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  2. George Rice

    As a 62 year old white Christian/Catholic Male in Scotland UK. I have viewed with distain and disgust the treatment of women in the Islamic world, however I recently watched a program on Aljazeera featuring the Activist Tawakul Karman.

    I was full of admiration for this young woman, for the strength and courage she has to not only fight for woman’s rights but to also for the democratic rights and freedoms for her country men that we in the west take so much for granted.

    It is one thing to take to the streets in protest in the UK where you can do so without fear or retribution from Autocratic Authorities where you may suddenly disappear, to do what she is doing under the circumstances with a young family to take care of is immensely courageous.
    Her husband is to be commended for his support as we so often observe in so many Islamic countries that Women are but servants/Slaves to the commands of the husbands.
    This young Woman has not only shown great courage but has also shown the other side of Islam and Women.

    I wish her and her family well, and hope that God protects her and her family as I am quite sure he is the same God that all believers pray to.

    Good Luck Tawakul

  3. Meredith

    Just because religious governments often limit women does not mean that they necessarily must. Why does the author write as if she knows more of what’s best for Yemen than a woman who has been so politically active in Yemen as her home country? There are Muslim feminists just as there are feminists who are Christian, and the story of Islam is populated by many strong women. In Yemen, women keep their last names when they get married. They also are not restricted morally in access to abortions. Other things might be more restricted, but East and West are more equal than you might think.

    The extent of your stereotyping is apparent in your “Even Buddhists oppress people!” statement. It is unfair to believe that Islam is one unchanging rhetoric, as inherently violent and sexist as Buddhism is “peaceful and harmless.” In the Bible, the punishment for rape is for the rapist to marry his victim. Few would mention this passage in speaking about Christians as a community today, and rightfully so: Christians are extremely diverse and their tradition is more than their holy book verbatim. It is discriminatory and orientalist to assume that Karman and other Islamic feminists need your help to realize that religion is oppressive. Such “help” is I believe what led you to label the Iraq war as “catastrophic.” Indeed, the West bumbling around calling the East backward often leads to a backlash in which people embrace the part of themselves that their enemy seems to hate and fear so much. If I were Muslim and also of Arab descent in this country, I would probably run around in niqab whether I was religious or not, just to piss ignorant people off.

    Karman is a remarkable woman and I hope she succeeds Saleh as Yemen’s president. She seems very bright and determined. Yemen IS NOT and, at least in the North NEVER WILL BE secular. (The South has a history of Communism that ended with Saleh’s presidency and the coup he led to oust his own puppet communist vice president). I wish her well and I hope to see the new Yemen that its people deserve.

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      I agree that Muslim women are politically diverse and am well aware of the way the Koran has been interpreted on the question of when a fetus can and cannot be aborted. I don’t in any way suggest that Islam is unidimensional or that all Muslims think the same way about women. You have completely missed my point, which was precisely that we should not stereotype religions–even Buddhists, whom most people assume are peace-loving, have been known to murder and pillage.

      My larger point, which you also missed, is that the major religions, such as Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism, have for thousands of years institutionalized the arbitrary and erroneous belief that men are superior to women. A government that fails to keep itself separate from religion, any religion, is going to reinscribe the fundamental bias against women that the mainstream religions have perpetuated for thousands of years, and will therefore not protect the right of women to be treated as fully equal beings, with all the same political, economic, psychological, and, yes, spiritual freedoms as men enjoy.

      I’d also love to see Tawakul Karman become president of Yemen, but I’m not going to hold my breath for it. Just as the women who helped to bring about the revolution in Egypt are being shoved out of the political process, the same thing is likely to happen in Yemen, if and when Saleh steps down. The question I raise is valid, central, and of concern to many observers of the movements sweeping across the Middle East: to what extent will the concerns and needs of the progressive women who have helped to bring about these changes be represented in the governments to come?

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  7. Anonymous

    you do good work…mabrook. from norway

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    What exactly seriously motivated u to create “Tawakul Karman:
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    I personallycertainly adored it! Many thanks ,Nichole

  12. ·

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      Thanks for reading my blog. I will have to read yours! I do occasionally get spam, but don’t know what to do about it. I simply delete the comments. If you figure out how to solve this problem, please let me know.


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