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Bulletins Bulletin : Published and Discussed
Date: Thursday, February 28, 2002
From: ahmed
Re: Religion & Women Development (for Kumropotash)

I don't think the examples are well enough to prove the context. Let me start with Iraq first. We all know about the Iraqi leader who is autocratic in nature. As long as he is in power nobody can ever expect Iraq to develop in any way whether it is economically or socially. I wonder about the strictness of Iraqi religious rules on women. I am not sure whether they exist to such extent that religion is so strict in Iraq. Let’s talk about Iran. During the time of Shah’s rule US was the kindest patronage of Iran. When the revolution happened Iran lost that opportunity. Moreover the Iran-Iraq war also did take toll on their economy heavily. I am not going into the controversy of whether the revolution was good or bad for Iran but I’d like to point out the fact that ‘it was a revolution against a dictator’. What happened after that cannot be blamed upon the religion. You have to admit the hostility of US govt. towards Iran. Can you imagine a country becoming economically solvent without the US help? Think about Cuba and North Korea. These countries are starving from development but can you identify the religious cause behind them? Saudi Arabia is one of the fastest developing countries in the world. Taking under consideration your data I believe that the women literacy is very low compared to male literacy. But you should have considered their earlier rate of literacy. It was definitely very low. One point I would like to emphasize that you cannot see Saudi’s way of life through your eyes. They have their own values. For hundreds of years women were accustomed with ‘pardah’ in their society. Since the world is changing they are also trying their best to accommodate with the race of time. May be they’re lagging behind due to the strict rule of their King. But you cannot just put that blame upon religion. You have given the proof yourselves saying that other Gulf countries are flourishing at a faster speed. Those countries might have visionary rulers or governments. But in no way you can say that inhabitants of those countries are less religious than Saudi’s. Moreover, if you see the history of the Arab countries you’ll find that Saudi Arab was poorer (if not the poorest) than any other regional countries (of course prior to the ‘Oil’ age). That is another reason why they are yet to come up with the other regional giants. I think in no way you can say that religion is an obstacle for women development. It is the rulers, governments and kings who exploit religions to suppress their people.

People Discussion
(Friday, March 01, 2002)

I don’t understand why the literacy rate among women in Iran will suffer because of America’s animosity while it won’t affect the literacy rate among men! Moreover, the literacy rate in Cuba is 99%! How would you explain that? We had/have autocratic leaders in other countries too. Did the literacy rate for women in Germany drop when Hitler was in power? Again, why would the factors you mentioned in the context of Saudi Arabia will only affect the literacy rate among women and not that among men?

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