Saturday, May 13, 2006

What does 'The Face Behind The Veil' look like ?

Twice part of a Pulitzer prize winning team of journalists,Donna Gehrke-White hopes to dispel some of the myths about Muslims, andmost specifically, Muslim women, in her book, "The Face Behind the Veil:The Extraordinary Lives of Muslim Women in America" which was released March 7.

The Muslim women, or Muslimah, Mrs. Gehrke-Whiteinterviewed in the wakeof Sept. 11 surprised her."I got fascinated with these women because they were very spiritual,very peaceful and calm," says Mrs. Gehrke-White.She wondered what their secret was."I wanted to know them more because they fascinated me - how they were willing to endure humiliation (and) harassment for their faith," shesays.

The Muslim women she knew in south Florida helped her find more Muslim women to feature in the book. She also surfed theInternet at night and met several more of the 50 women featured in "The Face Behind The Veil"in chat rooms or through other Muslims online.

She was amazed at their diversity."Some were born in this country. Others areimmigrants, others aredaughters of immigrants, and still others aredaughters of converts,"Mrs. Gehrke-White says. "They're attorneys, they're doctors, they're professors, social workers, teachers.""Many are educated and they attribute their faith toencouraging them toget an education," she adds.She hopes that in reading the book, people's conceptions of Muslim women will change.