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Friday, December 23, 2005

Newsweek article: Muslim Women Stereotyped by Extremes

On December 12, 2005 Newsweek reported, "The West's exposure to Muslim women is largely based on Islam's most extreme cases of oppression: Taliban-dominated Afghanistan, Wahhabi-ruled Saudi Arabia and postrevolutionary Iran. Under those regimes, women were and are ordered to cover. Many Afghan women are forbidden to attend school, and no Saudi woman is allowed to drive. Yet despite the spread of ultraconservative versions of Islam over the past few decades, these societies are not the norm in the Muslim world. In Egypt, female cops patrol the streets. In Jordan, women account for the majority of students in medical school. And in Syria, courtrooms are filled with female lawyers... Still, Muslim women are feeling like pawns in a political game: jihadists portray them as ignorant lambs who need to be protected from outside forces, while the United States considers them helpless victims of a backward society to be saved through military intervention. 'Our empowerment is being exploited by men,' says Palestinian Muslim Rima Barakat. 'It's a policy of hiding behind the skirts of women. It's dishonorable no matter who's doing it.'"

This article cross-posted at the Pluralism Project's International Religious Diversity News.

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