part of the reason I haven't written here for over a week is because I have been engrossed in a great book.
'Nine parts of Desire' (The hidden world of Islamic women) by Geraldine Brooks
The author is an australian journalist who has access to and contact with some very interesting groups of women over a very interesting time period- Iran at the death of khomeini, Iraq, Palestine, Cairo, Jordan (ear to the Queen Nour). In reading this book I felt i had an education into middle eastern politics as well as into these womens lives. Some of it is scary- some of it enlightening. All very easy to read. The particularly interesting parts for me were where there was debate as to what the prophet meant when he said such and such- and how different groups of people have interpreted the Koran in many different ways.................. There is even a chapter about the bellydances of cairo taking the veil..........So for understanding more what fundamentalism menas and were it comes from to challenging stereotypes re women veiling its worth a read!
The only down side I felt was that as it was published in 1994- so much of the world has changed since then and i wish she had a book which talks about the period from then til now- that would be even more interesting!!