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  1. #1
    Ultimate BHUZzer Tourbeau's Avatar
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    Twice Branded: Western Women in Muslim Lands

    Here's another article on women, and particularly foreign women, in the Islamic world. World Affairs Journal - Twice Branded: Western Women in Muslim Lands

    Sometimes the content seems a bit incendiary to me, because not every Muslim man treats women like dirt, and non-Muslim men can be rude, violent, and generally abusive, too. Still, it's useful to know that this represents another facet of the Middle Eastern experience. Comments?


  2. #2
    Mega BHUZzer Shaharazad's Avatar
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    Re: Twice Branded: Western Women in Muslim Lands

    Wow, I cannot belive all this information. I know two american women that are married either to Egyptian or Arabic man, I am not sure waht their religion is. I know they go and visit their countries, but they go for a short time and then come back. They do have to follow rules and regulations. In one case, the women all gather in one room and the men in another, the men eat separate from their women.
    I knew it was strict, but not as bad as the story says, or what I have heard from them. That goes to tell me the that I know very little as far as the way foreigners get treated.
    I will sum it up in a few words... God Bless America! These are my two cents.
    Last edited by Shaharazad; 08-28-2009 at 09:58 AM.


  3. #3
    Fotia
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    Re: Twice Branded: Western Women in Muslim Lands

    I saw the movie "Not Without My Daughter" and it affected me so deeply that I would never venture to any of these countries unless accompanied by a strong military guard. We all hear about how the thinking on women is over there and there is no wiggle room for any women. That is not to say that all Muslim men treat their women bad but moreso that there are absolutely no rights whatever for women; in fact, their religion teaches and promotes that women have no souls and are nothing more than chattel.

    I recently finished a book called The Haj by Leon Uris. It really delved into the thinking of the Middle East, and explained a lot of how and why their thinking is that way. I read it as abstractly as I could to get a deeper understanding of the Arabic mind. Sadly, many Arab secretly don't agree with a lot of the teaching over there but are also conflicted with their own cultural identity. Not only are they afraid of being killed or worse being tortured before being killed but also of not entering into Allah's kingdom. The book shocked and saddened me, yet gave me more understanding of the conflict over there. And saddest of all is that their own worst enemies are their own Arab brothers. If there is another book out there that shows a happier way of life in the Middle East, not outside of it, I would love to read it.


  4. #4
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Zumarrad's Avatar
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    Re: Twice Branded: Western Women in Muslim Lands

    I was just reading a blog post from a woman who talked about how a taxi driver sexually harassed her because she sat in the front seat. Heard quite a few stories about rapes and other violence against women. Some really vicious stuff, like when a well-educated and respected man hacked his girlfriend to pieces in front of her mother. A man abducted an adolescent girl and raped her for nearly 20 years, keeping her and their children in a tent in his back yard. Another friend with tales of men who date them, promise them the world and then turn out to have wives. Another trapped in a loveless home because she can't afford to keep herself and her kids, while her estranged husband comes home smelling of his girlfriend and complains at being asked to do anything. Yet another man benefiting from the boys' club. Yet another instance of being objectified and treated like crap just because one's a woman.

    Sorry to say, none of these things happened in Muslim countries or involved Muslim men. It's easy to look at another country and point the finger but if you think sexism is gone where you live you're sadly deluded.

    As someone said once, "we worry about her clitoridectomy while faking our own orgasms".


  5. #5
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Zumarrad's Avatar
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    Re: Twice Branded: Western Women in Muslim Lands

    in fact, their religion teaches and promotes that women have no souls and are nothing more than chattel
    Can you show me where in the Koran this is? I've heard it said but somehow never actually seen the reference.


  6. #6
    Fotia
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    Re: Twice Branded: Western Women in Muslim Lands

    Zumarrad, you read my mind! We just had that incident here in the U.S. of a girl who was held for 18 years as a sex slave. Hopefully, however, her captors will get the maximum punishment and justice will be carried out. However, nothing can restore the damage that has happened to these women. In fact, in Christianity, it was Jesus who said, "remove the log in your own eye before seeking to remove the beam in your brother's eye." In other words, straighten yourself up before seeking to straighten anybody else out.
    Last edited by Fotia; 08-28-2009 at 09:55 AM.


  7. #7
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. anala's Avatar
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    Re: Twice Branded: Western Women in Muslim Lands

    85 percent of all Egyptian girls have endured this procedure (FGM)

    Thats sound very high....could this be a fact?

    So we must wait for perfection in our society before protesting human rights violations in others?


  8. #8
    Established BHUZzer straightleftknee's Avatar
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    Re: Twice Branded: Western Women in Muslim Lands

    If anyone wants to get hardcore they could try reading the old testament.

    The peace and love Jesus bit comes later.


  9. #9
    Master BHUZzer emma-bessa's Avatar
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    Re: Twice Branded: Western Women in Muslim Lands

    I urge every person to be aware of their legal rights where ever they are,and "tip the hat" once in a while to the heros that won them for us after sacrificing and suffering much.

    The fight for equal rights are not won anywhere on this earth yet,
    not in my country and not in Bahrain...everyday people are mistreated for their skin color,name,sex,family connections, and/or sexual orientation.

    Let´s not be a part of that;let´s be open and non judgemental on a personal level.

    Hugs from Sweden,
    Emma


  10. #10
    Established BHUZzer straightleftknee's Avatar
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    Re: Twice Branded: Western Women in Muslim Lands

    Quote Originally Posted by Fotia View Post
    Zumarrad, you read my mind! We just had that incident here in the U.S. of a girl who was held for 18 years as a sex slave. Hopefully, however, her captors will get the maximum punishment and justice will be carried out. However, nothing can restore the damage that has happened to these women. In fact, in Christianity, it was Jesus who said, "remove the log in your own eye before seeking to remove the beam in your brother's eye." In other words, straighten yourself up before seeking to straighten anybody else out.
    Depends where you look.


    'Am I my brothers keeper?'
    OR
    Love thy neighbour as thyself / Good Samaritan
    OR
    he who is without sin cast the first stone.

    etc.


  11. #11
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. anala's Avatar
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    Re: Twice Branded: Western Women in Muslim Lands

    I had a hand in drafting the creed for my local UU fellowship, and the word tolerance came under much scrutiny before it was included. Some things are not tolerable, however real change must come from within.


  12. #12
    Fotia
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    Re: Twice Branded: Western Women in Muslim Lands

    Quote Originally Posted by straightleftknee View Post
    Depends where you look.


    'Am I my brothers keeper?'
    OR
    Love thy neighbour as thyself / Good Samaritan
    OR
    he who is without sin cast the first stone.

    etc.
    It's in the New Testament. The Bible is written in sequence. What was part of the Old Testament is not part of the New Testament. And you have to read it in context.


  13. #13
    Fotia
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    Re: Twice Branded: Western Women in Muslim Lands

    Quote Originally Posted by zumarrad View Post
    Can you show me where in the Koran this is? I've heard it said but somehow never actually seen the reference.
    I don't really know except that I have heard this repeated quite frequently. Maybe it is part of the culture more than the Koran? I've heard from other Arabs that women are to be treated better than this but then you read about the Taliban and other sects where this thinking is promoted.

    There really is so much to research and explore on this matter and many others.


  14. #14
    Fotia
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    Re: Twice Branded: Western Women in Muslim Lands

    Quote Originally Posted by emma-bessa View Post
    I urge every person to be aware of their legal rights where ever they are,and "tip the hat" once in a while to the heros that won them for us after sacrificing and suffering much.

    The fight for equal rights are not won anywhere on this earth yet,
    not in my country and not in Bahrain...everyday people are mistreated for their skin color,name,sex,family connections, and/or sexual orientation.

    Let´s not be a part of that;let´s be open and non judgemental on a personal level.

    Hugs from Sweden,
    Emma
    I agree with you Emma. Tolerance is something that is pretty hard to practice because we all have our own preferences and prejudices. The thing is to keep educating ourselves on this everyday.


  15. #15
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Lauren_'s Avatar
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    Re: Twice Branded: Western Women in Muslim Lands

    Quote Originally Posted by Fotia View Post
    I saw the movie "Not Without My Daughter" and it affected me so deeply that I would never venture to any of these countries unless accompanied by a strong military guard. We all hear about how the thinking on women is over there and there is no wiggle room for any women. That is not to say that all Muslim men treat their women bad but moreso that there are absolutely no rights whatever for women; in fact, their religion teaches and promotes that women have no souls and are nothing more than chattel.

    I recently finished a book called The Haj by Leon Uris. It really delved into the thinking of the Middle East, and explained a lot of how and why their thinking is that way. I read it as abstractly as I could to get a deeper understanding of the Arabic mind. Sadly, many Arab secretly don't agree with a lot of the teaching over there but are also conflicted with their own cultural identity. Not only are they afraid of being killed or worse being tortured before being killed but also of not entering into Allah's kingdom. The book shocked and saddened me, yet gave me more understanding of the conflict over there. And saddest of all is that their own worst enemies are their own Arab brothers. If there is another book out there that shows a happier way of life in the Middle East, not outside of it, I would love to read it.
    When you say Arabs, Muslims or Middle East, I think it's necessary to be more specific about which countries you're speaking of. I don't think you can extrapolate what goes on in Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan under the Taliban to, say, Egypt or Lebanon. (although I talk to a lot of people who do this exactly)

    As Zumarrad pointed out, I could very easily write a whole encyclopedia about crimes and abuses against women in Christian countries that would make Arabs terribly afraid to come here.

    Let's remember that the Middle East has had 5 women presidents/leaders already. Our views on gender roles are certainly different, but I'm not so sure we should be quick to assume that theirs are always backwards and primitive compared to ours.

    Last time we had a thread like this, most of our Arabic speakers were so insulted they left Bhuz.
    Last edited by Lauren_; 08-28-2009 at 11:13 AM.


  16. #16
    Established BHUZzer straightleftknee's Avatar
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    Re: Twice Branded: Western Women in Muslim Lands

    Quote Originally Posted by Fotia View Post
    It's in the New Testament. The Bible is written in sequence. What was part of the Old Testament is not part of the New Testament. And you have to read it in context.
    For me that would mean being alive when it was written, added to that the Bible was/is a compliation of stories.


  17. #17
    I could get used to this! SaskaK's Avatar
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    Re: Twice Branded: Western Women in Muslim Lands

    Regarding women having no souls - from the little I can find, it doesn't seem to be a common Muslim belief at all, but rather unique to an offshoot sect known as Alawite, found primarily in Syria (The president of Syria is reportedly from the Alawite sect)

    Because it's a secretive system, I don't really trust the articles I found, but regardless, I think it's fairly safe to say that if it exists, it's a very limited belief and not mainstream in any way.


  18. #18
    Fotia
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    Re: Twice Branded: Western Women in Muslim Lands

    Quote Originally Posted by straightleftknee View Post
    For me that would mean being alive when it was written, added to that the Bible was/is a compliation of stories.
    Sez you, but you are entitled to your own opinion.


  19. #19
    Fotia
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    Re: Twice Branded: Western Women in Muslim Lands

    Quote Originally Posted by SaskaK View Post
    Regarding women having no souls - from the little I can find, it doesn't seem to be a common Muslim belief at all, but rather unique to an offshoot sect known as Alawite, found primarily in Syria (The president of Syria is reportedly from the Alawite sect)

    Because it's a secretive system, I don't really trust the articles I found, but regardless, I think it's fairly safe to say that if it exists, it's a very limited belief and not mainstream in any way.
    Probably because most of the press we see is always about this bad thinking. It is stressed a lot that certain countries such as Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran and Iraq have been very hard on women. Yet over the years with the changing of leadership, you do see more emergence of women's rights. And there is also Queen Rania who is championing women's rights yet doesn't forget their beliefs. I honestly think it takes an Arab to really do these things because they understand what exactly is going on much better than westerners do. Here alone I see where I am very deficient in this area. However, learning bellydance has opened a door to me that I never knew before and was given the opportunity to see how rich a culture the Middle East has and for that I am very grateful. It has given me an opportunity to see a lust for life that I never knew they had, based on what I am exposed to here in the west.


  20. #20
    I could get used to this! Emeraude's Avatar
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    Re: Twice Branded: Western Women in Muslim Lands

    Well, the context of the "brother's keeper" quote is Cain smarting off to God -- it's not meant to be taken as a precept for living. Though I'm sure there are people who've chosen to take it that way!


  21. #21
    Fotia
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    Re: Twice Branded: Western Women in Muslim Lands

    Quote Originally Posted by Emeraude View Post
    Well, the context of the "brother's keeper" quote is Cain smarting off to God -- it's not meant to be taken as a precept for living. Though I'm sure there are people who've chosen to take it that way!
    Yep, these quotes are oftentimes taken out of context without reading the entire story.


  22. #22
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Lauren_'s Avatar
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    Re: Twice Branded: Western Women in Muslim Lands

    Quote Originally Posted by Fotia View Post
    Probably because most of the press we see is always about this bad thinking. It is stressed a lot that certain countries such as Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran and Iraq have been very hard on women. Yet over the years with the changing of leadership, you do see more emergence of women's rights. .
    WHAT?!? Where did you get THAT information?

    Women were leading modern lives in Iran, as doctors, lawyers, professors, wearing whatever they liked before the revolution. Suddenly they couldn't drive cars and police were monitoring whether a wisp of their hair showed.

    Women had equal rights under the 1970 Iraq constitution, wore whatever they liked and went where they pleased. Iraq was a secular government, one of the most progressive in the Middle East, until the US came. NOW the women there are suffering, under the new government WE put in place.

    As women, we need to be paying attention to what happened in Iran, for instance. There is most definitely a conservative Christian element that would love to do the same thing to the women here, we need to know that it's possible to go backward by hundreds of years, and how fast it can happen!
    Last edited by Lauren_; 08-28-2009 at 11:51 AM. Reason: take out a bit of ranting...


  23. #23
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Lauren_'s Avatar
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    Re: Twice Branded: Western Women in Muslim Lands

    sorry, Tourbeau, I know this is veering off your original topic a little, but it upsets me when American voters are so misinformed, considering how much power the American voter yields in the world.

    Women Lose Ground in the New Iraq - washingtonpost.com

    How the US Erase Women’s Rights in Iraq


  24. #24
    Fotia
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    Re: Twice Branded: Western Women in Muslim Lands

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauren_ View Post
    WHAT?!? Where did you get THAT information?

    Women were leading modern lives in Iran, as doctors, lawyers, professors, wearing whatever they liked before the revolution. Suddenly they couldn't drive cars and police were monitoring whether a wisp of their hair showed.

    Women had equal rights under the 1970 Iraq constitution, wore whatever they liked and went where they pleased. Iraq was a secular government, one of the most progressive in the Middle East, until the US came. NOW the women there are suffering, under the new government WE put in place.

    As women, we need to be paying attention to what happened in Iran, for instance. There is most definitely a conservative Christian element that would love to do the same thing to the women here, we need to know that it's possible to go backward by hundreds of years, and how fast it can happen!
    Amnesty International, CNN, Dateline, 60 Minutes, various magazine articles written by Muslim women stating exactly this.

    And I couldn't agree with you more about the conservative Christian element over the years and, yes, how fast it can happen. But that would be something for a different thread.

    As far as these ideals in theory they are great. In practice, many times they are a disgrace. History has proven that.


  25. #25
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Lauren_'s Avatar
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    Re: Twice Branded: Western Women in Muslim Lands

    Quote Originally Posted by Fotia View Post
    Amnesty International, CNN, Dateline, 60 Minutes, various magazine articles written by Muslim women stating exactly this.
    Stating this?

    It is stressed a lot that certain countries such as Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran and Iraq have been very hard on women. Yet over the years with the changing of leadership, you do see more emergence of women's rights.
    I don't know much about the political climate in Syria, but I can't imagine that the publications you list would say that 'with the changing of leadership, you do see more emergence of women's rights' in Saudi Arabia, Iran or Iraq.

    The exact opposite is true, in a huge way.


  26. #26
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. anala's Avatar
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    Re: Twice Branded: Western Women in Muslim Lands

    Read the Juy issue of the Economist, huge focus on the Middle East in that one. Best read I have had in a long time.


  27. #27
    Fotia
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    Re: Twice Branded: Western Women in Muslim Lands

    Quote Originally Posted by anala View Post
    Read the Juy issue of the Economist, huge focus on the Middle East in that one. Best read I have had in a long time.
    What was it about?


  28. #28
    I could get used to this! SaskaK's Avatar
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    Re: Twice Branded: Western Women in Muslim Lands

    I've reread this article several times now, and it bothers me more each time.

    The author is illuminating prejudice and abuses against women (a noble cause) by fanning prejudice against Muslim men and Muslim cultures - and promoting harmful stereotypes in the process (not such a noble tactic)

    I do think there are sometimes horrific abuses of women in Middle Eastern countries - but I don't see how painting all Muslim men and ME cultures with this sort of broad brush is helpful for the abused women.

    And the more I look at it, the more troubled I am by the writer's attitudes.
    Yes, if you wander around in clothing seen as inappropriate or provocative by natives anywhere you're going to get heckled, groped, and perhaps worse.
    That's as true in the US as anywhere - if you're used to living along the Florida coast and wearing a halter/bikini around town, don't expect to wear that favorite "cultural garb" on a trip to downtown Chicago without comments being made. And you cannot expect an Embassy to change the culture you're visiting because you want to wear jeans. That doesn't make it "right", but having realistic expectations of the culture you're visiting will improve your experience.

    Some of the stories don't seem right, either. For instance, this bit:

    When she fled to the American embassy, “the Marines would bring me back home every time,” she recalls. “I was the wife of a foreign national. I had lost my citizenship.”
    That quote gives the impression of the woman marrying this man, and suddenly losing her rights as an American, so that now she was treated as a child, and marched back home by the Marines like a truant runaway. But giving up US citizenship is a complex process. It doesn't happen unknowingly by marrying someone, or leaving the country with them.

    I'm sure the intended meaning was "it was as if I'd lost my citizenship" .... but without context the meaning is different, and it becomes a cherry-picked, over dramatic and somewhat misleading statement..

    Yes, women (and men) need to be aware of the rights they may be leaving behind when they travel or marry in other countries. Yes, living in
    another culture is difficult, and may expose you to dangers and horrors and cultural pressures you don't anticipate. Yes, the legal systems are difficult and may not protect you in ways you expect, based on the legal system in your own country. Yes, discrimination, prejudice, and culturally approved abuse of women happens in many countries, and is sometimes either ignored or even supported by the law.

    But don't fan the flames of other stereotypes and prejudices in the name of battling prejudice/discrimination.

    </end rant> (sorry about that)


  29. #29
    Official BHUZzer sblanck's Avatar
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    Re: Twice Branded: Western Women in Muslim Lands

    I have an associate that is an Architect and is from Iraq. You can tell she loves it here in the states. Her husband is nice but he did make mention of the fact that she doesnt wear her hijab? Her only complaint was the lack of getting the usual stuff she enjoys, tea cups saucers many of the items you could find in the market back home. Years ago in one of the ME restaurants in town if you were American you were served well after any of the ME guests. I read another book about a Saudi princess? I remeber stories of being bound in burlap and chains and drowned in the family pool. Although we do have some seriously twisted minds here. I think even most ME would be afraid if Manson was let loose in thier country.


  30. #30
    Ultimate BHUZzer zorba's Avatar
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    Re: Twice Branded: Western Women in Muslim Lands

    Quote Originally Posted by Fotia View Post
    I recently finished a book called The Haj by Leon Uris. It really delved into the thinking of the Middle East...
    I'll second the recommendation of this book - its very informative and interesting.


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