The girls in the picture are the two French sisters Alma and Lila Lévy-Omari. Their story is so famous in France. Even though their parents are non religious (Jewish father and an Arab non practicing Muslimah mother), but the two French girls fell in love with the religion of Islam. At the beginning, the two girls stopped eating pork.
A while later, they informed their father that they intended to fast during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan. Then the sisters informed him of their intention to pray five times a day, as commanded by the Qur’an. There is no reason why they shouldn’t do this, thought the father. Then they stopped going to the beach and wearing bathing suits. At night the two sat and learned chapters of the Qur’an by heart. Friends in the neighborhood and at school were amazed by the change in the two cheerful young women.
Gradually they began to wrap themselves in long clothing, even in the summer, and covered their legs with thick stockings. A little while later, the transformation was completed. Lila and Alma donned scarves and covered their heads. At school they stopped talking to boys. They did not take part in physical education classes, as they were required to wear gym clothes that they felt revealed too much of their bodies.
In 2003, the headmaster of their high school made them choose between removing their “Hijab” (it wasn’t even a Hijab, they just covered their head, neck and ears) and between being excluded from their high school for ever. He even suggested that they show their ears and neck so that he let them continue their studies. But Alma and Lila considered that “showing ears and neck is no longer Islamic, is no longer Hijab” and refused the suggestion of the headmaster of their high school and left it on 24th September 2003.
Their Jewish father who is a lawyer, supported the decision of their daughters
“what a father would do if their daughters want to be modest?!” said the father “what they are wearing is not even the Islamic Hijab which should cover the chest! I support my daughters and I am proud of them!” One of the reasons some politicians and scholars cite for supporting the ban of the head covering is that the scarf -in their view- is a universal symbol of women being oppressed by men.
Alma says: “In my point of view, if you want to defend an oppressed woman, then don’t oppress another one.” Today, hundreds of girls like Lila and Alma Levy are forced to make a decision: To take off the scarf and continue their education or to insist on wearing it and face exclusion and even humiliation.
This is a clear message to every Muslimah who says that she can’t wear Hijab because they don’t allow it in her school/work.