Clash of civilizations update. I hope these double-life girls don’t end up murdered in an “honor killing.” From the Pretoria News, with thanks to Skeetstreet:
For the past four years, 24-year-old engineering student Sofia Ahmed has been leading a double life. During a typical week, she will study in her university library by day, then head to any one of Liverpool’s many student bars at night.
There, she will party until the early hours: drinking, smoking and experimenting with the hedonistic lifestyle of a typical British
But at the weekend, Sofia plays the role of a completely different person; a dutiful daughter of a well-to-do, traditional Muslim family who have raised their daughter to shun such Western temptations.
“Every Friday I get on a train home to Manchester to stay with my family,” she says. “It isn’t up for discussion; it is just expected. Before I leave, I tidy myself up, make sure I don’t smell of drink or cigarettes, and head home to play the dutiful daughter, helping my mother in the kitchen, attending mosque and sitting with my parents’ guests.”
On Sunday night, Sofia returns to Liverpool and the cycle begins again.
“Within half an hour, I will be slipping into a sexy dress and be on my way to a bar to meet friends.”
For most teenagers, university life brings the first experience of freedom from parental control. It is a taste of a life to come.
But for many female Muslims like Sofia, this taste is bittersweet. When she graduates this year, she will return to her parents’ home, where she’ll revert back to the life of a “good girl”, cocooned in a close-knit community where drinking, smoking and having boyfriends is considered sinful.
“In my time at university I have done everything that is forbidden by my religion. I didn’t set out to rebel, nor did I feel peer pressure to do what I’ve been doing,” she says.
“I was just genuinely curious about what all my friends were getting up to. You can’t grow up in this country and ignore the culture around you.”
And as more Muslim women than ever go into higher education, this double life is becoming something of a hidden social phenomenon.
Psychologist Irma Hussain has counselled many Muslim women who have experienced this culture clash.
“Muslim women have faced these conflicts for more than 20 years, but nowadays more women who come from very traditional families are going into higher education, which they never would have been allowed to before.”
“It is a great temptation to break from tradition when they are away from their family and everyone around them is having a good time, but it is not without consequences.”
“Some may look back and think it was fun, but others struggle with the double life and can never be happy leading such a conflicting