Arab women not realising their full potential....

The UN Report on Arab Development came out today. For someone who visits the Middle East regularly, this report resonates well with my own experiences in trying to engage with the people I know there in debate on issues of freedom of speech and women’s rights.

I’m currently having a, at times very heated, debate over email and text message with a Bedouin friend of mine as to why I think sharia law and human rights are mutually exclusive.

My friend and I often stumble in our debate as I see it as the most normal and necessary process in the world to interrogate and scrutinise everything from religion to a parent’s decision to take a girl out of school to help look after her younger siblings. He sees this as a disrespectful attack on his religion and traditions. We struggle to even agree on the terms of the debate.

This report is a bit like knowing the Myers Briggs preferences (I’m an INTJ, by the way) of someone but for a whole region. It helps me understand better why my desire to debate is so often rejected and that I may need to reframe my approach – although I haven’t quite worked out how yet!

It also confirms a concern I had when I read on the BBC website that around 40% of Muslims (polled in February 2006) in Britain wanted to introduce sharia law to the UK. UK development and economic success didn’t happen by accident; they are a result of our values and traditions of free speech, human rights and equality before the law – we can’t just cream off the bits we like and dump the rest. They come as a package.

I have sent a link to the report to my friend; I’m interested to find out what he thinks of it!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...
8 Dec 2006, 13:44:00

I think the best way to preserve our values would be to remind our current politicians that they are voted in by a majority, in order to represent that majority....including its values and traditions. Too much patronising and moral lecturing today and too much of it is wide of the mark. x

malfa said...
28 Dec 2009, 01:24:00

i think you are sick in your mind somehow by thinking that your way is the right way though you always judge without going into any details of the theme .i do not think SHaria is good and i do not think you are right ,we give love to women not like modern world who they have no love and emotion because of civilization .
Hassan

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