Monday, May 12, 2008

NY Times series on Islamic authoritarianism: family values

Michael Slackman has a series in the New York Times, “Generation Faithful: Perpetuating Authority” about the fundamentalist Islamic world. The newspaper online story even offers a link to a blog in Arabic. Today, the Times ran a particularly interesting story “Young Saudis, Vexed and Entranced by Love’s Rules: Clinging to Islamic Customs While Sometimes Trying to Evade Them,” on the front page, link here. The detailed article gives a fascinating account of the way the strict rules of tribal Islam play out in a Saudi family. There is a curious notion of family honor embedded in the way men handle women. Men are assumed to own “rationality.” Women must be kept out of sight from men until married for childbearing. To a western mind this is hard to make sense of, but in their culture, it actually seems to keep men “interested” in their wives and keep their society stable. Of course, they claim it is mandated by the Koran.

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