Islam and Democracy: Fear of the Modern World

By Fatima Mernissi | Go to book overview

10
Women's Song: Destination Freedom

The Arab world is about to take off.

This is not a prophecy. It is a woman's intuition, and God, who knows everything, knows that women's intuition is rarely wrong.

It is going to take off for the simple reason that everybody, with the fundamentalists in the lead, wants change. The fact that they propose to go forward by going backward doesn't alter the fact that they ardently want change. There is a very strong wish in this corner of the world to go elsewhere, to migrate collectively to another present. Foreigners perhaps do not feel this, but every morning I wake up with the radio at my ear and think: anything can happen; perhaps everything will change between one minute and the next.

By plunging a knife into the sore spots--dependence, lack of democracy, powerlessness--the Gulf War shattered something deep within us. I have thought a lot about what that might be, and I have come to the conclusion that it smashed the multiple circles of cold fear that have pressed on us. What worse could happen to Arabs than what the war produced--the whole West with all its technology dropping bombs on us? It was the ultimate horror. When you have gone through an experience of horror--and all those who have experienced deep depression know it--you emerge free of fear. Not that you are rid of it, but you have conquered it. The Arab world, paralyzed by all the fears that this book explores, has finally with this war had the opportunity to live through them and emerge from the experience, a bit shaky perhaps, but with the

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Islam and Democracy: Fear of the Modern World
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction the Gulf War: Fear and Its Boundaries 1
  • Part I - A Mutilated Modernity 11
  • 1 - Fear of the Foreign West 13
  • 2 - Fear of the Imam 22
  • 3 - Fear of Democracy 42
  • 4 - The United Nations Charter 60
  • 5 - The Koran 75
  • Part II - Sacred Concepts and Profane Anxieties 83
  • 6 - Fear of Freedom of Thought 85
  • 7 - Fear of Individualism 104
  • 8 - Fear of the Past 114
  • 9 - Fear of the Present 130
  • 10 - Women's Song: Destination Freedom 149
  • Conclusion the Simorgh is Us! 172
  • Notes 175
  • Index 191
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