During the worst years of Islamic terrorism in Algeria, Rachida teaches in a popular neighbourhood of Algiers, going to work without the veil imposed by the fundamentalists. One morning, heading for the school, she is kidnapped by a group of extremists, among whom is one of her former students. They instruct her to plant a bomb in the school, but she refuses. Furious, the leader of the gang shoots her in the stomach, running off and leaving her to bleed to death. Miraculously, Rachida survives, deciding to leave Algiers and seek refuge in the village of her colleague Yasmina, who lends her a house. She moves in with her mother, also in disgrace because of her divorce. Finding a job as a teacher, Rachida grows close to Karima, one of her students, not realizing that the girl's father is an Islamic terrorist.