I’ve been having a hard time wrapping my mind around Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, which is why I’ve been writing about it sideways, by posting links to other articles about how poorly women are treated in Islamic nations. I read the book in one sitting, on a day that I’d been planning to work. I thought, “I’ll just read the first chpater so I get an idea how how this book is written,” but I was unable to stop reading until I’d turned the last page.
I know a lot of you have been wanting to discuss this book, and I hope to write a formal review by the end of the month, but in the meantime, I do have a few more sideways looks to take….
One Step Foward
Saudi women can drive (from the Telegraph)
Strike one up for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia. Women will soon(er or later) be allowed to drive.
The royal family has previously balked at granting women driving permits, claiming the step did not have full public support. The driving ban dates back to the establishment of the state in 1932, although recently the government line has weakened.
“There has been a decision to move on this by the Royal Court because it is recognised that if girls have been in schools since the 1960s, they have a capability to function behind the wheel when they grow up,” a government official told The Daily Telegraph. “We will make an announcement soon.”
Sounds great, right? But even here there’s a glitch:
The move is designed to forestall campaigns for greater freedom by women, which have recently included protesters driving cars through the Islamic state in defiance of a threat of detention and loss of livelihoods.
And Two Steps Back
Institutionalized Misogyny (from PZ)
An American woman was arrested and strip-searched by Saudi police because she visited a Starbucks with a male colleague. (Um, wouldn’t the strip-search violate their modesty laws?)
“Some men came up to us with very long beards and white dresses. They asked ‘Why are you here together?’ I explained about the power being out in our office. They got very angry and told me what I was doing was a great sin,” she told the Times.
It could be worse. In Iraq, women who violate “Islamic teachings” are tortured and murdered. The “Islamic teachings” that are so important that violators must be tortured and beheaded involve wearing a headscarf.
Somehow I don’t recall Iraq being like this, um, before the US attacked. Two of my girlfriends from high school were Iraqi and they moved to Baghdad in the 1990s. I haven’t heard from them in a very long time. I often wonder if they are still alive. I have no idea how two young women who were raised to be strong and independent in the United States can survive in such a suffocating atmostphere.
I know someone will comment about how not all Muslims are extremists and so forth, but the truth is, that when religion gets political power, this kind of shit is inevitable.