The Looming Tower

The NY Times has a review of The Looming Tower, a book that must be riveting. Its author, Lawrence Wright, went to great lengths to discover the origins of Osama bin Ladin and his associates and found a rich trove of information to mine. The reviewer is the Time’s Baghdad correspondent, a fellow who presumably knows a thing or two about the Middle East.

One element it touches on goes back to a prominant Egyptian scholar, Sayyid Qutb, who visited the US in the 1940’s and was simultaneously attracted and repelled by western women. Raised in a puritanical society he was horrified and later created a long philosophical treatise about how Islam and the West must always be opposed to each other.

My sister came back from a trip to North Africa twenty years ago with an odd tale. She had gone out to dance and was accosted by a North African man who grabbed her and awkwardly grinded against her with the music. My sister found it awkward and embarassing. Afterwards, the man told her with great satisfaction that he had ejaculated and said that he had just had sex with her and no doubt implying that if she had been a virgin she was no longer one. Pity the poor virgins waiting for the martyrs up in heaven.

Sexual repression in the Middle East is a potent force and now that we have “liberated” Iraq no women is safe to travel anywhere without a hijab. No wonder the poor vegetable sellers are being targeted.

I just found this post from a couple months ago. Very interesting.

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