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Some Muslims seem to explain it quite differently

Reader comment on item: Female Desire and Islamic Trauma

Submitted by John Hadjisky (United States), May 28, 2004 at 11:57

Most of the Muslim I've met politely dissemble whenever the question comes up of how women are treated in the West vs. in Islam. Those who have been willing to talk frankly about it mention several points, but one that comes up over and over again goes something like this: "Islam has proven that on matters of sex, women are morally stronger than men, so much so that on those rare times when she must walk down the street, she is able to avoid being tempted by the men around her. But men are weaker in this respect, so much so that any women walking down the street uncovered will cause 100's of men to be tempted. That is why women must wear the hijab (sp).

To me, this rationale is just as incompatible with Western values as the points Dr. Pipes lays out. But it also seems to contradict Dr. Pipes' main point that women are a threat. I wonder if in the traditional Muslim mind, this apparent contradiction wasn't seen as a contradiction at all, rather as somehow part of the paradox that is woman.

The alternative would be that the point I made is a crude and naive attempt by "neo-feminists" and their ilk to reconcile Islamic and Western values that are in fact totally irreconcilable with traditional, 20th century feminism.

In closing, I want to commend Dr. Pipes for taking a fresh direction on this issue, rather than just jumping into the fray the way most commentators (pro and con) have done on this disturbing incident.
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