Safe areas to live in as apparent Muslim woman

130 posts in this topic

My response to Conquistador seems to have been disappeared with a number of other posts.  OK, that's fine if we're not going to pursue it.

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8 hours ago, namia said:

 

Oh, I understand that completely :) 

My internship will be based in Potsdamer Platz, and I've lived in Goettingen for 6 months and have been in a tiny university town in Bayern for 2 years. I doubt there would be similar areas in Berlin, but I do love the vibe of the city. And I think I do have a fair enough idea of the districts I should look into. But any more suggestions would be helpful! 

So everyone...
We need advice from someone who knows Goettingen and Berlin.... I know people in both but none that have lived in both.

 

I lived in PB for 5 years and it is a nice area (at least up until 2007) and still seems that way when I visit relatives up there (PB has different areas with their own feel to them though).

However... as I said, asshats are everywhere so maybe you should also consider looking at this from another angle as well. Transport.

Check the BVG website and look at how you can get to where you workplace is and check the area on the trams/bus routes that go there.

 

I would still avoid places like Marzahn, Arensfelde, Falkenburg and so on (unless someone can say if those areas have improved) but do consider travel. 

Every hour you spend in a tram is an hour of your life (and I think an hour is still considered average travelling time in Berlin).

How long will your internship be for and are you thinking of staying in Berlin for longer?

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2 hours ago, cb6dba said:

However... as I said, asshats are everywhere so maybe you should also consider looking at this from another angle as well. Transport.

Check the BVG website and look at how you can get to where you workplace is and check the area on the trams/bus routes that go there.

 

Potsdammer platz is just about the best connected place in berlin, I cant think of anywhere that would be especially difficult to get to.

 

2 hours ago, cb6dba said:

I would still avoid places like Marzahn, Arensfelde, Falkenburg and so on (unless someone can say if those areas have improved) but do consider travel. 

Every hour you spend in a tram is an hour of your life (and I think an hour is still considered average travelling time in Berlin).

 

That is pretty much standard advice, and Im not going to say its wrong.  But the experiences of Indians that I know who have worked or have training in Marzahn they said they never had any problems and didnt feel that it was as bad as people say.  Maybe they were just lucky.

 

At the end of the day it comes down to finding a place in Berlin.  For the 6 months or so that OP will be here it probably isnt possible to be too picky, and they should just take whatever they can find, ideally not in deepest far ex-DDR but other than that I sont think there is a need to worry.

 

2 hours ago, cb6dba said:

(and I think an hour is still considered average travelling time in Berlin).

 

I would be amazed if anyone thinks an hour is normal in berlin.  Its normal in london but in berlin most people I know have more like 20-30 minutes journey to work.  Even the person I mentioned elsewhere who lives in Spandau only has around 35 minutes to work.  I can get from Tegel to Schönefeld in just over an hour.

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14 hours ago, namia said:

My internship will be based in Potsdamer Platz

 

14 hours ago, namia said:

But any more suggestions would be helpful! 

 

This would be a good location for you.  Potsdamer Platz and the surroundings is filled with tourists, so seeing "foreigners" is commonplace.  You might be seen as "odd" but not "unusual".  There's also more of a police presence....Berlin does not want any problems in the gold mine.

I lived on Stresemannstraße.

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On 8/31/2017, 9:44:52, cb6dba said:

I lived in PB for 5 years and it is a nice area (at least up until 2007) and still seems that way when I visit relatives up there (PB has different areas with their own feel to them though).

However... as I said, asshats are everywhere so maybe you should also consider looking at this from another angle as well. Transport.

Check the BVG website and look at how you can get to where you workplace is and check the area on the trams/bus routes that go there.

 

I would still avoid places like Marzahn, Arensfelde, Falkenburg and so on (unless someone can say if those areas have improved) but do consider travel. 

Every hour you spend in a tram is an hour of your life (and I think an hour is still considered average travelling time in Berlin).

How long will your internship be for and are you thinking of staying in Berlin for longer?

 

I have been looking into PB, but while travelling time is an important consideration, it's not all that high up on my list - rent and locality are. I'll be there for a couple of months, but I'm uncertain about anything long-term for now. 

On 8/31/2017, 12:22:15, zwiebelfisch said:

Potsdammer platz is just about the best connected place in berlin, I cant think of anywhere that would be especially difficult to get to.

 

At the end of the day it comes down to finding a place in Berlin.  For the 6 months or so that OP will be here it probably isnt possible to be too picky, and they should just take whatever they can find, ideally not in deepest far ex-DDR but other than that I sont think there is a need to worry.

 

I would be amazed if anyone thinks an hour is normal in berlin.  Its normal in london but in berlin most people I know have more like 20-30 minutes journey to work.  Even the person I mentioned elsewhere who lives in Spandau only has around 35 minutes to work.  I can get from Tegel to Schönefeld in just over an hour.

The centrality is the best thing about it. 

And you're right, given all the things I am already factoring in, it's a little difficult being picky. Unfortunately, the closer I get to Potsdamer Platz, the higher the rents rise. Most of the locations I've been considering have a commuting time of at least 40-50 minutes. 

 

On 8/31/2017, 3:49:18, catjones said:

This would be a good location for you.

I lived on Stresemannstraße.

Yep. I'm not worried about the work location at all. 

And what an ideal location that must have been. But similar locales are bit too over my budget, unfortunately. 

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On 30.08.2017 21:44:00, Metall said:

 

... first and foremost of which would be Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey. He banned wearing the fez (men's red felt cap) and the headscarf in public, mandated school FOR GIRLS, mandated the Latin alphabet, a proper legal system etc. etc. etc.

Boohoo that the fundamentalists cannot flaunt their cloth cages.

 

My dearest female Turkish relative, who is past seventy by now, still proudly walks with no hijab or headscarf and advocates university for my female cousins. We love and admire her.

 

Compulsory schooling for all Muslim children started during Sultan Mahmut II, before the reform period and around 100 years before the Republic - 1824. This was mostly a superficial religious and daily life education in a mixed system at primary school level and the order did not become widespread but it was there nevertheless. Education for women became more widespread gradually, especially with the reform period. Women entered the work force first as teachers, again pretty long before the republic.  The concept of mixed education is very interesting during the Ottoman period. The number of mixed primary schools opened by Muslim foundations was way more than primary schools for boys only - opened by the later republicans. In this respect, separated education seems to have more to do with modernity in our history  - although higher education for women did mean more separation during the Ottoman period, too. Women entered what is known as Istanbul University today in 1919, again before Atatürk. It was mixed education. 

 

The "official" republican history presents things in such a way sometimes that it seems as if women were "granted" rights by Atatürk. This is, again, only partly, true. The first wave of Turkish feminism dates back to the period of Second Meşrutiyet, when censor was lifted. Women had more than 30 associations, loads and loads of magazines etc. They had also given an ultimatum that they wanted to watch the talks in the Parliament or they would knock that place down. 

 

Indeed, the first political party after the Republic which completed its application process properly - papers, mission etc- was not Atatürk's CHP but Women's People's Party under Nezihe Muhiddin. The purpose of this party would be to defend women's rights but its application process was purposefully delayed by Atatürk and his friends - known as the First Group in the Parliament. Then it was rejected saying this party would mean divisiveness (like dividing the country) in the lst reject it received and women would be better off in areas like charity. The single party period of CHP lasted until 1946. Nezihe Muhiddin turned the women's group into an association, which was later charged with corruption and closed. At some point, women were forced to practice self-censor.  The suffrage that came in 1934 was not something granted by Atatürk out of nowhere. To the contrary, women had voiced it for 9 years before it was earnt. The day it was accepted, Nezihe Muhiddin's Turkish Women's Association was asked to close itself as it completed its purpose. IMO these are very important parts of our history of women's rights. 

 

And again, though, Atatürk never banned the headscarf unlike the periods afterward. 

 

The "banning" of fez etc also resulted in many executions by"travelling courts", one being a woman executed there and then, not fully understanding why she was being executed. She is known as Şalcı Bacı - Shawl Seller Sister- a devout independent Muslim woman earning her life selling shawls. We owe a lot to our modernity as well, but we cannot deny that it was so top-down and at the cost of many lives indeed, which caused a reaction - indeed a democratic reaction IMO- in the public. This is one of the reasons why CHP never won an election on its own after the single-party period ended - that was in 1946.  Even the first multi-party election was "open vote, secret /closed counting". We are a total of all these things I guess. 

 

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On 31.8.2017, 00:26:16, namia said:

WOW. What. A. Mess.

 

This is definitely not what I had in mind. 

 

So, I've actually considered humoring some of your notions and ideas, but I figure this would unleash a further torrent of comments, which I really don't have the time for. I will say this though: I owe no one any justifications for the life I choose to live and how I live it. I have no interest in appeasing or offending any person or society. I cannot and will not generalize my experience with my faith and claim it is the same for others. Yes, the headscarf can be imposed in some countries, cultures etc. And while you may believe this to be a result of the religion, I assure you it is everything but Islamic. These instances are the result of patriarchal systems set into place by the culture of that community. It is unfortunate that the lines between religion and culture have been blurred, because that muddled up idea is what most people (unfamiliar with the religion) consider to be Islam. I assure you, it is not. 

 

I realize that some people want to play the devil's advocate and stir the pot further. To them I'd say, let's agree to disagree. For those who really oppose whatever they think my choice of garb represents, arguing with you would be futile, since it seems you already have minds made up. If you have genuine concerns, you could always directly ask me. Also, I know my Marxism. So anyone trying to make me realize I've been duped into a life not taken up by my choice, should now give up. I'm looking at you @rohit_2543. Thank you very much for your enlightenment. 

I'm sorry that a lot of you feel this way, but you need to realize you have your experiences that make you, you, and I have mine. 

 

I feel like I might've been too optimistic about the response I'd get here.

However, to the absolutely lovely people who did answer my question, I see you, and THANK YOU! :)

 

Actually, the conversation I'd like to see is one where you and the religious police in Saudi Arabia and Iran discuss why the religious police, rather than the regular police, are the enforcers of a dress code, as they and their masters seem to be the ones that don't understand that it's not a religious requirement. 

 

Alternatively, perhaps you and the Muslim Student Association at my university in the US could discuss this topic since they put out a pamphlet which among other things gave instructions on how a male should talk to a Muslim woman (avoiding direct eye contact and keeping it short). It seems that they didn't get the memo either. 

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And while you are doing that you might like to question why the French police enforced the removal of clothing from women judged to be too covered up on the beach.

 

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Both conquistador´s  last paragraph and snowingagain´s question fill me with horror. No let and let live people around any more?

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On 8/31/2017, 12:26:16, namia said:

This is definitely not what I had in mind. 

 

Do you seriously not read the threads on this site?

 

come on.  

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2 hours ago, Conquistador said:

Actually, the conversation I'd like to see is one where you and the religious police in Saudi Arabia and Iran discuss why the religious police, rather than the regular police, are the enforcers of a dress code, as they and their masters seem to be the ones that don't understand that it's not a religious requirement. 

 

Alternatively, perhaps you and the Muslim Student Association at my university in the US could discuss this topic since they put out a pamphlet which among other things gave instructions on how a male should talk to a Muslim woman (avoiding direct eye contact and keeping it short). It seems that they didn't get the memo either. 

 

Why should namia do any such thing? She is neither responsible for the rulers of Saudi Arabia nor some over-enthusiastic MSA students at an American university. 

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8 hours ago, Eupathic Impulse said:

 

Why should namia do any such thing? She is neither responsible for the rulers of Saudi Arabia nor some over-enthusiastic MSA students at an American university. 

If what she claims is true (i.e., she dresses like she does by her own choice), she supports a culture that promotes behaviors like the ones described.

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6 hours ago, MikeMelga said:

If what she claims is true (i.e., she dresses like she does by her own choice), she supports a culture that promotes behaviors like the ones described.

 

OK, explain this to me.  In what way does her dressing "like she does by her own choice support a culture" such as Saudi Arabia that has a governmental entity that enforces a restrictive dress code on women?

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Don't be naif, she does not dress like she dresses because she think it looks cool. The underlying reasons are part of the same patriarch culture of Saudi Arabia.

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On 8/29/2017, 6:43:11, coolness.personified said:

It's pretty cool that western women travelling alone would be totally safe in Pakistan. Thanks for pointing that out. I really had no idea about that.

 

To be fair, what the OP said was " as safe as any other woman in the same country ", which is rather different than "totally safe".  

 

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1 hour ago, MikeMelga said:

Don't be naif, she does not dress like she dresses because she think it looks cool. The underlying reasons are part of the same patriarch culture of Saudi Arabia.

 

Do your wife and/or any of your female friends/relatives wear makeup and/or shave armpits and legs?  

 

In the eyes of some feminists, it would mean that they are victims of the patriarchy no matter how much they insist that they do those things by choice.   

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1 hour ago, MikeMelga said:

Don't be naif, she does not dress like she dresses because she think it looks cool. The underlying reasons are part of the same patriarch culture of Saudi Arabia.

 

In what way is your own attitude not patriarchal when you are very antidemocratically "reading" intentions of a woman, defining her existence from a limited perspective that is accessible to you? Correct me if I'm wrong but I personally do not even think  you have ever sat down in your life with a woman in niqab hearing anything about her life, her opinions, whatever in a friendly chat. And even if you did, that person would not be representing all niqab wearers anyway. You seem to be simply insisting on the universal validity of your opinions about next to completely unknown human subjects to yourself, while at the same time mentioning patriarchy.

 

I know a lot of women, probably more educated and informed than you in these things - unless you are at least an associate prof in a respectable western university in a related department. What makes your word more valid than theirs? They can theorize it much better than "don't be naive" when a question is asked. 

 

I also know a lot of women who have opposed everything that patriarchy does, sometimes at the cost of their lives knowingly and no, some did not leave their chosen garments behind. Indeed, the first Muslim feminist funeral I attended where women came to the front to represent the deceased person was that of a woman who wore burqa at the request of her husband, started writing in a Hezbollah (!!!!!) related magazine where her opinions became so "radical" in terms of interpreting Q'uran and feminism - also with the influence of her leftist female relative. She then started appearing on TV under rather patriarchal conditions, commenting on women's breasts, clothing, menstruation blood and religious practices and everything. She had left the burqa but kept her headscarf. That's her intimate relationship. She knew she would be killed by Hezbollah, she was. After 40 days of torture, videos of which the police could not bring themselves to watch. Feminist funeral was her will. If you saw her, you would see a chubby woman with a headscarf and a long coat demonstrating her support for patriarchy. She didn't no matter how your brain processed the information you had in front of your eyes. She rejected it at a level that would never be able to dare.

 

What makes our word carry more weight than hers? That we managed to put a Saudi in charge of these at UN level and are  not doing anything about it? And not even because we believe that's a useful guy. Just because womens' issues have become something "soft" and "petty" at a very co-opted level so when we want some funding, we give some position to the patriarchs in these "harmless" offices. Now, that demonstrates more support for patriarchy than an individual in niqab can ever do. Let's live with it and carry on believing in ourselves.  

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11 minutes ago, zeino said:

You seem to be simply insisting on the universal validity of your opinions about next to completely unknown human subjects to yourself

 

yeah, but I don't think it's particularly patriarchal to do that.  It's just ignorant.

 

comment to Zeino ends here.

 

all these threads are just FILLED with presumption on top of imagination often with a sprinkling of projection thrown in.

 

IT'S RIDICULOUS to spend so much time responding to people who will NEVER "HEAR" YOU.  Same people say the same things over and over and over again.  Come on!  It's saturday night!  FFS. 

 

 

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4 hours ago, SA618 said:

 

Do your wife and/or any of your female friends/relatives wear makeup and/or shave armpits and legs?  

 

In the eyes of some feminists, it would mean that they are victims of the patriarchy no matter how much they insist that they do those things by choice.   

So lesbians don't use makeup or shave their armpits, huh? There goes your theory.

Cmon, took me 5 seconds to think of an answer!

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3 hours ago, zeino said:

I also know a lot of women who have opposed everything that patriarchy does, sometimes at the cost of their lives knowingly and no, some did not leave their chosen garments behind. Indeed, the first Muslim feminist funeral I attended where women came to the front to represent the deceased person was that of a woman who wore burqa at the request of her husband, started writing in a Hezbollah (!!!!!) related magazine where her opinions became so "radical" in terms of interpreting Q'uran and feminism - also with the influence of her leftist female relative. She then started appearing on TV under rather patriarchal conditions, commenting on women's breasts, clothing, menstruation blood and religious practices and everything. She had left the burqa but kept her headscarf. That's her intimate relationship. She knew she would be killed by Hezbollah, she was. After 40 days of torture, videos of which the police could not bring themselves to watch. Feminist funeral was her will. If you saw her, you would see a chubby woman with a headscarf and a long coat demonstrating her support for patriarchy. She didn't no matter how your brain processed the information you had in front of your eyes. She rejected it at a level that would never be able to dare.

So you found a rare example and you want to make it the rule? And you ask me to ignore the rule and consider the OP an example? Does that even make sense?

You hide nonsense in the middle of a sad story.

 

And the women you spoke, she went from burca to headscarf. But she seems to require more time to get over the brainwash she had, and get rid of the headscarf. So your reasoning is not proven.

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