Reflections and Opacities in an Arab College in Israel
Chapter 3: Freedom
C H A P T E R T H R E E Freedom For many of my Muslim students, the desire for freedom is very strong despite the declarations of religious principles. I was curious what Rafa would do if she could get away from the confining gaze of her community, if she were living somewhere totally different. I pushed her to consider what she’d change, other than her clothes. She simply answered, “Maybe I’d become more free.” “In what way?” I insisted. “Doing what I want. Maybe I will have a makeover,” she laughed. “I think if I’m close to my God, my clothes don’t matter. There are women who are dressed like me, even all covered, but do many bad things. I think that I have a white heart. I think that my God loves me because I don’t do anything bad. Now I think that God’s love does not depend on my clothes or what I wear on my head. I think the most important thing is what’s in my heart, but it’s written in the Qur’an that we must cover our heads and wear loose clothes. That’s why I wear this,” she said, looking down at herself and lightly touching her head covering. “But the clothes don’t reflect us.…” For many other of my Arab women students, the desire for freedom is not strong enough to keep them from the sacrifice they say, and believe, they will gladly make. Janaan insisted that things have changed for...
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