Mona Eltahawy Explains Why Women Are Hated In The Middle East

We don’t usually point out opinion pieces on this blog. But Mona Eltahawy, an Egyptian-born, and American-based journalist, is making a statement worth noting. She wrote a cover essay titled “Why Do They Hate Us?” for this month’s Foreign Policy.

At its core, the essay is an indictment of the misogynist culture of the Middle East. Eltahawy throws out a lot of stunning facts — 90 percent of ever-married women in Egypt have had their genitals cut, for example — and doesn’t pull punches: She’s equally critical of the Gadhafi regime in Libya and the Muslim Brotherhood, the political party that encouraged the revolution in Egypt but holds the view that women can’t be president.

We encourage you to click over to the piece; it’s worth a read, yet it doesn’t quite answer the central question posed in the headline.

Monday morning, Eltahawy will be on Morning Edition talking to Steve Inskeep about the her essay and she addresses the question at the center of her essay. In a pre-taped interview, he asked her plainly why she thought Muslim religious conservatives obsessed over women in this way.

Eltahawy said that women are “vectors” of culture and religion.

“Our wombs are the future,” Eltahawy said. “And if you don’t control the future by controlling women’s bodies, you’ve lost control generally.”

Much more of Steve and Eltahawy’s conversation will be on Tuesday’s Morning Edition, so make sure to tune in to your local NPR member station. Later in the day, we’ll also add audio of the as-aired interview to this post.

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