In the cultural trenches
She has a friend, a pediatrician, who often confronts the great divide between manifestations of Islam and Germany’s secular culture.
Our correspondent shares two examples.
An Arab couple with a newborn visited the doctor’s practice a couple of weeks ago. The woman was cloaked in a burka. It was the first time the doctor had personally encountered a woman fully covered. Her formless, faceless presence was unsettling as he attempted to address the newborn’s problems.
The doctor, like our correspondent, finds the burka “utterly demeaning to women.”
But the visit became even more disconcerting because, while the mother could ask the doctor questions, the couple insisted that he address only the husband, as is the custom.
While the doctor treated the child during the visit, he decided he could not continue to because he couldn’t communicate directly with the parent most responsible for the child’s health. He referred the couple and the infant to another doctor.
On another occasion, the doctor had a Turkish father come in with his teenage daughter. He asked the physician to determine if she was still a virgin. She was about to be married off and proof of her virginity was essential to striking the marital bargain. The doctor informed the father that he wasn't a gynecologist and didn't conduct such exams. Then the doctor added, "And even if I were, I would refuse you."
Our correspondent writes, “…after having lived in Europe a decade, I truly understand how the French and Germans feel about what is going on here. (Americans) need to come here and live in the trenches to understand.”