Survey: Egypt Overtaking Saudis As Most Conservative

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Survey: Egypt Overtaking Saudis As Most Conservative

Survey of 7 Arab countries: Saudis think women should cover all but eyes in public, yet half for women choosing clothes.
Arab women (file)

Arab women (file)
Flash 90

A recent survey of 7 Muslim-majority Middle Eastern countries has revealed conflicting viewpoints in Saudi Arabia, a country that doesn’t let women drive and is often considered one of the most repressive nations in terms of women’s rights.

While nearly 2 out of 3 in Saudi Arabia think women should cover all but their eyes in public, nearly 50% say women should choose how they dress. The latter figure is close to the response in more liberal Lebanon with its large Christian population, and is far more permissive than Iraq, Pakistan or Egypt.

Mansoor Moaddel, lead author of the survey published by the Middle Eastern Values Study at the University of Michigan, claims to CNN that the results show Saudia Arabia has “a considerable liberal leaning.”

“Saudi has had a religious government for a long time,” stated Moaddel. “People tend to develop an opposition attitude.”

While Saudi Arabia recently allowed its first female lawyer, the nation’s religious police enforcing Sharia law have a far from stellar record on women’s rights. In March 2002, religious police stopped schoolgirls from escaping a burning school in Mecca because they were not wearing headscarves and black robes, nor were they accompanied by a man. As a result, 15 girls died and 50 were injured.

Moaddel argues that Egypt is the most conservative of the Muslim nations, as only 14% there said women should choose their dress, the lowestresults among the 7 nations.

Furthermore, 19 in 20 Egyptians said a women should be required to obey her husband, the highest result in that question.

The findings back research last November which placed Egypt the lowest in the Arab world in terms of women’s rights, with Saudi Arabia coming in third worst. A UN report last April found that 99.3% of Egyptian women and girls had been sexually harassed.

However, Moaddel assesses the Egyptian position as being sexist without relation to Islam. “The problem with Egypt is not just religion, it is an intellectual trend,” said the researcher, adding “Egyptians have become more sexist in the past decade. They have become less religious, less supportive of Sharia (Islamic law), but on the issue of gender, more conservative.”

The survey found that the generally agreed mode of dress for women in public among the 7 Muslim nations consisted of a tight white headscarf covering everything but the face.

Interviews with 2,005 people in Saudi Arabia and at least 3,000 in each of the 6 other countries made up the data for the survey.

Top 10 Fast Facts about Ariel Sharon

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 Ariel Sharon was known as The Bulldozer: a larger-than-life, blustering figure who came to dominate the domestic political scene as much by his sheer physical presence as by his rhetoric. He died this afternoon at the age of 85. Here are some important facts you need to know about this very important leader.

Ariel Sharon in Knesset

10. Unit 101

In 1953, Sharon created an elite military group called Unit 101. This special branch of the Israel Defense Forces was responsible for the launching of retaliatory strikes against Palestinian terrorists.

9. Renewed friendship with Africa

He renewed diplomatic ties with some African nations that had been cut off nearly a decade earlier. He also assisted with the immigration of large numbers of Ethiopian Jews to Israel.

8. Lebanon War 1982

Sharon allied himself with pro-Christian Lebanese, and supported a new government that was led by Bachir Gemayel. After Gemayel was assassination, a faction of Gemayel’s supporters attacked the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila. Palestinians held Sharon accountable for the terror. Sharon would later explain that the militia was supposed to rid them of any remaining terrorists. The Lebanese War put a dent on Sharon’s career as a military and political figure.

7. Meat lover

Sharon, 5-foot-7 and a meat lover, at times had weighed more than 300 pounds. Doctors ordered him to go on a diet in 2005 after a minor stroke. Stories of Sharon’s appetite and obesity were legendary in Israel. He would often stock his car with caviar, vodka, and snacks.

6. Eldest Son

Sharon’s eldest son, Gur, died at age 11 in a gun accident in 1967.  Gur was playing with his friend when they found an antique gun and the friend accidentally pulled the trigger. Gur died in Sharon’s arms on the way to the hospital.

ariel sharon and david ben gurion

5. Hometown

Sharon was very connected to his family farm in the Negev Desert. He asked for updated information when every calf was born, according to Sharon: The Life of a Leader.

4. Roadmap to peace

In May 2003, Sharon approved the Road Map for Peace, which paved the way to open a dialogue with Mahmud Abbas, showing his willingness to establish a Palestinian state.

3. Marriage

Sharon was married twice. His first wife Margaret died in a car crash in 1962. He soon remarried Margaret’s sister Lily and the two were married until Lily died of cancer in 200.

2. Health problems

Sharon suffered a minor ischemic stroke, while still in office. He had no major health concerns before the major stroke that left him in a coma for 8 years. His obesity, combined with high cholesterol, contributed to his failing health.

1.Legacy

He is ranked among the most powerful leaders in the history of Israel, who succeeded in removing the Israeli soldiers from Gaza. Unfortunately, he did not live to see the tensions diminish.

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