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A Journey Through Merkel’s Germany: Affluent, Anxious and Almost Normal

  • September 26, 2021

So when she was invited for her first job interview, she called ahead to warn the school.

It was 2018. The secretary consulted with the headmaster, who promptly reassured her, “What matters is what’s in your head, not what’s on your head.”

She got that job and others since.

It wasn’t always easy. “The students forget about the head scarf very quickly,” Ms. Soysal said. But some parents complained to the head teacher.

Once, a student asked Ms. Soysal’s advice. The girl was wearing a head scarf but was unsure about it. “If it doesn’t feel right, you need to take it off,” Ms. Soysal told her.

For her, that is what freedom of religion, enshrined in the German Constitution, is all about. “The thing is, I am German,” she said, “so my head scarf is German, too.”

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