June 23, 2008
Dania is an intern with me in Chicago - she works on the floor below me at
Chicago Interfaith Committee on Worker Issues while I work upstairs at the
National IWJ (Interfaith Worker Justice) office. She's the beautiful French-Canadian
Muslim, veil-wearing girl who frequently stated throughout orientation week how
fascinating she thinks America is.
During orientation week, I had several enlightening conversations with her.
Even though she is a practicing Muslim and I am currently ambivalent about my
faith, through speaking with each other, we discovered we have many of the same
beliefs and ideas. Through these conversations, we both realized we were
reading the same book - Eckhart
Tolle's "A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose." The book
describes, "how transcending our ego-based state of consciousness is not
only essential to personal happiness, but also the key to ending conflict and
suffering throughout the world," (Amazon
Before speaking with Dania, I cannot recall having an actual conversation with
a practicing Muslim. I consider myself very in tune with feminist ideals and I
could never wrap my mind around the idea of wearing a veil and staying entirely
covered-up in front of men. This practice seemed strange to me and I felt it
rather sexist. But by talking to Dania and being prompted to look into the
ideas behind wearing the veil, I've come to new conclusions. Now, I can draw
parallels between the wearing of the veil to particular feminist movements when
women demanded to be taken seriously not because of their feminine beauty and
external looks, but because of their thoughts and ideas. Additionally, so much
of superficial culture is in effort to define one's identity through clothing -
"this is my style," "this is who I am because this is how I
dress," when in actuality, no matter how unique your fashion is, it can
clearly never come close to defining anything real.
Hijab on Wikipedia
Islam & Eckhart
Tolle's A New Earth (Message Board)
We'll have more interesting convos, believe me.
By the way for those who don't know, I'm Frenchy, as in Dania, as in the
French-Canadian muslim that where's the veil.