GetReligion gets a nice gift

australiaetihadI am happy, but not surprised, to find that GetReligion has readers in moderate Muslim circles, especially when it comes to issues of women's rights and the actual practice of that faith. Thus, I noticed a recent incoming link from Muslimah Media Watch about my post about the "Arab" women who are now working as flight attendants for Etihad Airlines in the United Arab Emirates. As it turned out, I was not the only person who was not very impressed with that New York Times piece. I consider this link of link a "present" or gift to our site.

My problem, you may recall, was that the Times was clearly saying "Arab" when it meant "Muslim," an abuse of language that angers millions of Arabs who are Christians and Muslims who are not Arabs. It's a mistake. Period.

Meanwhile, Muslimah Media Watch offered this take on that Times story.

The article seems to fall into a predictable mold: on the one side, the intelligent young women who become flight attendants, and on the other, traditional Arab culture.

Or, even, "Muslim" culture.

Thus, Muslimah Media Watch pointed its readers toward another sharp and, I believe, valid criticism of that same story at the Anonymous News site. It offers quotes from the Times and then tees off. Here's a sample:

"For many families, allowing a daughter to work, much less to travel overseas unaccompanied, may call her virtue into question and threaten her marriage prospects. Yet this culture is changing, said Musa Shteiwi, a sociologist at Jordan University in Amman."

There are two recognizable camps in this debate. The first is the "West," which in this case means America. The other is "Arab culture," which in the context of this article seems to mean, "everything that American culture is not."

Ouch. Follow all of the links and read as much as you choose. Lots of interesting and valid commentary, from a Muslim perspective.

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