Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women

Geraldine Brooks, Author Doubleday Books $22.95 (255p) ISBN 978-0-385-47576-1
``Almighty God created sexual desires in ten parts; then he gave nine parts to women and one to men,'' explained Ali, founder of Islam's Shiite branch. In this powerful and enlightening report, Muslim women emerge from under their black chadors-often hiding jeans or high-fashion clothing-as a horrifyingly oppressed class slowly liberating themselves from the worst practices but still adhering to the basic values of Islam. Drawing on six years as the Wall Street Journal's Middle East reporter, Brooks presents stunning vignettes of women she has met-the American-born Queen Noor of Jordan, Hamas supporters in Gaza, Ayatollah Khomeini's daughter, Egyptian belly dancers, Saudi housewives, Iranian athletes, secretaries, divorcees, foreigners married to Muslim husbands, activists. Brooks carefully distinguishes mysogyny and oppressive cultural traditions from what she considers the true teachings of the Koran and the liberating philosophies of Muhammad. In some Muslim countries, external events and a small but burgeoning women's movement have somewhat liberalized the marital contract and opened up educational opportunities, some jobs and political offices to women, but genital mutilation continues, even for Muslim women in the U.S. Brooks hopes the U.S. will consider gender persecution a reason to offer asylum. Literary Guild selection; author tour. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/28/1994
Release date: 12/01/1994
Genre: Nonfiction
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-606-30002-5
Ebook - 169 pages - 978-0-307-43445-6
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