02 June, 2007

Take it to the next level

American Enterprise Institute:
Newsstands carry the slick English-language magazine Arabian Woman, modeled after American glamor magazines. (There is also Arabian Man.) Much less flesh is displayed, and the whole is far less steamy than its American equivalents, but the subject matter is the same. Although published in Dubai, a more liberal place, the magazine is sold and advertised freely in Saudi Arabia. One issue, featuring a "regional report" on the decline of pre-marital virginity, contained this passage:

As teenagers enter into high school, many of them find it difficult to preserve their chastity. Remaining a virgin until marriage is neither an easy nor common choice in schools or colleges in this region. Deena, a 16-year-old Yemeni student in Sharjah, UAE (United Arab Emirates), shared her first sexual experience . . . "One night, when I met Ali at our regular building terrace, he began joking about taking our physical relationship to the next level. At first I was nervous and embarrassed. I mean, although I had discussed oral sex with my friends before, I didn't really know that much about it. But almost everyone in school was having a physical relationship with their partners. So it didn't seem wrong. . . . Immediately I regretted doing it, but when I got to school most kids were pretty supportive and said that everyone did it. At least I hadn't lost my virginity."

No doubt this portrait, assuming it is accurate or representative, depicts life in one or more of Saudi Arabia's more permissive neighboring countries. Still, Saudis who read it were not learning about the infidel West but about their Muslim Arab cousins. The impact is not difficult to imagine.

As for homosexuality, although same-sex acts can be punished by death, a recent article in the Atlantic claims that homosexual behavior is in fact widespread in Saudi Arabia, but that it does not necessarily signify gay identity. Because contact with the opposite sex--especially in private--is so difficult, people are more likely to have same-sex experiences.
Read the whole thing.


Sheikha M. said...

Fantastic article, thanks for posting it.

fellow atheist said...

Homosexual activities among non-gays is not specific to Saudi alone, but does indeed extend to its neighbors and most countries with same-sex educational systems.

It is simply a question of supply and demand I suppose.

Emarati Nickel & Dime said...

Not only am I sick of blaming all our troubles on the West but as a staunch homophobe I must say that the practice although deep-rooted in the West has very little to do with its prevelance here which is the immediate problem at hand. It stems from our own culture and talk of opposite sex being taboo which only serves to blow the whole thing out of proportion. In doing so not only does homosexuality begin to exist but also rape and other sex-related crimes with it. Why aren't those blamed on the West too? It's a joke. It's always easy to point fingers instead of looking down our own shirts.

I must say that my homophobia extends only to people I share my religion with because others openly declare their lack of belief in Allah and His last messenger and therefore decide to govern their lives by their own standards which is fine by me. Whereas Muslims having made a pact and despite their belief in the Quran and the Sunnah reject certain verses because it suits them thus and in doing so are not only blackening its name but are also throwing bait to the West to chew on and giving the media a chance to point fingers at us once again. And of course it's no secret it doesn't take much for the media to really get on our case and spew hatred.

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