Posts Tagged ‘Saudis’

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Proof of an Old Adage

June 8, 2010

A recent Reuters article brought to mind the old adage: “You just can’t make this stuff up” and offers a glimpse into an Islāmic country that most Americans might find surprisingly tolerant. The article documents the growth of Khadija Ahmed’s  sex shop in the Islāmic country of Bahrain.  (Yes, that’s right, those words did just occur in the same sentence!) In most places around the world a business such as this would not be news, but when one considers Bahrain’s immediate Islāmic neighbors,  this article illustrates the existence of a softer, more permissible side of Islam.

Just across the seventeen mile King Fahd Causeway linking Bahrain to the west is Saudi Arabia. Here, women can’t be uncovered in public, drive a car and in recent developments, even belong to an all female gymnasium. To Bahrain’s  east, about a hundred miles across the Persian Gulf, an Iranian cleric is blaming the continuing seismic activity (Iran is one of the most earthquake plagued countries in the world) on women dressing and behaving promiscuously —this cleric must have a difficult time reasoning why there have been no earthquakes in Bahrain. Traveling a bit farther east of Bahrain is Afghanistan and the bordering province to Iran of Helmand—a Taliban stronghold.  There, in Taliban controlled areas, women are prohibited from obtaining an education (schools have been burned and women killed) as it, according to the Taliban, promotes obscenity and vulgarity.

No, the Saudis, Iranians and Taliban types wouldn’t be at all understanding (one can only imagine the harsh or brutal punishments that might be exacted) of Khadija’s shop—so let’s all send a “shout out” to Bahrain and it’s exercising of Islāmic modernism and tolerance. Who knows, this kind of tolerance might spread to other issues and to other countries in the region—we can only hope.

As for Khadija Ahmed and her dreams to expand her shop to other areas of Bahrain and the Middle East, tribute can best be best expressed in one of my favorite American cultural colloquialisms—“You GO girl!”

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