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In Rendezvous with G-d, twentysomething blogger and journalist Monica Rozenfeld explores what it means as a young Jewish woman in New York City to have a relationship with G-d.

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June 1st, 2010

Sex and the City’s distaste toward Muslim Tradition

 
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monica-sexcity-flashEveryone who knows me, knows I am a huge fan of Sex and the City. Carrie Bradshaw, NYC columnist with her funky outfits, happens to be my role model. And although I love the show, and liked the movie, I thought a sequel would be a bad, if not a suicidal, idea for the name. But once I found out the ladies will be in Abu Dhabi, I was excited to see what four City girls would be doing in what they call the “New” Middle East.

I’m not going to lie. The first half of the movie, with the Middle Eastern-inspired outfits and scenery made me want to take a trip to this paradise hosted somewhere between dry lands, poverty and political warfare. I even laughed when Charlotte used her maiden name afraid her Jewish name might cause trouble there. I thought to myself if I would do the same. But then things made a turn for the worse. Caution: Scene Spoiler. Samantha got arrested for kissing on the beach, then she wore shorts out in the market where religious men snared at her, and then she dropped her purse filled with condoms and then shoved the condoms (and her middle finger) in religious men’s faces. Wow. I knew Samantha was crazy, but that went above and beyond.

I thought how terrible that a light and funny movie would make a mockery of a sacred tradition held by religious men and women. It was interesting, however, to see the HUGE gap between modesty in the Middle East, even in an upcoming cosmopolitan area, compared to New York City – home of the PDA and promiscuous.

I couldn’t help but think this movie was the perfect example of what I’ve been thinking about all along — finding a balance between the two extremes. As I talk to more religious women in Islamic faiths, it’s fascinating to learn more about their struggles of veiling and modesty as well.

The movie ended Caution: Another Scene Spoiler with Muslim women showing the four City ladies the designer outfits they sport underneath their burka. If I hadn’t done some research beforehand, I might have been surprised. But it’s not unusual for Muslim women to be “sexy” underneath their veils, and even splurge on designer clothing, jewelry and make up. As one woman I have interviewed said, it creates intimacy where it matters most.

Have you seen Sex and the City? What did you think of the portrayal of Muslim men and women? Did you think Samantha was offensive? And what did you think about the sexual divide between the Arab women and the New York City ladies?

Feel free to write me at monica.rozenfeld@gmail.com if there’s a topic you’d like for me to discuss. Thanks for reading!

 
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The Author : Monica Rozenfeld

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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • Michael

    I will probably see SATC2 with my wife (a devout Catholic and devout follower of the series as well), but I am skeptical for a few reasons. I think that it is telling that they were not allowed to film in Abu Dhabi and ended up doing it in Morocco, where they did not have to worry as much about offending the locals!

    Re: Nonie Darwish – while I have respect for her views and her experiences, I worry that people with little knowledge of Islam are taking her views seriously without a grain of salt. I have many Muslim friends in Canada who do not fit this stereotype. Instead of reading the views of an extremist, try looking at something like the Inter-Faith Youth Core: http://ifyc.org/

    Also, remember: even until JFK’s election, everyday Americans were once terrified of the ‘alien’ Catholics and their hidden agenda to turn the US into a vassal state for their power-hungry Pope! Does history not repeat itself?

  • carol

    I got this email – what do you think ?Subject: Scary
    Muslim Women

    20 years from now, I will be in Heaven –bye !!
    This was written by a woman born in Egypt as a Muslim.

    This is not hearsay, and it will scare the life out of you.
    Make sure you read the paragraph (in red) towards the end.

    Joys of Muslim Women
    By Nonie Darwish

    In the Muslim faith a Muslim man can marry a child as young as 1 year old and have sexual intimacy with this child. Consummating the marriage by 9.
    The dowry is given to the family in exchange for the woman (who becomes his slave) and for the purchase of the private parts of the woman, to use her as a toy.

    Even though a woman is abused she can not obtain a divorce.
    To prove rape, the woman must have (4) male witnesses.
    Often after a woman has been raped, she is returned to her family and the family must return the dowry. The family has the right to execute her (an honor killing) to restore the honor of the family. Husbands can beat their wives ‘at will’ and he does not have to say why he has beaten her.

    The husband is permitted to have (4 wives) and a temporary wife for an hour (prostitute) at his discretion.

    The Shariah Muslim law controls the private as well as the public life of the woman.

    In the West World ( America ) Muslim men are starting to demand Shariah Law so the wife can not obtain a divorce and he can have full and complete control of her. It is amazing and alarming how many of our sisters and daughters attending American Universities are now marrying Muslim men and submitting themselves and their children unsuspectingly to the Shariah law.

    By passing this on, enlightened American women may avoid becoming a slave under Shariah Law.
    Ripping the West in Two.
    Author and lecturer Nonie Darwish says the goal of radical Islamists is to impose Shariah law on the world, ripping Western law and liberty in two.

    She recently authored the book, Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law.

    Darwish was born in Cairo and spent her childhood in Egypt and Gaza before immigrating to America in 1978, when she was eight years old. Her father died while leading covert attacks on Israel . He was a high-ranking Egyptian military officer stationed with his family in Gaza .

    When he died, he was considered a “shahid,” a martyr for jihad. His posthumous status earned Nonie and her family an elevated position in Muslim society.

    But Darwish developed a skeptical eye at an early age. She questioned her own Muslim culture and upbringing.. She converted to Christianity after hearing a Christian preacher on television.

    In her latest book, Darwish warns about creeping sharia law – what it is, what it means, and how it is manifested in Islamic countries.

    For the West, she says radical Islamists are working to impose sharia on the world. If that happens, Western civilization will be destroyed. Westerners generally assume all religions encourage a respect for the dignity of each individual. Islamic law (Sharia) teaches that non-Muslims should be subjugated or killed in this world.

    Peace and prosperity for one’s children is not as important as assuring that Islamic law rules everywhere in the Middle East and eventually in the world.

    While Westerners tend to think that all religions encourage some form of the golden rule, Sharia teaches two systems of ethics – one for Muslims and another for non-Muslims. Building on tribal practices of the seventh century, Sharia encourages the side of humanity that wants to take from and subjugate others.

    While Westerners tend to think in terms of religious people developing a personal understanding of and relationship with God, Sharia advocates executing people who ask difficult questions that could be interpreted as criticism.

    It’s hard to imagine, that in this day and age, Islamic scholars agree that those who criticize Islam or choose to stop being Muslim should be executed. Sadly, while talk of an Islamic reformation is common and even assumed by many in the West, such murmurings in the Middle East are silenced through intimidation.

    While Westerners are accustomed to an increase in religious tolerance over time, Darwish explains how petro dollars are being used to grow an extremely intolerant form of political Islam in her native Egypt and elsewhere.

    (In twenty years there will be enough Muslim voters in the U.S. To elect the President by themselves! Rest assured they will do so… You can look at how they have taken over several towns in the USA .. Dearborn Mich. Is one… And there are others…)

    I think everyone in the U.S. Should be required to read this, but with the ACLU, there is no way this will be widely publicized, unless each of us sends it on!

    It is too bad that so many are disillusioned with life and Christianity to accept Muslims as peaceful.. Some may be but they have an army that is willing to shed blood in the name of Islam.. The peaceful support the warriors with their finances and own kind of patriotism to their religion. While America is getting rid of Christianity from all public sites and erasing God from the lives of children the Muslims are planning a great jihad on America ..

    This is your chance to make a difference…! Pass it on to your email list or at least those you think will listen..

  • Rachel

    I currently live in Doha which is pretty liberal compared to Saudi, but pretty conservative compared to the UAE.

    I loved SATC the series, and the first movie was fun too! I haven’t seen the second movie (they won’t play it here, and if they did half of it would be censored). I do think there is a level of respect that needs to be maintained.

    I am Christian, and from LA, but I have never walked out of my house in Doha with bare shoulders, out of respect.

    The country has been tolerant of many different backgrounds but I think that tolerance goes both ways. Shoving your promiscuity in a conservative Arab’s face is just unnecessary and it’s behavior like that that make people around the world think that American girls are sluts. :-/

    On the other hand, I think that putting Muslim culture in the mainstream is good if it opens the conversation and allows people to deviate from the all-veiled-women are-oppressed-and-uber-conservative-stereotype

    I really enjoyed your article!

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