BREDA, Netherlands – Rabi’a Frank sees her Dutch home town through the narrow slit of the black veil that covers her face. The looks she receives from the townspeople are seldom kindly.On a recent winter afternoon, the wind tugged at her ankle-length taupe skirt, olive head scarf and black, rectangular face veil as she walked to her car from an Islamic prayer meeting in downtown Breda. Two blond teenagers on bicycles stared, their faces screwed into hostile snarls. Other passersby gawked. Some stepped off the sidewalk to avoid coming too near.
She tried to act like it didn’t offend her. But it did. She knows what they think of Muslim women like her. “If you cover yourself, you are oppressed – that’s it,” said Frank, a lanky, 29-year-old Dutch woman who converted to Islam 11 years ago, about the time she married her Moroccan husband. “You are being brainwashed by your husband or your friends.” Or, you’re a potential terrorist.