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Muslims seek a delicate balance in a secular Europe
by Nick Shindo Street
A light rain was falling as young men and women — some in hip European street clothes, others in hijabs or ankle-length robes — made their way under the high, saw-toothed roof of a former train depot for the annual Muslim Fair of Brussels. This year's theme was "Islam and Reforms."
"Where are the women?" asked Julie Pascoet as she took stock of the crowd in the fair's VIP area. Pascoet, 32, her face and shining brown eyes framed in a light-colored hijab, is a policy analyst with a progressive anti-discrimination group that includes several prominent Muslim activists.
"I'm trying to promote the inclusion of Muslims in the majority society, but I have also been saying that it's not acceptable, for example, to have so few Muslim women speaking in front of mixed Muslim crowds — both men and women," Pascoet said.
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