Ikram, as a young Muslim girl practices her religion with complete faith and devotion, as she comes from a Moroccan family in which Islam is very important. She was born in Barcelona and moved to Belgium at the age of eleven. She is currently studying International Business at Karel de Grote University in Antwerp and, like every other 21st century woman, she is concerned about their rights and the respect towards Muslim women, who sometimes feel oppressed due to wrong interpretations of the Koran.
Covering their head or even their entire body is a symbol of decency and purity. Take us back when you decided not to cover yourself.
I was born in Spain. I lived there until I was eleven and then I was raised in Belgium, so I always saw women around me not wearing. In my family they did wear it but it was their choice, like my mother wears it, my sister wears it, but I‘ve never been told to wear it. I’m just like that. Maybe later I will wear it but right now I think it’s not the right time to wear it.
So, it’s a decision you still have to make?
According to the Koran, women should not show their attractions in public. What is your opinion about that?
I think it´s a little bit normal. It’s natural that men get attracted but these days in less than back in the days, because now you can wear something, men can look at you and not get attracted, but if you try to be attractive, they get attracted. It’s like they know how men are, so they tell you to cover yourself.
Is it like some kind of protection?
In some European countries have recently prohibited the use of burka and niqab in public spaces. Do you think than Muslim woman feel discriminated?
It’s a difficult one, because I don’t know how they feel, but in Islam you are not obligated to wear burka, you are obligated to wear hijab, and that’s still showing your face. Niqab is just showing your eyes. It’s your ow choice. You can still wear a hijab, so you can practice your religion.
So, does burka and niqab have nothing to do with what the Koran says?
Yes, it’s a little bit more extremists. It’s usually used in more oppressive countries.
The Koran also establishes that men have to support they families economically and women have to stay at home and take care of their children. Isn’t that sexist?
I think it has a lot to do with back in the days, because work now is much easier than back then. Men were supposed to do the hard work and women had to stay at home to be safe. That’s something that is still present but working now is easier.
If you had the power to change something in favor of women in your religion, what would that be?
In some Muslim countries I would change that women and men have to be the same, they should have the same rights. It is also stated in the Koran, so they should do that.