12:44 Globe and Mail: Amna left this question in our comments section:
My question is: Do you think the core ideology of Islam is partial to men? If so, would the solution be to rid of that and amend laws that are comparable to progressive, humanitarian values?
Amna Bakhtiar from Toronto.
12:48 Kamal Al-Solaylee: The laws of Islam (which, in its pure forms are not as hostile to women as we generally think) cannot be changed. That's assuming you govern with the Sharia Law. I know a number of Muslim scholars who argue that Islam has in fact raised the position of women and protected their financial and marital rights. It's the radical interpretations of these laws that creates the gender divide you're referring to.
12:49 Globe and Mail: Patrick sends this response to Eman's earlier question.
Thanks, Kamal. Yes, I believe there is a connection between Wahabism and radicalism. Throughout the poorer countries of the Middle East, you'll find Saudi-funded mosques and preachers. The money isn't from the government as much as it is from foundations that seek to spread the message. The message in the hands and minds of well-educated affluent people may be taken for a conservative lifestyle, but in the minds of poorer, less-well educated people it can be interpreted radically.
12:49 [Comment From Guest]I do have hope that Islam will emerge from dark ages and will reform. Few more need the courage of Mr. Al-Solaylee, Irshad Manji, Tareq Fatah, etc..
12:50 Globe and Mail: Kamal, did you tell your family about your article before it was published? Have they read it?
12:52 Kamal Al-Solaylee: I hardly speak to my family but they know that I'm writing something about my life and theirs. I think my nephews may have read it because they go on the Internet all the time.
12:53 Globe and Mail: How does your family view Western culture?
12:54 [Comment From Hume Baugh]Kamal, I found your piece heartbreaking. One thing you didn't discuss was how your family feel about your gayness. Is that something you have discussed with them?
12:54 Kamal Al-Solaylee: With a combination of admiration (rule of law, heath care, good standard of living) and suspicion (godless, unfair to Islam)
12:57 Globe and Mail: Here's Patrick's response to Natalia Cernei-MacLean's earlier question:
Wow, what a question. I'd like to simply say that this Middle East correspondent is scrupulously fair in his coverage, but you've asked about media as a whole. The fact is, that media, like everyone else, is very varied. You have overtly pro-Israel media coming from some U.S. broadcast journalists as well as from some Europeans, and you have some shockingly anti-Israel journalists coming from some quarters, especially from Europe. And that's just one indicator. The range of bias/objectivity in covering the Arab world and Iran also is great. I did not see what Canadians saw in Iran's coverage of events there in the past year, but I did see a group of dedicated journalists trying to convey from Tehran a frank objective message of democracy gone bad. From Iranians I know, that was an apt message.
12:57 Kamal Al-Solaylee: I hope that's the same Hume Baugh, the wonderful TO actor. I think my family has come to accept my sexuality but they just don't wish to talk about it. The "Don't ask, don't tell" approach. I also want to say that the "coming out" narrative doesn't really exist in the Arab World. It's a western model that works here but doesn't translate well over there.
12:57 [Comment From Zaaviyah Hussain]Kamal, your family's view of western culture sounds similar to that of most Muslims living in the west.
12:58 Globe and Mail: Thank you so much for all your questions. Our apologies for not getting to them all today. Kamal, do you have any final comments you'd like to leave us with?
12:59 Kamal Al-Solaylee: I'd just like to thank Carol Toller from the Focus section for her sensitive handling of my story. And thank the many readers who left such wonderful comments when the story was published. I'm truly touched and humbled by their words.
1:00 Globe and Mail: Here are Patrick's closing thoughts:
The biggest problem in Yemen I've discovered is the capacity of the government to deliver services to the people. It doesn't have much, not when there's more than 100,000 communities scattered all over the mountains and desert of this place. That's breeding great tension and resentment, and it won't end without violence, it seems, until the government's capacity improves.
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