Arab Women Face Spring Or Winter

Egyptians celebrate an election in which there is freedom to vote for the candidate of your choice. Thousands remain in Tahrir Square even as voters are supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in parliamentary elections. It may well be that Egyptian women risked their lives in order to wind up deprived of those freedoms which were the goal of being in Tahrir Square. Recently, an Egptian woman decided to display her naked body on Internet in order to challenge Muslim ideas about how women should behave. She is now in hiding and fears being assaulted if found by religious men.

There have been reports of females in the square being sexually assaulted because many men do not believe a struggle for freedom means anything other than empowering  religious fanatics to impose their will on women. Ironically, women who played a major role in  disposing  a dictator in Tunisia now confront Muslim clerics seeking to deny them equality in all aspects of life.

Forces of religious fanaticism are on the rise throughout those areas of the Arab world which are in the midst of the spirit of spring. In January, 2011 women in Tunisia who wore a veil were in the minority, today they are in the majority. The new sense of being proud to be an Arab also translates into being proud to be a Muslim of the old order.

We fear spring has turned to winter all too quickly in the Arab world.