Letter to my mother who wears the scarf

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While yet another controversy over the wearing of the veil last weekend targeted Imane Boun, a young woman offering low-cost recipes for students on her Instagram account, unleashing torrents of insults on her on social networks, journalist Nassira El Moaddem has graciously accepted that we publish this text, initially posted on Twitter.

I don't remember when, precisely, Mom started to put on a scarf. I was no longer a child. The event, if one can call it that, obviously did not mark me. On the other hand, I have a solid memory of a few often disapproving, sometimes poisonous looks around the supermarket shelves. You never forget when black eyes of hate attack your mom, even stealthily. Mom became more pious, it was her need. Who are we to judge the hearts of others?

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We are six children, including three girls. None of us wear the headscarf. I have infinite respect for my mother. Because she is my mother, of course, but because she is an exemplary citizen who gives so much to others without expecting anything in return.

How many meals has she prepared for neighbors, for friends, for those in need too? How many services rendered? How much money has been given to the most disadvantaged, she who relies only on her small salary as a childminder? In Romorantin, among the parents who contact her to entrust her with their children, few have had anything to say about her scarf on her head. Only one family or two in my memory from nearly twenty years of work. The others ignore it, far too happy to be able to leave their offspring in all confidence to a professional who has raised six children herself, each having found her own way.

You have to see the bond she has managed to create with all these children over the years! Mathieu, Adam, Antonin and the others whom she finds with joy at random encounters in town, who sometimes come to ring at "nanny's", to give news and take hers, who send her pretty postcards so as not to be 'forget.

Non-Muslim children educated by a French Muslim in tolerance. Holidays like Eid or Christmas that they wish without any distinction. When I return to Romorantin and I get back to this atmosphere, I have a light heart and also regret that the haters do not have the chance to experience all this love and all this respect.

All these insults rob my mother, my friends, my family, and millions of fellow citizens of their humanity.

All these insults uttered at length of television sets by editorial writers above ground, all these insults sent on social networks against Muslims are incredibly violent because they kidnap all these people, my mother, my friends , to my family, to millions of fellow citizens their humanity.

To be a Muslim today is to bring shame upon you. Being a Muslim is enough for you to be trampled on like you do with a mop. This religion you chose it not? Assume! Nobody is forcing you to be a Muslim, right? So get by with this. There is no longer any limit.

I envy my mother the strength she has. I remember a discussion about this one day. She told me to pay no attention to all these humiliations, those of the TV shows as those of everyday life. "I know who I am" she told me. Yes, but mom, do they know who you are?

Nassira El Moaddem is a journalist and author. His first book is called "Les filles de Romorantin", ed. by The Iconoclast

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