Belgian girl halts social experiment after wearing a headscarf for 10 days

In Belgium a Flemish girl named Silke Raats tried to do a social experiment. She faced life as a muslima with headscarf but she stopped her experiment prematurely because of the extreme reactions from her surroundings. It shows that muslimas have to face a lot of disgust and incomprehension anytime they walk the streets with a veil.

Silke’s social experiment where she was going to walk around with a headscarf for one month ended after only ten days. Reactions such as: “For her birthday we should book a ticket to Syria” or “She mustn’t come too close, who knows she might start throwing bombs” made her decide to call it quits after ten days.



She says she was “very shocked” by the reactions she got during experiment. Her circle of friends diminished immediately and also within her family she encountered incomprehension and disgust. Through this experiment it became clear to her that the prejudices of society towards Muslim women are downright hallucinatory.

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However, I can understand that friends and family are surprised when Silke is making such a major change from one day to the next. Emotional responses that emerge are not abnormal, even professors would behave less rational in such a time than they initially would reasonably want.

Joint condemnation

And even with that I can live. After all, I do not believe that a human on itself can ‘degenerate’ by the emotional stimuli and I consider it as something not desirable. However, there is a red line that we as western society have drawn together. Namely that personal disappointment turns into the behavior towards the person concerned. The barrage of disrespectful and degrading comments that Silke has had to endure we must strictly condemn as a society.

White integration

What is even more disturbing was the way in which the responses were relativized in the media. We must understand that Silke was waiting for something like that because people can disagree. Complete nonsense if you ask me. It had probably been something entirely different if not Silke, but Fatima or Aicha conducted a similar experiment, but as “ex-Muslim” only to encouter the same kind of rejection. Then the papers were probably indeed be filled with pessimistic columns about that damned disintegrated Flemish Muslim community.

It shows that Flanders, and to expand the West as a whole still has much work ahead, if she wants to teach its citizens to live together in the pluralistic region that it is de facto. Integration is a verb which we have to conjugate together. Only like this you can re-educate a society according to the universal norms and values.

Written by Khalid El Jafoufi

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Khalid El Jafoufi is a 21-year-old law student with an interest in politics, sociology, ethics and education.