The candidate for president of the European Commission and current Minister of Defence of Germany, Ursula von der Leyen, presents her nomination to the position of European leader this Tuesday. Muslims make up approximately 5% of the population she wants to represent. A defender of “diversity” in society, this Christian Democrat has promoted the next incorporation of rabbis and imams to the German Army, but she did not always have an inclusive policy.
The acting Spanish Foreign Minister, Josep Borrell, will become the high representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy next Novembre. In his new job as head of European diplomacy, Borrell will also deal with issues including the common European defense and migration from outside the EU.
Zainab Khan defines herself as “a human being” who happens to be a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a mentor, a Muslim… Someone for whom her heritage is “very important, because that’s the story I’m able to preserve”. Her father was from Afghanistan, her mother was Indo-Pakistani and she was born and raised in the US, so she feels like a “third spacer”.
Kristin Bohner is Christian and admits certain envy every time she sees Muslims prostrate themselves on a rug to pray, without using a bank. Cagatay Caliskan is Muslim and admires the wealth of traditions Jews have. Esther Hirsch is Jewish and recognizes that she did not know all the things that Jews and Muslims had in common. All three of them live in Berlin. They are part of a team that is working to build the first great sacred place that will host three religions and all the others which want to take part, welcoming atheists or agnostics as well. The doors of ‘House of One‘ will be wide open to everyone.
The outspoken journalist and activist Mona Eltahawy thinks everyone has the “right to offend”, just like everyone has the right to “protest offence”. She suffered censorship crudely enough in the past, and therefore defends tackling white supremacism as well as patriarchy by fighting back. Peacefully.
Islamophobia is the new normal, also among politicians of any ideology, co-editor of the European Islamophobia Report, Enes Bayrakli, says. He warns this -which he considers “anti-Muslim racism” threatens the very foundations of democracy in Europe, with possible new terror attacks but also from within the institutions.
Alicia cannot stop smiling. Aladdin makes jokes and laughs. They have such an energy that nobody would say it has been only ten days since they became parents. Amelia sleeps peacefully next to her parents while they chat with Salam Plan in a cafe in Madrid on a cold January morning. They gladly share their love story for Valentine’s Day.
“Without my illness, I don’t think I would have the same drive.” Sannah Hussain would love to be a professional boxer, but she suffers from Albinism and an auto-immune condition which do not let her see well or have the physical strength she might need. Nevertheless, she does not give up and already took part in an exhibition fight last Septembre, after just about half a year of training. Another one is planned for next March.