Thursday, August 1, 2019

Middle East Women

Jay Sammelmann Dr. Holzhauer UI350-01 4/24/13 Women of the Middle East The women of the Middle East are very interesting to look in to. They are not just another person or treated by the same standards like they are treated here in the United States. There is a lot of controversy and fighting for women’s rights throughout the Middle East. They have an extreme lack of power there and they are fighting to change that. It is not right that women are such inferior people over there because they are no different than any other female in this world.Sexism plays a big role in the Middle East and the women are getting sick of putting up with this treatment. This is a big part of what I will be looking into in the research paper: â€Å"What kind of role do women play in a typical Middle Eastern society? † I will also analyze a typical Middle Eastern woman’s daily life and I will also look into their dress. There dress is unlike any other place in the world. When I see a v eil, I automatically think about a Middle Eastern woman, as the veil is kind of like the symbol of Middle Eastern women’s dress.The first issue I will address when examining women in the Middle East is their rights. I have always been under the impression that women couldn’t do certain things that are freedoms in the United States, like dressing however you may wish, because of their religion. Most women’s religion over there is Islam. Actually through research I have discovered that religion is not what holds back Middle Eastern women. The Quran actually has given Middle Eastern women many important rights that even women here in the United States and the West in general didn’t have until fairly recently when you look back through history.For example, Muslim women have always been able to retain their own assets, while the property of women in England was given to their husbands once they married all the way up until 1882 (Global Connections). Also, â₠¬Å"Muslim women in many countries kept their own last name,† which shows that the men do not just gain â€Å"property rights† over the woman when they marry (Global Connections). The Quran has a lot of proof that religion isn’t the reason that women are fighting for rights in their region. The Quran has listed many freedoms and rights that Muslim women deserve.For example, the Quran instructs Muslims to educate daughters as well as sons and it insists that women have the right to refuse a prospective husband (Global Connections). These are just a few on a long list of rights from the Quran that are overlooked when outsiders view the Middle East. Maybe the most important thing the Quran states is, that men and women are equal in the eyes of God (Global Connections). This proves that religion isn’t the reason women are mistreated, because the rights are listed in fine print inside of their holy book.The traditional culture of the Middle East is the bigger pr oblem with regard to women’s rights in this region, not religion. While women in the Middle East don’t have the fairest rights, they also have had more leadership positions than you may think as well. In particular there have been a fair amount of female political leaders in Muslim societies. Maybe the most important women were those who were the sisters of the Prophet Muhammad. They were extremely important to the early Muslim community because they knew his practice and teachings so well (Global Connections).Muhammad was the most influential person to ever come out of the Middle East, so it was crucial that his practice and teachings be passed on to further generations. Muhammad’s sisters weren’t the only powerful political figures over time in this region. Also, Aisha who is known as the favorite wife of Muhammad was also very influential. Something interesting about her was that she even participated in the Battle of Camel in 656 (Global Connections). Aisha wanted justice on the perpetrators of the assignation of the previous caliph, Uthman (Wise Muslim Women).A women leading in battle was never really seen before and isn’t seen very often today either. This demonstrates the importance of Aisha in Middle Eastern history. Another influential woman in the history of the Middle East was Shajarat al-Durr. She firmly established the Mamluk dynasty that would ultimately repulse the  Mongols, expel the  European  Crusaders  from the  Holy Land, and remain the most powerful political force in the  Middle East  until the coming of the  Ottomans (Wise Muslim Women).Some other female political figures over time in the Middle East are the Sultanate of Women in the Ottoman Empire during the seventeenth century was a period when several women had enormous power over affairs of the state (Global Connections). Today there is a small, but growing number of women in the parliaments of Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon (Glo bal Connections). In Morocco women have secured 60 out of 395 seats, which may not sound like much, but that is fifteen percent of Parliament (Basch-Harod).The women’s movement campaign’s goal was to secure thirty percent of Parliament, but fifteen percent is a respectable start (Basch-Harod). It is encouraging to see that women are making a difference today as well. Although their contributions may not be the greatest, it’s great to see they are at least getting their foot in the door. These are just a few political leaders throughout time. This shows that women have the ability to gain power in the Middle East if they are put in the right situation.Not only were there some influential political leaders that were women, but there are also some powerful religious leaders as well. One female religious leader that has made a big impact is Rabia. â€Å"She was a freed slave who became a prominent scholar in the eight century city of Bara in Iraq† (Global Con nections). Rabia was the person who first articulated the tenants of Sufism, which is a critical branch of Islam that emphasizes mysticism and a person’s personal relationship with God (Global Connections).She proved to be very influential as she never ended up marrying anyone citing that she didn’t want any distractions from her love for god. Rabia was looked up to by many people in the Islam community. A couple other important role models in the Islam community include Fatima, who was the prophet of Muhammad’s daughter and Zaynab who was the prophet’s granddaughter (Global Connections). This shows overall that women have been able to attain some power and have influence throughout time. I feel like the view of Americans is that women hardly even exist in the Middle East region.While they may not have the same rights and aren’t treated as well as they are here in the United States today, they have proven to have more influence throughout history t han many women. Many women in the United States didn’t have any influence until the 1800s. Women have made significant strides and impacts in the Middle East for many centuries now, which is something to consider before you label Middle Eastern women as virtually nonexistent. One of the first things one notices about a Middle Eastern woman is their choice of clothing.The veil is kind of a symbol of Middle Eastern women. When I see a woman in a veil around campus and all covered up from head to toe, I automatically think it is a Middle Eastern woman. The hijab is the most common type of veil worn by Middle Eastern women. This has either one or two scarves covers the head and neck of the woman (Civic Dilemmas). This is an example of Middle Eastern woman’s modest dress. A few more styles of dress are the niqab, the chador, and the burqa. The niqab covers the entire body, including the head and face, while just leaving an opening for the eyes to see.These niqabs are very p opular amongst the Muslim world in general (Civic Dilemmas). The chador is a full body length shawl that is held together at the neck by a pin and it leaves the face completely visible. This type of dress is most common in the Middle East, specifically in Iran, as compared to the rest of the world (Civic Dilemmas). The last style of dress I will explain is the burqa, which is a full body veil. The woman’s entire face and body is covered and she has to see through a mesh screen over the eyes (Civic Dilemmas).One will see this type of dress most commonly in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Actually for five years in the late 1990s and early 2000s the Taliban regime the use of a burqa was mandated by law (Civic Dilemmas). I don’t think that countries should force anybody to dress a certain way, but I am spoiled by the freedom that I have here in the United States. This just goes to show you how lucky we have it as Americans, that some people like in the Middle East are forced to wear certain clothes.

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