The TV announcer

By Yehia Abu Zakariya, IOL Stockholm Correspondent

STOKHOLM, September 1 ( – In an unprecedented incident, a Muslim veiled woman has managed to work as a TV announcer in Sweden and appear in her Islamic apparel before millions of audiences, talking to them about different programs, without fearing discrimination or harassment.

This followed the official Swedish TV decision that has been taken lately to the effect that Sweden respects cultures and religions and that religious freedom is guaranteed to all under the Swedish law.

With this move, the Swedish TV becomes the first western media organization that allows a Muslim veiled woman to be an announcer dealing with Christian audience and talking to them in their language and may tackle subjects related to their lives.

It is worth noting that the official Swedish TV is far more conservative than other some Arab media organizations, as porno movies are forbidden and publicity for different kinds of alcohol is prohibited.

It has become familiar in Sweden to meet veiled women everywhere in work places, like post offices, hospitals, education institutions and others.

Nadia Gabriel, a Swedish of Palestinian origin, worked in the Swedish TV with the team of “Mosaic” program that deals with the issues of expatriates living in the Swedish community, before some refer to her veil. Yet, she fought until her veil was recognized in the Swedish TV by virtue of the latest decision.

Veiled women face no discrimination problems in Sweden

In an interview with correspondent Monday, September 1, she said that she is happy with the decision and that she is committed towards her veil. She added that she speaks Arabic as fluently as Swedish, which is her mother tongue as she was born in Sweden.

She pointed out that she will present a program starting 2004 that deals primarily with kitchen affairs, adding that such programs are very popular in Sweden.

About her future plans, Gabriel said that she thinks of preparing serious programs that aim at helping immigrants in Sweden, hoping such programs may achieve success. She underlined that her veil will not prevent her from performing her media duties even in the most liberal communities like Sweden.

According to the laws applicable in Sweden, any veiled woman, who is exposed to any racial or religious discrimination due to her veil, shall have the right to sue her employer who treated her badly because of her veil.

A Swedish Muslim girl had been fired from her job in a large store in Sweden. She sued her employer and was done justice by the court that handles discrimination issues. She returned to her job and obtained a good compensation.

Due to these laws that grant Muslim women the right to wear veils, Sweden is almost free of the phenomenon of harassing veiled women, contrary to what happens in Belgium, France and some other western states.

Swedish and non-Swedish women have the right to get official passports and identity cards, without having to remove their veils, as all government circles accept veiled women in Sweden without the least annoyance.