simply says she is a French lawyer. But she qualifies as part of the quiet revolution spreading among young European Muslim women, a new generation that claims the same rights as their Western sisters while not renouncing Islamic principles. For many, the key is education, an option often denied their mothers and grandmothers. These daughters of the poor immigrants from mostly Muslim countries are moving into universities, studying law, medicine and anthropology. They are getting jobs in social work, in schools, offices, business and media. French, English, German or Dutch may be their native languages... In interviews in France, Belgium and the Netherlands, young women repeat this like a mantra: studying offers an escape route from the oppressive housing projects, from controlling young Muslim fanatics and from strict social codes enforced by fathers and brothers. 'We all understood that education was our passport to freedom,' said Soria Makti, 30, who left her Marseille housing project and now works as a museum curator."