What is it like to live as a woman who covers her face with a veil in Germany? How do people on the street react? Chamselassil Ayari, a reporter for Deutsche Welle’s Arab language service, wore a Muslim full-body covering garment for one day. Her experiment began on a sunny spring Saturday afternoon on Cologne’s busiest shopping street.

Ayari describes a scene in a café where she pauses and tries to drink a coffee:

“A woman, I put her at around 40 years old, smiles at me. Afterwards she tells us that she had never before seen a woman wearing a veil in a German cafe or restaurant. She says it was unusual, but she also welcomed it, saying it reflected Cologne’s multicultural makeup. ‘I was raised to accept others,’ she says.

The waitress more or less said the same thing. She thought that I was a tourist from one of the Gulf states. ‘At first I thought, ‘That looks strange and foreign!’ But I myself travel to foreign countries and really want to visit Iran or Iraq one day,’ she says. Tolerance, curiosity, being open-minded: that’s not just important when travelling. ‘Once I saw how hard it was for you to drink your coffee, I thought, ‘Oh, that is much too complicated,” she says.

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