During the work days, not many women came into the mosque where Imam Faraj served, located in a big Austrian city under the Alps, as they were busy with their worldly matters. So before noon, when the time a Dhuhr prayer was approaching, his female aide, Fatima, was present almost alone by the small water fountains beside the mosque, where wudu mandatory ablution was executed by women, in privacy.
When Fatima was done with proper cleaning of her body, to wash away sins and bad thoughts, to be able to stand, bow and prostrate before Allah to ask for His endless Compassion and Mercy, she visited the Islamic Cultural Centre inside the mosque, and took her makeup tools, hidden in a small table in the corner, where she kept her personal belongings, and she started to improve her appearance, to be more feminine, using a small mirror.
As a woman, she couldn’t be completely satisfied with what she saw. Although only 32 years old, possessing beautiful black hair, her face looked older: the reason was, that in Yemen, her original homeland, when Fatima was only a 15 years old girl, her family became a part of endless tribe wars, sponsored secretly by the foreign players, and the night when heavily armed men came into their village, to commit an assault to humiliate their enemies, it left very unpleasant memories in the girl, that kind you can’t forget in a lifetime, as she lost her father and brother there, who defended their home with rifles in hands.
Fortunately, this old painful memories, still mirroring in her face, could be covered, at least visually, by applying a thick layer of make-up. Moreover, Fatima needed to be very feminine and distinctive on this day, a real Arabic beauty, proud and secretive, not to be easily conquered, not a slave of her instincts, weaknesses and ego, as Western women.
When she was done with preparation, Fatima moved to the place of prayer in the mosque, designated for women, meeting a friend there, called Layla, a young woman in her late 20’s who came here for Dhuhr regularly, as she obeyed one of the Imam Faraj’s Friday sermons, to protect herself against worldly corruption by praying in congregation regularly, as Layla was working in the luxury goods industry, where it was easy to forget Islamic values, and to become a mindlessly consuming Western woman, obsessed with her appearance, selfishness and luxurious brands.
When the prayer was finished, both women greeted properly, kissing on their cheeks. Layla was really impressive as a woman: cute, perfectly dressed, scented with a distinctive, heavy sweet Arabic perfume, only her hijab indicated, that her master is not the nearest shopping mall, but Almighty Allah, the Most Compassionate and the Most Merciful.
“Sister, I need a favor from you,” Fatima said openly, when they exchanged some small talk about health and family. “To save the mosque, I need to go to the city and to arrange some important things, but I need to be dressed impressively, to negotiate with kaffirs (=non believers) successfully. You still work in that fashion boutique near the main square, no?”
“I heard about it, so terrible thing is happening with our sacred masjid (=mosque),” Layla replied with anxiety. “Of course, sister, this is the least I can do for the cause! So come to my shop later at the afternoon, around four or five o’clock, and we will think of something, OK?”
After this beneficial arrangement with her suitably positioned friend, Fatima moved into the city center, full of historical landmarks, admired by tourists. In “Café Adler” near the main square, a favorite place for business and personal meetings during the day, a man around 40 years of age with light-coloured hair was expecting her, sitting at a table alone, drinking an orange juice, fresh newspaper in hands.
“When I received your latest request, I thought, that you must be joking,” the man said instead of a greeting, when Fatima sat down. It was evident, that he is in a superior position above her.
“To be paid 5.000 EUR from tax payers’s hard earned money, for some crazy operation to save the mosque? This is an Intelligence service, not a charity, not a cattery, not a welfare office!” the man said almost angrily, but then his face cleared from clouds. It seemed that he liked to be seen as a strict leader, to have more respect.
“You are so lucky, that higher places have their own interests in the matter, so they didn’t kicked me out, because then, I would kick you out,” he threatened half seriously.
“Of course they have very important interests here,” Fatima replied calmly, while she drank her coffee. “If I will persuade Imam Faraj about my utmost loyalty by saving the mosque, the quality of the Intelligence clues I will be able to acquire in the service environment will rise, and higher places, plus our tax payers of course, will be very satisfied, happy with so cheap price for such impressive achievements for national security.”
“I don’t know why you never take me seriously, Fatima,” the man sighed. “What did I do so wrong? You have no respect to me, as your superior! Should I show you all my medals, or what?”
“I do have big respect to your balanced personality of an undisputable leader and countless service achievements, sir!” Fatima seemed very insulted by such statement. “But you always seem so serious, full of worries, as you have too much responsibility, so I am just trying to entertain you, so you can serve to the beloved homeland better!” she added with dramatic gesture.
“Enough of this, or you will get me really into troubles,” the commander said after the last smile, when he looked around, whether someone sees the scene, fortunately, all people around paid attention rather to their smartphones, a tool of modern addiction.
“But you were wrong in your estimation this time, Mrs. Clever,” the man said with satisfaction. “The mosque is not a primary concern here, rather the tasty sauce around it: for example, a stolen NATO classified document and the suspected participation of a foreign paramilitary entity in the affair, which is very interesting for the HNA (=Army Intelligence Office), plus alleged Chinese participation of course, very interesting for higher places generally, and a big wedding in this city, where many interesting persons will gather soon.”
“Affirmative, sir. This is definitely a place that should be visited personally,” Fatima tried to play surprised by the deep knowledge of her commander.
“The problem is,” the man interrupted her, “that enough of another assets (=operatives) will be there, so I had really hard time to persuade the superiors that you will be allowed to participate too. I told them something about ‘suitable integration of our Islamic asset into overall Intelligence operations’, ‘excercising modern infiltration procedures’, ‘giving equal opportunities to religius minorities’ and similar leftist bullshit, and they ate it, to my deepest surprise.
You have your Allah: the god of us, decadent Western non-believers, is called ‘political correctness’: everybody listens to him, everybody is devoted to him, everybody is scared of him, as you can see!
Anyway, you made it, Fatima, this time… but next time, you should count that I will flush requests like this directly into the toilet, as soon as I will receive them. You are a too small fish for games like this. And any requests for money always make things much harder and less pleasant for me. Next time, you will go there instead of me, and you will beg them for the money personally, OK? As I said, this is no charity fundraising!”
“I am sure that the marvellous future results of the operation will improve your opinion towards my small suggestion, sir,” Fatima expressed her thanks, while the man stood up and he was leaving.
“Don’t forget to read the newspapers, many interesting articles are there,” the man said with irony. “And be so kind, pay my drink. I heard that you are quite a rich woman now, at least temporarily, so you can afford it: let’s just hope that no taxpayer is watching.”
It was the truth: five thousand Euros was inserted between the newspaper’s pages, as Fatima found immediately.
“Do you want me to count it, sir? And to sign an official confirmation that I successfully accepted the state property for necessary service purposes?” Fatima addressed the leaving man with pretended urgency, that she is a model accountant.
“I was too soft with you, woman, and now I regret it,” he sighed from the distance yet. “But integration of religious minorities is a good thing!”
Just a block away, there was a big pedestrian zone, where all key shops of the city were located. It was the most expensive street of them all, but if you opened your establishment there, your business was well seen, and it meant respected. Thus, you became a part of the city business nobility, in certain sense, so no local or multinational company hesitated too long, when a nice office space was offered there.
Fatima usually ignored all these shining, glamorous marquees, full of luxurious merchandise; the best world brands were present here, including those from the fashion industry, luring rich Russian and Chinese tourists with wallets full of gold inside. The boutiques even employed men and women from Russia and China deliberately, so the visitors could feel well and familiar inside, spending more time there, and it meant, that they could be persuaded to spend more.
Her female friend Layla was also such employee, but specialized at the rich Arab clientele, particularly from Qatar and Emirates, visiting famous local thermal spa. The boutique, where she worked, was a small brand, Fatima never heard of it in the media: “Woman’s Destiny”, said a decent sign outside.
Layla welcomed her acquaintance from the mosque cordially, as she was professionally trained. Fortunately, her supervising manager was not present at the moment, so both young women could talk and examine the goods openly.
“The brand we sell here is very special and unique. Only extremely limited, small series, only the best materials and manufacturing processes. For the customers, who search for an ultimate quality, and rarity,” Layla explained, showing the merchandise.
“This is called ‘Cleopatra Collection’, originating from Egypt, very nice, very decent, quite affordable, still very impressive. But if it’s something special you want, an ultimate Islamic fashion, then have a look at this, it arrived just yesterday: it’s called the ‘Superior Woman’, directly from Saudi Arabia.
Only silk and gold are used, as Islam allows wearing of these materials only to women, as you know. So, the concept of this unique collection is to emphasize women Islamic rights. We own silk, we own gold,” Layla confirmed her selling qualities.
Fatima had to admit that she was completely captivated by a black abaja with distinctive golden decorations. It was an utmost luxury. Only by touching it, she could feel the beautifully soft material.
“There is no price tag,” Fatima wondered.
“This is a luxury shop, sister! We don’t have such things here. We sell our stuff to people who are willing to pay the money, if they like something. Another rules are valid here, than in common shopping mall. You can ask the price, and we will be glad to inform you, but we will add thousands reasons why you should definitely buy it, as it looks perfectly on you… and so on, I am sure you understand our perfect psychological strategy to sell anything… at any price,” Layla smiled with pride.
“So, what is the price of this nice abaja?” Fatima was interested, and she felt really humiliated. She would never come into such shop, under normal conditions, it was nothing for her, her wage was sufficient only for modest Mango brand anyway… fortunately, Layla was a good friend, and a Muslim sister.
“Maybe it will be better, if I will ask the owner to borrow it to you for free,” Layla suggested cleverly. “Because you are a local celebrity, and you go to a big party, where all that Hollywood actors will be present, so you will make a great and free advertisement for the brand.. sounds good, no? Fortunately, she is still here in the city, she came just yesterday with the package and her funny overweight male aide, who seems to be always drunk. She should come around six o’clock, to finish the necessary arrangements. So we will talk with her, and you will play your role well, OK?”
“Actually, I will really attend such event,” Fatima confessed modestly. “A big wedding.”
“You don’t say!” Layla was surprised sincerely. “There will be at least one Hollywood celebrity, Lisa Barbuscia, a former supermodel, so I won’t even lie! Perfect! And could you get me there, sister? You see, for my line of work, it’s important to be present and seen at such events… but this is not an open event, no VIP passes are issued and the media are banned, so even my perfect Public Relations contacts were unable to help me this time. But I am dying to see it, to be there!”
“I can attempt to get you inside, of course. But I will need your help,” the other woman smiled with satisfaction.
Fatima was instructed to return into the shop when signalled, as her friend will “prepare the ground for successful negotiation”. So she was waiting nearby, watching the crowds of people around, returning from work, mixed with tourists.
She missed the Asr prayer, she realized suddenly. This was another world, than in the mosque. Another rules, another values. She could understand easily now, why it’s so easy to become corrupted, to forget Allah, to start comitting sins and relying on His endless Mercy too much.
It was simply hard to keep the faith in this faithless lands, always drunk and obsessed with liberty, as soon as you left the mosque…
Fatima’s phone beeped, so she returned to the shop, where a woman around 40 years, a nice-looking, well built brunette was just checking some business papers.
“Nice to meet you, Fatima! I am Suzanne Hasselblattova,” she welcomed the visitor with professional smile. “Layla told me about the star event you will attend, and it will be our pleasure to supply you with an impressive dress! This is how we do advertisements our way: not using media, just using our own customers, the women, who wear our dresses publicly, who are satisfied and beautiful,” she explained with passion.
Both women shook hands. “How nice of you, Mrs. Hasselblattova! Be assured, that this wedding will be really a high profile event. Any dress will be watched very closely, and I will be happy to mention where it comes from!” Fatima promised.
“I have no doubt about it,” Suzanne smiled. “You will be most likely the only Muslim women there! I will be present there too, so I will see the dress and you at the action!”
“I was told by Layla, that you would prefer this abaja,” the older woman continued. “Considering the circumstances, and considering, that this brand is directed at VIP Muslim women… I would like to give it to you as a gift, Fatima! And if you will stop here anytime in the future, please, feel free to choose what you like, Layla will prepare all nice accessories for you, also a part of the ‘Superior Woman’ collection,” the owner showed at countless goods around, including jewelry.
Fatima was hesitant to accept it, to be obliged to the woman, or something. This woman was still a non-believer. But Layla’s face indicated to accept the offer, as Layla will benefit from the transaction too, by confirming, that she knows many beneficial people in the city, that she is an asset, eligible for work promotion.
“I will do my best to make an impression,” Fatima promised finally, as it was important for her too, to suceed with her plan. “And Suzanne, may I ask, this brand is from where? I never heard of it.”
“Czech Republic, Prague,” Suzanne explained with pride. “One year ago, I was close to bankruptcy, my 18 year old daughter was pregnant unexpectedly… but then a good deal came, with the Egyptians. And Saudis came later, when they saw new business opportunities. So now, we go up, but you know the rules of life: ‘enjoy it, while it lasts’, as the classics say.”
This information really interested Fatima: the theft of a classified NATO document, advising to use the Chinese as a cat’s pawn against Muslims in this city, it happened in Prague, such a strange coincidence!
And Fatima also knew, that not the Egyptians were the reason of sudden success of Suzanne’s boutique, but the Chinese generous capital, delivered through a front company… now she understood, why the higher places agreed with the infiltration attempt maybe too easily.
This looked like a big game, and Fatima was not sure, whether she is prepared for it… originally, she really wanted to help the mosque only, but here, a lot of another opportunities could be found… if it was not a spider’s web.
But her thoughts were interrupted, when she met with an overweight man, Joseph Svejk, who seemed quite dumb: allegedly the marketing manager of the Prague’s branch of the boutique, who addressed Suzanne very informally, as “Frau Suzanka”. He looked at Fatima with curiosity, as not much women in hijab could be met at the streets of Prague maybe, and Fatima dodged with her eyes, as her faith considered looking at an unrelated man as undesirable.
Her friend Layla asked, what is the plan, as the wedding, planned for the whole three days, begins already tomorrow.
“Help me to finish my outfit, and we will start right now, if you have a free evening,” Fatima informed her, without a small detail, that they will have to improvise, as Fatima had still no exact idea, how to get inside, plus she realized, that she will have to go between many kaffirs, non-believers, and this will be her personal da’wah, the Islamic missionary activity.
Imam Faraj told her recently, that she will stand against all of them, and he was completely right: this matter will need a whole woman, who is able to play their game, in order to infiltrate their high ranks and to fulfill her demanding mission.
Now, it was too early to go home yet, to substitute the missed Asr prayer, to keep closest touch with Allah, who could certainly provide good advices, how to win in this complicated cause…