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I Learn Library

A human library inspired by the stories in the film

I hope for more tolerance around me and less confusion about who I am, as a Muslim woman.

By Nawael  |   From : Saint-Denis France  |   School : Suger High School

The simple life of a veiled Muslim French girl in district 93.

My name is Nawael and I am 19 years old. I was born in Sevran (93) and I am Algerian by blood.

To begin, my mother was born in Algeria and emigrated to France when she was 23 years old, in 1985 under the advice of her mother, for a “better life”. My father was born in France but his family was born in Algeria. We lived in a district near Sevran. Then, we moved in Saint-Denis.

My parents separated when I was little. I have two big brothers : Sofiane and Youssef, I am the last one of my family.

So I live and I grew up with my mother and sometimes I spend my weekend with my father.

My mother is Muslim but she celebrates Ramadan alone. His family is Muslim and they were all born in Algeria. Some live in France and others remained in Algeria. In my family, the only people who wear the veil are my maternal grandma.

My father was a protestant and he became atheist. My first big brother, Sofiane, is atheist and my second elder brother, Youssef, I don’t know, I never dared to ask him. So, the choice to wear my veil is purely and solely a personal choice, nothing or nobody influenced me except my curiosity which led me to do research on this religion.

In my high school, I feel good, but the only thing I deplore is, at the level of the law, I have to remove my veil before entering because of the church and state law. This saddens me because it is very unpleasant and binding. It is my strength, but I got used to it, anyway, we have no choice, it is the law. And I am lucky to be in a high-school that is very tolerant and open-minded, so I am not complaining ! Sometimes, people in my neighbourhood see me as a “religious” person with prejudices for some of them. I would simply like to be regarded as who I am, myself, Nawael.

My neighbourhood was like a world, my world. Then growing up I explored other horizons, just outside my neighbourhood. I found out what difference meant and it taught me tolerance in front of diversity and pluralism. But I also understood that sometimes, because I come from the 93 district (suburbian Paris) and I wear the veil, I should do more than others to prove that despite my different life, I could have the same faculties than others. So my difference is as much a force that it is a burden.

My parents keep repeating that “my veil will be a problem in my future life”, because according to them “it is a barrier to integration”, “it will be hard for me to be accepted” in some social circles different from mine. So my dream is to graduate, go to college to have a good job and make my parents proud, also to take care of my mother financially. I hope to achieve my goals and just to be happy and blooming in what I do.

I hope for more tolerance around me and less confusion about who I am, as a Muslim woman, because I don’t like seeing fear or hatred in the faces of some French people when they see me because I am French too.

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