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The West and Islamic women

Reader comment on item: Prepare to attack [Iran]
in response to reader comment: Response to Claire

Submitted by Claire (United States), Aug 2, 2008 at 05:00

You have no idea how much I've traveled, and it's a lot more than you think. I'm sorry, but I just don't buy your argument that it's so much better for women in Muslim countries. And it's not because it's Muslim. It's because it's a theocracy. By definition, a theocracy has certain attributes that, to me, make it backwards in very specific ways.

I welcome Arab women to return to Arab countries if that's their desire. But I am tired of being told over and over by Muslims that I need to read their religious books and understand them. I really don't have to do that, any more than they have to read the books that I cherish to understand me. I'm also tired of hearing how delightful it is for Muslim women and how lucky they are compared to me.

I watch Middle Eastern talk shows on TV and women are fighting to overcome what they perceive to be discrimination and abuse. I'm not making any of it up. I have joined Muslim women in solidarity in fighting for their rights on several occasions.

I don't pretend it's perfect in the West, either. But I have a lot of freedoms I enjoy that I know for a fact cannot be enjoyed by women in at least some Muslim countries. And the Queen of Egypt fought to make female genital mutilation illegal not that long ago, since a majority of women and girls were being subjected to it.

So let's not try to frame Islam or Christianity or Judaism or any other world religion as "better." They are all a conglomeration of ideas that were assimilated by someone into a book and then gullible people were indoctrinated to believe it so they pass it on to their children. Some have evolved a bit more more in ways--in some Middle Eastern countries, women are welcomed into engineering and computer science more than in the U.S., while U.S. women have a lot of freedom to do just about anything their male counterparts choose to do that's within their ability. I prefer the U.S. and you prefer somewhere else.

It's a complex world, and lots of dynamics are at work. It makes it difficult for everyone. Bin Laden, George Bush, and others who have set in motion processes that have caused enormous suffering have continued to use the world as their chess game, with ordinary people their pawns. Same as human systems since the beginning of recorded history.

And then we have the followers of David, Paul, and Mohammed all claiming their special book is the most sacred, when all of them are filled with myth, legend, folklore, a little bit of history, and a lot of man-made cultural doctrine.


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