Foreign in her own country

Is it okay to wear a headscarf as a German journalist? And how can you defend yourself against everyday racism? Blogger Kübra Gümüsay from Hamburg has an answer to both questions.

People from Hamburg always loved traveling the world. Journalist and blogger Kübra Gümüsay is no exception: London, Turkey, Cairo – the 27-year-old is on the road most of the time. For the last three years she has been living with her husband at Oxford. There she's doing what she's been doing quite successfully for a while now: writing and debating. Kübra Gümüsay has a clear message: she wants to point out that her religion has nothing to do with terrorism or violence. The woman from Hamburg is a Muslima with Turkish roots and has no issue with showing it: her hair is hidden underneath an accurate bound headscarf, prays regularly and sticks to the Ramadan.

But she never feels repressed. Quite the contratry! Since 2008 she has her own blog with which she wants to present another face of Islam to the world: "A Dictionary of foreign words" is the name of her digital diary in which she talks about her experiences of German-Turkish daily life. In 2011 the blog was nominated for the Grimme Prize. Up to 13,000 readers click on her blog every month. At the age of 21 she became a columnist for the "taz". "Medium" has named Kübra Gümüsay among their top 30 newcomer journalists in 2011.

A young woman wearing a headscarf as a successful journalist? For many in Germany this is unusual, for some even provocative. Kübra Gümüsay is used to angry e-mails. And even within her circle of friends she experiences everyday racism. A friend once told her that he does not see her as a true German. When she asked him why, he told her, because she wears a headscarf.

But the grandchild of an immigrant worker does not only want her focus on this topic alone. Discrimination and exclusion happens everywhere. Therefore she also wants to talk about sexism and intolerance towards different lifestyles. One year ago she started the Twitter hashtag #schauhin (“Look at it”) to collect experiences that deal with everyday racism.

But does she feel German? To such a question she says: "My taste of music, art, literature, religion, friends and family is what shapes me. And not primarily a state or a nation."

Right now the activist is working on a youth book about migration and integration. Journalistic-wise she wants to keep focusing on socio-political-topics. She finds stories on women especially interesting. In cooperation with a hat maker she already created a hat that women with headscarves can wear. No matter what she does, one thing is obvious: This was not the last time that we heard from this strong woman.