It is difficult to know what to say in response to Mona Eltahawy’s explosive article on the experience of women in Middle Eastern countries. She writes about a level of institutionalized brutality that demands that readers pay attention.
At the same time, she doesn’t say anything new, nothing that wasn’t already made too vividly clear during the Arab Spring.
Mention of Saudi Arabia conjures images of a fundamentalist kingdom where the government prohibits women from driving and forbids non-Muslims from holding religious services. The roots of the country's puritanical code go back several centuries.
What happens when an anthropologist who happens to be a Pakistani, a former diplomat and a member of the Incident Management Team of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security shows up at 100 American mosques armed with questionnaires and a few white student research assistants? For the most part, nothing very controversial.
What do Christians mean when they say that God is love? How do we answer that question in a dialogue between Muslims and Christians, which is to say, in a tension-filled intellectual space of wrestling to understand and articulate our similarities and differences with regard to what it means to love God and neighbor?