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>To get a far better understanding of the role of women in Arab Muslim
>culture, see, e.g. Elizabeth Fernea GUESTS OF THE SHEIK. Fernea has also
>written IN SEARCH OF ISLAMIC FEMINISM. Both of these books are readily
>available and easy enough to read.
>The description of the role of women in Islam given below is quite wrong,
>and, among other things, deeply confuses Islamic and Aran practices with
>Taliban and repressive Pushtanwali practices.
I lived in southern Africa, and it infuriates me to hear people lump
all of Africa together as if it is one big homogenous culture, which
it ain't. I appreciate your point. However I think the conditions I
describe are not isolated to only the Pashtun tribe and the Taliban.
My description was based on the book "Shabanu, Daughter of the Wind",
whose author, Suzanne Fisher Staples, lived with a nomadic tribe in
Pakistan for three years, and in the Middle East as a journalist for
thirteen. Her book, although fictionalized, is based on that
experience, and has won numerous awards. It is also a YA book (Young
Adult). How widespread these repressive conditions are I can't speak
She discusses with great sympathy the very issue that Stephen and I
are talking about: women who have so little power over their destiny
are forced to either survive within that culture by the means which
Stephen describes, or to not survive. Which is my point. That there
really is no choice. The power which Stephen is attributing to these
women is negligible in the face of the great disparity. Perhaps part
of the difficulty that Stephen and I are having is that he is coming
at it from his own experience which is quite different from the
situation described in this book.
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