may be a topical subject but it is rarely one that is seen from the
viewpoint of children. Yet my experience as a Muslim woman and mother allows me
to see that
it is children who are able to pro­vide us, on a daily basis,
with examples of
integration, without being unaware of it and without spending
rivers of words on the subject.

Naturally for this
to work, it requires that there be no intervention from adults
who tend to contaminate the in­nocent minds of children with precon­ceived

Children are
extremely spontaneous in their interactions and at times quite un­forgiving
in their judgment of others. At the same time however, they are less in­clined to be conditioned by the need to keep up appearances. That is why they are an ideal place to look for examples of integration.

So what is

Integration is a Muslim girl who goes to school wearing hijab headscarf with the same innocence with which her Christian classmate wears a hat. Integration
is her Christian friend telling her:
1 like you more without it “, and she replies: “Well. I don t
have to please you”, and a few seconds
later they are still happily playing

Integration is a
little girl who at first has fun by pulling the hijab of her Muslim friend
but then wants to try it on to see how she looks and tells her
that the scarves
she wears are very beautiful. Integration is a Muslim girl who turns up to
a fancy-dress celebration at school in her Persian princess”
dress, fully veiled, and steals the show.

Integration is a
Muslim girl visiting her friend and being told that her father is still
at home and that she will have to wait until he leaves before
she can re­move
her veil.
is a Muslim girl who takes part in a volleyball tournament wearing a
tracksuit and scarf while her team­mates are in vests and

Integration is a
teacher who submits the text for a Christmas recital to the par­ents
of a Muslim child to see if it is ac­ceptable for her to
participate in it. Integration is a Muslim girl who is told by
her mother that she can take part in the recital since it does
not contain any­thing that is against their religion, with the
exception of a small sentence, which can be elided when that
part of the re­cital is reached.

Integration is a
group of children at­tending the home of their Muslim class­mate
and taking off their shoes at the entrance because they know that it is an Islamic
custom that seeks to prevent the carpets on
which Muslims pray from be­coming
impure. Integration is a Muslim girl who shares with her non Muslim friend
her free time and interests on the basis of a
relation­ship of mutual respect and
common principles, indifferent to the
fact that there are other aspects of
their lives that are different.

What matters to them
is the fact that they have been able to find common points
of encounter beyond their ob­jective differences. All this is possible because
children unlike adults are not intimidated by diversity but intrigued.
integration does not need too many words, it just needs a
little understand­ing.

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