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Old 11-24-2012, 12:03 PM   #41
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I apologize for not being clear enough then. I did not want to highjack this thread or take the risk of hurting the feelings of some readers here by being more explicit. Yes, I was referring to clitoridectomy for cultural beliefs, and which I do NOT equate with male circumcision. Please note I have not mentioned anything about Muslims or Islam. The WHO or the UN have some data about this practice worldwide. I will not post again on this topic.
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Originally Posted by haha
Excise is a transitive verb. Excision therefore requires some reference-excision of...something.

As to your being sure that I know what you are talking about, how do you achieve this knowledge?

And if you are talking about clitoral excision, please give data on how widely practiced this is, and in which societies. It is not a topic that has captured my attention, so I may need to be brought up to date.

I imagine that many of our ideas about Muslim culture are like many of our other ideas, just blowing in the wind and not based on disinterested observations.

I do know that male genital mutilation is very widely practiced in our supposedly advanced western societies. In case you are unaware, it is called circumcision.

Ha
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Old 11-24-2012, 12:07 PM   #42
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And Jefferson would disagree with you. The point of inalienable rights was that they were not won by "might" as had traditionally been true in Europe.
True, but if bad people want to take away your "rights', they won't likely be swayed by either Jefferson, or the "creator"...

I wish he would have worded that differently, because it gives lots of folks ammunition to claim we are a "religious" nation, a term I find unfortunate. Jefferson, as did many of the "Founding Fathers", took his philosophy from the "Age of Enlightenment", which was almost the antithesis of religion.
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Old 11-24-2012, 12:17 PM   #43
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I agree that treating women as second class citizens in any way is wrong, I can't imagine living in a society like the one described in the OP link. Having said that, it's interesting how some of the replies (thankfully not all) are pretty high and mighty given the USA allowed slavery for many generations and indeed treated women as second class citizens for even longer. Many would argue women and minorities still haven't "arrived," even if there's been more progress in the USA.

Again, not defending the article, but a little humility since the USA hasn't been enlightened all along either despite the words in the Deceleration of Independence...
Excellent and true obsevation. Unfortunately we are not as evolved as we would like to think. The USA for all her good things and the good far out number the bad, still has some warts.
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Old 11-24-2012, 12:33 PM   #44
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I received a PM telling me that you were probably talking about clitoral excision. I have heard of this, but know essentialy nothing of it. Please give some data on how widely practiced this is, and in which societies. Are there many complications? Is it done in hospitals, etc.?

I imagine that many of our ideas about Muslim culture are like many of our other ideas, just blowing in the wind and not based on disinterested observations.

I do know that male genital mutilation is very widely practiced in our supposedly advanced western societies. It is generally known as circumcision.

Ha
allAfrica.com: Africa: Reversing Female Circumcision on the Continent

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Female circumcision - otherwise known as female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C) - is defined by the World Health Organization as "all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia. It also involves any other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons."

FGM/C is a millennia-long custom that practicing communities believe is an essential part of raising a girl properly. About 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGM/C, according to the World Health Organization. Some 92 million girls 10 years old and above who have undergone the practice are in Africa, the agency adds.

The practice has several immediate and long-term health consequences, says Marci Bowers, a gynaecologist in San Mateo, California. Many women like Tonte suffer for years after being circumcised because of scarring and frequent infections. The pain is constant, says Tonte. She is 35 years old and is still single, she says, because she cannot bear to have anyone touch her "down there." Not even a doctor.
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Although there is renewed hope for a global ban on the practice, so far there has been little focus on solutions for the many girls and women who have already undergone cutting. The possibility of reconstructive surgery is therefore a godsend to young women like Tonte. "They took away part of my womanhood," she says. "I just feel very deprived. I want to be whole again."
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news...o-111111293319

By Ayaan Hirsi Ali

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In Somalia, like many countries across Africa and the Middle East, little girls are made "pure" by having their genitals cut out. There is no other way to describe this procedure, which typically occurs around the age of five.

After the child's clitoris and labia are carved out, scraped off, or, in more compassionate areas, merely cut or pricked, the whole area is often sewn up, so that a thick band of tissue forms a chastity belt made of the girl's own scarred flesh. A small hole is situated to permit a thin flow of pee. Only great force can tear the scar tissue wider, for sex.

Female genital mutilation predates Islam. Not all Muslims do this, and a few of the peoples who do are not Islamic. But in Somalia, where virtually every girl is excised, the practice is always justified in the name of Islam. Uncircumcised girls will be possessed by devils, fall into vice and perdition, and become whores. Imams never discourage the practice: it keeps girls pure.

Many girls die during or after their excision, from infection. Other complications cause enormous, more or less lifelong pain.
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Old 11-24-2012, 12:46 PM   #45
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Thanks for the info. It sounds horrible.

Ha
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Old 11-24-2012, 12:54 PM   #46
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Thanks for the info. It sounds horrible.
Yes, and I've heard/read of young girls being dragged screaming, (by their families, no less), and having this done to them outside, on the ground, around a campfire at night..........barbaric is hardly the word for it.
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Old 11-24-2012, 02:38 PM   #47
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The DirecTv Television Station LINKTV offers literally dozens of programs, discussing the relative freedom of women throughout the world. There is one particular series that I usually watch, and that is Bridge to Iran. Not sure how many parts to the series, but there are many one hour programs. While the Iran segment on womans freedom does not necessarily reflect the same situation as Saudi Arabia,
I am certain that there are many parallels. This program (as all others) is available to watch online. Bridge to Iran: We Are Half of Iran's Population | Link TV It's a one hour subtitled program that presents dozens of very different women speaking directly to Ahmadinijead about the inequalities that women face.

I found the program riveting, and had to watch it all the way through. One hour. The part that surprised me the most, was insight to the inside of Iran... which was not unlike any cities in the United States. Buildings, homes, highways, schools, government buildings, and glimpses into daily life... that, except for the language, could have easily been a city in the US.

The thrust of this program was the inequalities facing women in education, work, legal rights and especially in the professional fields of medicine and law.
It appears that the Middle East Nations signed on to an equal rights for women agreement several years ago. The women were speaking, on camera to the President, asking for implementation.

From what I gathered there is a dichotomy between laws on the books, and implementation by the congress and by the legal system. Judgements for most appeals for divorce, equal education, and representation in the workplace, appear to be almost always in favor of men, which eventually results in the kind of abuses cited in this thread.

I came away with a wholly different opinion of the level of sophistication of the Middle East.

For further interest, this is a link to the hundreds of documentaries (including the sub section 'women/gender/sexuality'). Most of which are available online, on demand. The subjects are further divided by country.

Browse Programs | Link TV

And one more video, from Denmark. A documentary that directly discusses the position of women in Saudi Arabia, with a look inside the life and work of a middle class Saudi woman. It is presented to show the attempt to reverse the inequality. (streaming... takes a short time to start.)
BTW... middle class in Saudi Arabia, is not 'poor'.

My overall take on the subject, is that the problems are severe, but that is is not a situation that approaches what we recall as slavery from our history, but rather a culture in the midst of change.... change that is accelerating.
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Old 11-24-2012, 08:21 PM   #48
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This thread reminds me of my first of several business trips to Saudia Arabia in the late 80's. My business partner and I were flying Saudia Airline from Copenhagen to Riyadh Saudia Arabia. The plane was loaded with mainly Arabs, and almost all of the women were dressed in very modern, chic, expensive western clothing with lots of jewelry. It suddenly dawned on me when we were about 30 minutes from landing in Riyadh that all the women were now wearing burqas. Not sure the significance of this but they didn't want to run afoul of the religious police or their husbands.
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Old 11-24-2012, 09:13 PM   #49
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No, I think that's what the Declaration of Independence was trying to say, that there were inalienable rights not conferred by tradition, a ruling monarch, religion, etc.
BUT only if the culture buys INTO that notion.
Remember, at the time of the Declaration, we still believed as a society that black folks could be property and women we only a step away from that status. "Rights" seem to depend on who is in charge.

Not everyone agrees. Which is the entire issue about cultural diversity.

If WE have the right to topple govt's that do NOT share "our" values, do those other govt's / societies also have the right to topple or overthrow OUR society?
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Old 11-24-2012, 09:33 PM   #50
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Cultures do not decide if they have the right to do something. They just decide whether they have the might to do it. The right can always be cooked up when needed. This has worked for the US for a long time.

Ha
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Old 11-25-2012, 05:05 AM   #51
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This thread reminds me of my first of several business trips to Saudia Arabia in the late 80's. My business partner and I were flying Saudia Airline from Copenhagen to Riyadh Saudia Arabia. The plane was loaded with mainly Arabs, and almost all of the women were dressed in very modern, chic, expensive western clothing with lots of jewelry. It suddenly dawned on me when we were about 30 minutes from landing in Riyadh that all the women were now wearing burqas. Not sure the significance of this but they didn't want to run afoul of the religious police or their husbands.
It's the hypocrisy of the (wealthier) Saudis.

One of the guys I worked with in Riyadh told an overlapping story after he and his Arabic speaking Canadian wife returned from one R&R.......on their flight from Europe there was a Saudi woman accompanied by her two kids......she was wearing a very short skirt and a low cut top when she boarded the plane, and transferred to a full abaya prior to landing at King Khalid International.

The woman, identifiable because of the children, stood near my colleague and his wife in the customs/immigration lineup......at one point the little boy, playing around, pulled the veil from his mother's face..............she admonished him in Arabic for "Shaming her in front of these foreigners".....the exact same 'foreigners' who had seen her 'half dressed' on the plane and in the boarding lounge.

(When working in Saudi you get used to the fact that "There are things that apply here that don't apply elsewhere"......as an L.A. based Palestinian businessman once said to me in Jiddah Airport "It's a well paid prison".)
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Old 11-25-2012, 09:11 AM   #52
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It's the hypocrisy of the (wealthier) Saudis.

...she was wearing a very short skirt and a low cut top when she boarded the plane, and transferred to a full abaya prior to landing at King Khalid International...
Obviously weathy, because no one in coach could pull that off...

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The reason for this board...
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Old 11-25-2012, 09:17 AM   #53
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The reason for this board...
And the reason that I was there.
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Old 11-25-2012, 10:35 AM   #54
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It's the hypocrisy of the (wealthier) Saudis.
Good thing there's no hypocrisy in other cultures or western society in particular, or at least "ours" are obviously less offensive than "theirs." Interesting how easily we overlook our own faults, but not others...
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Old 11-25-2012, 10:42 AM   #55
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Good thing there's no hypocrisy in other cultures or western society in particular, or at least "ours" are obviously less offensive than "theirs." Interesting how easily we overlook our own faults, but not others...
I guess my immediate response is to ask "How long were you there?"
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Old 11-25-2012, 10:44 AM   #56
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Good thing there's no hypocrisy in other cultures or western society in particular, or at least "ours" are obviously less offensive than "theirs." Interesting how easily we overlook our own faults, but not others...
I'm probably as curmudeony as anyone about the revisionist history we feed ourselves, but one thing you can count on is the Americans doing the right thing, after all other avenues have been exhausted...
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Old 11-25-2012, 10:51 AM   #57
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I guess my immediate response is to ask "How long were you there?"
Not that it matters but while I haven't lived in Saudi Arabia, I have traveled outside the US many times and lived (7 years total) outside the US as well as many different states in the US. 3 years in the 'far east,' very different culturally than the west. Some of the examples above that led to the charge of 'hypocrisy' are replicated similarly in the US every day. I have seen many examples of appalling behavior on domestic flights with westerners, should we generalize about that too?

While I condemn the behavior in the original OP article, who can claim the moral high ground (without giving themselves the benefit of considerable doubt)? We're getting into some dangerous territory here...
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Old 11-25-2012, 11:32 AM   #58
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Not that it matters but while I haven't lived in Saudi Arabia, I have traveled outside the US many times and lived (7 years total) outside the US ..
I spent over 7 years just in Saudi Arabia, (as well as visiting some 59 other countries), and for newcomers The Magic Kingdom is generally a case of Relativism meets Reality.
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:07 PM   #59
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While I condemn the behavior in the original OP article, who can claim the moral high ground (without giving themselves the benefit of considerable doubt)? We're getting into some dangerous territory here...
To compare the things that happen in some of these countries/cultures under the watchful and approving eyes of religious and government authorities with the norms in the modern US/Western Europe is, as nicely as I can put it--ridiculous.

No country is perfect and we've still got problems here. We eventually admit them. We have an in-place process for improvements and a couple of centuries of demonstrated progress (with occasional backsliding--which is generally recognized within the span of a generation or two).

Maybe no culture has reached the "summit" of the moral high ground, but to deny that there are different elevations (not saying you did) is to deny the most praiseworthy area of human progress over the last 5 centuries.
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:36 PM   #60
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I was married to a Saudi man although we spent most of our time in one of the families homes in London.

Basically, Saudi is a society of extremes and contradictions and many many hypocrites. Many good people, many bad people and even many in the Royal Family who want change but must keep the peace with the Wahabbi's.

I can try to answer any question anyone might have from my personal experiences and those people I knew and interacted with although I will say that the different classes tend to live under very different rules so my experiences may not match others.
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