Growing up, I was taught that a woman should lower her gaze so that men could never know her thoughts. The so-called modesty of Arab women is, in fact, a war tactic.
If women’s rights are a problem for some modern Muslim men, it is neither because of the Quran nor the Prophet, nor the Islamic tradition, but simply because those rights conflict with the interests of a male elite.
A woman can walk miles without making one single step forward. As a child born in a harem, I instinctively knew that to live is to open closed doors. To live is to look outside. To live is to step out. Life is trespassing.
Now that Arab women are pouring into the streets by the million, men discover with dismay that they, not women, were the captives of the harem dream.
No man could have accepted me because I am too rebellious. It would have been catastrophe. I am too into my own thing.
Consumerist ads brainwash us into individualist and egotistic self-love.
If there is one thing that the women and men of the late 20th century who have an awareness and enjoyment of history can be sure of, it is that Islam was not sent from Heaven to foster egotism and mediocrity.
In the 1920s, big names in the Arab world spoke of Scheherazade as an example for intellectuals fighting for their rights. She was a fighter for the right of free expression.
You find in the Koran hundreds of verses to support women’s rights, and perhaps four or five that do not.
Contrary to what many Westerners believe, Islam has a rich tradition of secular painting in spite of its ban on images. It is only in religious rituals that the use of pictorial representation is totally prohibited.