Going Her Own Way

The daughter of an Algerian father and French mother, Dounia Bouzar says she's spent much of her life "trying to connect the two sides of myself: the Arab and French; the Muslim and secular." In March 2003, she demonstrated those united identities in a very public role by becoming one of just two women on the board of the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM), the state-sanctioned body that represents Islam in France.

Bouzar, 41, an anthropologist who specializes in French-born-and-raised Muslims, hoped to shift the CFCM's priorities from "detached theological deliberations" to the daily concerns of...

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