An anti-veil English journalist, admiring Nouhaila Benzina, the first veiled player of the World Cup

An anti-veil English journalist, admiring Nouhaila Benzina, the first veiled player of the World Cup

This will not be the least of her exploits… When the appearance of Nouhaila Benzina, the first veiled player of the Women’s Football World Cup, is so striking, impressive, that it shakes the certainties of a journalist British on the hijab and the women who wear it.

Among the striking images of the 2023 World Cup that will remain etched in our memories, that of the appearance on the Australian lawn of Nouhaila Benzina, the defender of the Atlas Lionesses, is by far the most highly symbolic for Stephano Hatfield. .

It caused such a visual shock to the editor-in-chief of the Inews information site that it led him to engage in a difficult exercise: a mea culpa of great sincerity. “I was wrong about the hijab and the Moroccan Nouhaila Benzina has just proven it”, he wrote in an editorial of great sincerity.

In a Europe that usually resounds with the anathemas thrown against the wearing of the veil and those who wear it, this mea culpa which comes from the heart rings happily in the ears.

Stephano Hatfield

Endless with praise for the Moroccan player who, among other feats, has turned her perception of the Islamic headscarf upside down and brought down her prejudices, Stephano Hatfield has beaten his guilt under an admiring pen and an honesty rare enough to be saluted.

Here is what inspired him the vision of Nouhaila Benzina, the Moroccan player who became a football legend at the age of 25:

Morocco’s historic victory against South Korea was remarkable, but this image of Nouhaila Benzina in a white top will become a symbol. His images are so impressive and profound that they change the world. »

This weekend we witnessed such a moment at the Women’s World Cup in Australia. Benzina, from Morocco, became the first player to compete in the World Cup with a veil, playing against South Korea. The 25-year-old defender’s white outfit included pants, a shirt and a veil that immediately became a symbol of female power. »

I deliberately chose the word “power” with precision to describe it. Ten years ago, I couldn’t imagine writing something like this. Like many others in the West I saw the veil as a tool of repression. I considered him a symbol of the deprivation of freedom of women in the Islamic world. But now my perspective has completely changed. »