Two Muslim Women Hold Different Views on Headscarf Issue

September 9, 2004

Source: Tallahassee Democrat/Chicago Tribune

On September 9, 2004 the Chicago Tribune ran an article on the headscarf ban, highlighting two different perspectives on Islamic dress through two Muslim women: "Souad Morabet and Sadia Belrabet would seem to have a lot in common. Both emigrated from Morocco to France at a young age; both are now married and live in Paris... Both women describe themselves as Muslims, but there the similarities end. Morabet is wearing a tightly wrapped head scarf that conceals her hair, and, despite the warm weather, a baggy beige coat and trousers that shield her arms and legs from the glances of men. Belrabet is wearing a sleeveless lime-colored blouse and matching slacks; her head is uncovered. Though they are friends, the two women are on opposite sides of a culture war that pits the French Republic's prized principles of secularism - or laicite, as it is called here - against equally important traditions of religious tolerance and individual freedom. 'Nobody made me do it,' Morabet said of her decision to dress in a conservative Islamic style. 'It was my decision. My husband had nothing to do with it. It was something I decided when I reached puberty,' she said. 'This is between me and God.' Belrabet, on the other hand, says she is 'categorically opposed' to head scarves and the whole notion of Islamic dress."