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> Schools Allowed to Ban Face Veils In England
aopaq
post Apr 1 2007, 04:57 PM
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Glad you liked my Almedy entry. Yes, it was indeed one of the major hilights of my visit to Kurdistan and exemplifies the true hospitality of Kurdish people.

As for further details about Havgar's sister-in-law and her situation, there is only so much more I can add. First of all I must explain that the family, and it appeared to me most people in Amedy, were not what you would call strict Muslims. This was not only evident by the fact I was allowed to interact with the women but both of the sister-in-laws living in the house did not wear head scarves in my presence. However, the mother did wear a scarf and made it clear (especially when I tried to help) that the the daughter-in-laws were responsible for cooking, preparing the "table" (floor covered with plastic cloth) and cleaning up. However, photographing did not seem to be an issue and I am sure if the timing had been better, I could have taken a picture of everyone, including the sister-in-laws.

I should add that I am sure there were places (perhaps Zakho?) where it was obvious the families conformed much closer to the "rules" of Islam such as I have seen previously during my earlier trip to certain parts of Iran.

My discussion with the young newlywed was relatively limited because it was mostly in the presence of others but also her English was rather poor. However, I was able to understand that her family had moved to the Netherlands when she was seven but I am not sure at all of her acceptance into society there. In actuality, she and her husband were supposedly waiting for him to be approved to go back to Europe with her. However, from what I could gather, he had no real profession in Kurdistan (unlike his lawyer brother) and she had no university education either. I should think these two factors would make for a difficult and slow immigration process.

I think the two met when the young woman came back to Almedy to visit relatives and then eventually she returned for the wedding. It seems that they plan to live back in the Netherlands probably initially with her family who is still there. One thing I tried to convey to her was that it could well be that her husband will also have some difficulties adjusting to life in Europe just as she was back in Kurdistan. Assuming that all works out, I think there is a good chance the two will be very happy in the Netherlands.

I hope this answered most of your questions and gives a better understanding of the realities facing people in Kurdistan Iraq.


QUOTE(radsolv @ Mar 31 2007, 07:23 PM) *

Brian,

Just revisited your TP log entry on your stay in Almedy. [Perhaps you might want to provide a link to it so that others reading this Folrum can share it.]

I imagine that that was not only the highlight of your stay in Almaday but maybe of your entire trip. My experiences with visiting Palestinian families in Nablus and Gaza in 2002 are still warm in my memories.

But can you tell us some more about Havgar's sister in law -- married to his brother? First off in a very strict Muslim family I believe she would not even have been allowed in the same room with you, much less be able to talk freely about her Netherland experience. Again most younger Dutch are fluent in English so imagine she was also and that is how you communicated. You were able to photograph the mother, but not the daughter in law.

Leaving Almedy at seven I gather it was with her parents?? Why did she return to Kurdistan? Had she felt fully accepted by the native Dutch in the Netherlands after some fifteeen years there? Does she plan to live out her life in Almedy? What is her husband's job? How did they meet? In Holland? An arranged marriage? Where are her parents and siblings now? Do you speculate what her life might be like two years from now, five or ten? Their prospects for real happiness or settle for 'contentment' or worse.

Do I ask too many impertinent questions? What I am seeking is some understanding of the great variety of social environments and how different individuals deal with them and their rewards and stresses. I can easily see some one not wanting to live anywhere else than Almedy and another finding it absolutely stifeling. And for the latter, what opportunities do they have to escape and seek somewhere more conducive to their temperment and ambitions.
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radsolv
post Apr 1 2007, 08:01 PM
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Thanks very much for your detailed reply. It seems you answered everything that you knew but understandably there is a fair amount that you never learned about that couple and their family.

For me there is a certain poinancy here. I don't foresee any tragedy but fear they will find it difficult to find somewhere in this wide world where they feel as completely comfortable as many others do.

Glad to get a picture of a family that is warm, friendly and not bound by rigid rules of behavior.

[Btw how do I spell check. What is the correct spelling of 'poignant'?]


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wakingdream
post Apr 2 2007, 09:05 AM
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QUOTE
[Btw how do I spell check. What is the correct spelling of 'poignant'?]


Hey Art, that's the correct spelling.

BTW I am really enjoying this thread..


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findingnine
post Apr 2 2007, 09:11 AM
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I'm enjoying it too! I have nothing left to offer but my attention, and you've got it. air_kiss.gif


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aopaq
post Apr 2 2007, 01:07 PM
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I am glad to see there are others who share my interest in the Middle East and who are trying to better understand Islamic culture/religion. Thanks WakingDream for starting this thread. Hopefully someone from the region can join in and also provide their perspective.

I would just like to add that my recent trip really brought to my attention the social segregation of men and women which occurs in Muslim communities. I had seen this before but it seemed much more evident to me this time. This became apparent not only one day on a main street in downtown Dohuk (there was hardly a woman visible) but also in the way university students arranged themselves in the classroom and the audience composition (only males) at a community entertainment event in Almedy as well as at the smoke-filled game parlour and bar. It amazes me that men and woman can ever meet to start a relationship and ultimately get married. When I mentioned this to my Kurdish friends they pointed out that the process is different from the west and obviously the fact that people are together indicates that this process works. I just found it very interesting......perhaps we have something to learn about developing relationships from the Islamic model??
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wakingdream
post Apr 2 2007, 01:32 PM
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QUOTE
......perhaps we have something to learn about developing relationships from the Islamic model??

Take a look at divorce rates in the West. I don't know the exact percentage at the moment, but I do know it is HIGH. Perhaps some kind of a middle ground between east and west might work better. Relationships do not seem to be looked upon as very sacred anymore in the West. It's actually quite sad. Families are split apart and children lose the stability and support of being raised by both parents, among alot of other positives.


QUOTE
I am glad to see there are others who share my interest in the Middle East and who are trying to better understand Islamic culture/religion. Thanks WakingDream for starting this thread.


Sometimes I get very tired of hearing opinions/judgements about things people know little or nothing about, especially this topic and the ME in general. I think we can all do ourselves a favour and learn about Islamic culture and religion in a little more depth, especially in these last years where Islam has had such exposure. I believe less judgement and more understanding is in order. I have always been very interested in cultures quite different from my own, and it seems the more I learn about Islamic culture/religion, the more fascinated I am by it and the more I would like to learn.

I am thankful to you for bringing such insight into this thread. yes.gif and for being kind enough to share your experiences with us.


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aopaq
post Apr 3 2007, 07:42 AM
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QUOTE(wakingdream @ Apr 2 2007, 01:32 PM) *

Sometimes I get very tired of hearing opinions/judgements about things people know little or nothing about, especially this topic and the ME in general. I think we can all do ourselves a favour and learn about Islamic culture and religion in a little more depth, especially in these last years where Islam has had such exposure. I believe less judgement and more understanding is in order. I have always been very interested in cultures quite different from my own, and it seems the more I learn about Islamic culture/religion, the more fascinated I am by it and the more I would like to learn.


I could not agree more but I have to add that despite the cultural/religious differences between westeners and Muslims, the similarities are also quite evident. This was made most obvious to me a few years ago while visiting the home of an Iranian family in Tehran. After a wonderful dinner I was sitting at the kitchen table with the mother hearing her talk about about how she did not think her 17 year old son was studying hard enough to be prepared for university the following year. I just had to laugh.....I could have been listening to that that same conversation with a mother in any kitchen in North America. So despite the differences, I am a firm believer that we are mostly all just people seeking the same things in life.....happiness, comfort and a good future for our children.
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wakingdream
post Apr 3 2007, 08:17 AM
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QUOTE(aopaq @ Apr 3 2007, 08:42 AM) *

QUOTE(wakingdream @ Apr 2 2007, 01:32 PM) *

Sometimes I get very tired of hearing opinions/judgements about things people know little or nothing about, especially this topic and the ME in general. I think we can all do ourselves a favour and learn about Islamic culture and religion in a little more depth, especially in these last years where Islam has had such exposure. I believe less judgement and more understanding is in order. I have always been very interested in cultures quite different from my own, and it seems the more I learn about Islamic culture/religion, the more fascinated I am by it and the more I would like to learn.


I could not agree more but I have to add that despite the cultural/religious differences between westeners and Muslims, the similarities are also quite evident. This was made most obvious to me a few years ago while visiting the home of an Iranian family in Tehran. After a wonderful dinner I was sitting at the kitchen table with the mother hearing her talk about about how she did not think her 17 year old son was studying hard enough to be prepared for university the following year. I just had to laugh.....I could have been listening to that that same conversation with a mother in any kitchen in North America. So despite the differences, I am a firm believer that we are mostly all just people seeking the same things in life.....happiness, comfort and a good future for our children.


Oh absolutely. No matter what religion or culture we are from, we are all just human beings first and foremost. We all have the same feelings, thoughts, desires etc. You're definitely right on that. In learning what our differences are, we also then realise how similar we all are as well. We all have families, we all have struggles, we all have good and bad times. We may eat different food, or have different faiths, or wear different clothing, but we are all cut from the same cloth.


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radsolv
post Apr 3 2007, 02:59 PM
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Relative to some comments about segregation of the sexes and consequent problems of courtship and marriage in Muslim cultures, I thought it was relevant to bring to your attention /members/lraleigh/
TP entry describing the wedding of Indian untouchables about half way down in a long text.

[url=http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/lraleigh/youarehere./1173187980/tpod.html
The above link didn't seem to connect.
Try
[url=http://www.travelpod.com/members/lraleigh.html]

log 'you are here' Entry #165

The bride and groom are both veiled and have never seen each other till after the wedding ceremony. Also the men and women dance separately.

Have not read it but imagine the novel "A Suitable Boy" would be an interesting read. About an arranged marriage in an Indian village.

Might also point out that Prince Charles of England did not really have a great deal of choice in his first marriage with consequent tragedy. [A divorcee and commoner were out of the question.]

And relative divorce rates in different cultures may be less a function of compatablity than of strictness or ease of divorce laws. What is the rate in Catholic Poland as compared say to Denmark?

I believe Norway and Sweden have allowed a significant number of Muslims from MidEast to immigrate there. How are they dealing with the problem of the dress of female Muslims? If there is a problem there? And their integration or isolation as in France, for one.

Have been turning over in my mind an Ecological approach to this problem of acceptable dress. If I ever get it down in a file, will paste my partly formed ideas here.


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wakingdream
post Apr 4 2007, 03:07 PM
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QUOTE
Have not read it but imagine the novel "A Suitable Boy" would be an interesting read. About an arranged marriage in an Indian village.


My mum's first marriage was arranged. I talked with her a bit about it. her family knew the guy. She was back in Europe and he was in Canada. She moved to Canada and met him for the first time here.

I think it would be a tough thing to go through with, but when it's part of your culture then possibly not? Or not as much? I really don't know. I have no idea actually. I can only imagine how I would feel, but that cannot be compared.....It was hard for Mum and in the end it didn't work out....


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aopaq
post Apr 4 2007, 04:39 PM
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QUOTE(wakingdream @ Apr 4 2007, 03:07 PM) *

QUOTE
Have not read it but imagine the novel "A Suitable Boy" would be an interesting read. About an arranged marriage in an Indian village.


My mum's first marriage was arranged. I talked with her a bit about it. her family knew the guy. She was back in Europe and he was in Canada. She moved to Canada and met him for the first time here.

I think it would be a tough thing to go through with, but when it's part of your culture then possibly not? Or not as much? I really don't know. I have no idea actually. I can only imagine how I would feel, but that cannot be compared.....It was hard for Mum and in the end it didn't work out....



I work with an Inuit lady who had an arranged marriage over 35 years ago and she is probably struggling more now with the relationship than she ever has. Even when it is part of a culture, I am sure it is not easy and must really depend on the strength of the individual.

My co-worker was also just telling me today that her mother-in-law was married at 12 (arranged) and had her first baby at 13. It is really hard to imagine but back then I guess marriages and children had a much greater pure survival factor to consider as well.
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wakingdream
post Jun 23 2007, 11:20 AM
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"An Egyptian court recently ruled that the American University of Cairo could not ban women wearing a niqab, or full Islamic face veil on campus"

Here's another interesting article about the niqab debate


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