It should be an eye opener for Indonesian women (Muslimah) who are now being coerced by the fanatical Muslim men to accept restrictions which the Arab Muslimah are beginning to realize as a form of subjugation.
Come on, Indonesian Muslimah, you have always enjoyed your independence and freedom without being promiscuous or immodest. Look at your Arab counterparts only now (with cable television, the internet, magazines and travels) they began to realize that they have been treated shabilly by the men because of their tradition. Why do you want to go back into the unfair, injurious and demeaning customs of the dark ages. Gabriela Rantau --- In email@example.com, "Sunny" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote: > > http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/09/19/mideast/oprah.php > > > MBC's Web site includes information about the show. (MBC4) > Saudi women beat a path to the TV for Oprah > > By Katherine Zoepf Published: September 19, 2008 > > > DAMMAM, Saudi Arabia: Once a month, Nayla says, she writes a letter to Oprah Winfrey. > > A young Saudi homemaker who covers her face in public might not seem to have much in common with an American talk show host whose image is known to millions. Like many women in this conservative desert kingdom, Nayla does not usually socialize with people outside her extended family, and she never leaves the house unless chaperoned by her husband. > > Winfrey has not answered the letters. But Nayla says she is still hoping. > > "I feel that Oprah truly understands me," Nayla said. "She gives me energy and hope for my life. Sometimes I think that she is the only person in the world who knows how I feel." > > Nayla is not the only Saudi woman to feel a special connection to the American media mogul. When "The Oprah Winfrey Show" was first broadcast in Saudi Arabia in November 2004 > > on a Dubai-based satellite channel, it became an immediate sensation among young Saudi women. > > Within months, it had become the highest-rated English-language program among women 25 and younger, an age group that makes up about a third of Saudi Arabia's population. > > In a country where the sexes are rigorously separated, where topics like sex and race are rarely discussed openly and where a strict code of public morality is enforced by religious police called hai'a, Winfrey provides many young Saudi women with new ways of thinking about the way local taboos affect their lives - a variety of issues including childhood sexual abuse and coping with marital strife - without striking them, or Saudi Arabia's ruling authorities, as subversive. > > Some women here say Winfrey's assurances to her viewers - that no matter how restricted or even abusive their circumstances may be, they can take control in small ways and create lives of value - helps them find meaning in their cramped, veiled existence. > > "Oprah dresses conservatively," explained Princess Reema bint Bandar al-Saud, a co-owner of a women's spa in Riyadh called Yibreen and a daughter of Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the former Saudi ambassador to the United States. "She struggles with her weight. She overcame depression. She rose from poverty and from abuse. On all these levels she appeals to a Saudi woman. People really idolize her here." > > Today, "The Oprah Winfrey Show," with Arabic subtitles, is broadcast twice each weekday on MBC4, a three-year-old channel developed by the MBC Group with the Arab woman in mind. The show's guests, self-improvement tips, and advice on family relationships - as well as Winfrey's clothes and changing hairstyles - are eagerly analyzed by Saudi women from a wide range of social backgrounds and income levels. > > The largest-circulation Saudi women's magazine, Sayidaty, devotes a regular page to Winfrey, and dog-eared copies of her official magazine, O, which is not sold in the Kingdom, are passed around by women who collect them during trips abroad. > > The particulars of Winfrey's personal story have resonated with a broad audience of Saudi women in a way that few other Western imports have, explained Mazen Hayek, a spokesman for the MBC Group. > > Saudi Arabia was an impoverished desert country before it was transformed by oil money and, in just a couple of generations, into a wealthy consumer society. Saudi women readily identify with "this glamorous woman from very modest beginnings," Hayek said by telephone from Dubai. > > "Oprah talks about issues that haven't really been spoken about here openly before," said Maha al-Faleh, 23, of Riyadh. "She talks about racism, for example. This is something that Saudis are very concerned about, because many of us feel that we're judged for the way we veil or for our skin color. I have a friend whose driver touched her in an inappropriate way. She was very young at the time, but she felt very guilty about it - and Oprah helped her to speak about this abuse with her mother." > > MBC edits some Oprah episodes to remove content banned by censors in the region, officials at the channel say. It does not broadcast segments on homosexuality, for example. But the officials say they make most episodes available to their regional viewers uncensored, including some about relations between Arabs and Westerners and about living with the threat of Islamic terrorism. > > Saudi women say they are drawn to Winfrey not only because she openly addresses subjects considered taboo locally, but also because she speaks of self-empowerment and change. > > Wafa Mohamed, 38, a mother of five from Riyadh who, like many of the women interviewed, would not give her full name, said she believes that, in their adoration of Winfrey, Saudi women are expressing a hesitant sense of longing for real change in their country. > > "Many of us feel that the solutions for our problems have to come from outside," Mohamed said. When President George W. Bush visited Saudi Arabia in January, she continued, as an example, his presence briefly became a locus of hope for Saudi women. "A lot of women were saying that they wished they could talk to Bush about problems like forced marriage, about how our children are taken away if our husbands divorce us." > > In a country where women are forbidden to vote, or to travel without the permission of a male guardian, a sense of powerlessness can lead women to look for unlikely sources of rescue, Mohamed explained. "If women here have problems with their fathers or their brothers, what can they do but look to Oprah?" she asked. "The idea that she will come and help them is a dream for them." > > Nayla, the homemaker in Dammam, a Gulf port city, says Winfrey helps her cope with a society that does not encourage her to have interests - or even to have anything to say. "The life of a woman here in Saudi - it makes you tired and it makes you boring," she said. > > Like many Saudi women, Nayla struggles with obesity, a major issue in the Kingdom since many women are largely confined to their homes and forbidden from participating in sports or walking around their neighborhoods. She says that Winfrey has inspired her to lose weight and to pursue an education through an online degree course, a method acceptable to her husband since she will not have to leave home. > > Mohamed said, "Oprah is the magic word for women here who want to scream out loud, who want to be heard. Look at what happened to the girl from Qatif," she said, referring to the infamous 2007 case of a young woman who was gang-raped, then sentenced to flogging because she had been in a car with an unrelated man. The young woman from Qatif received a royal pardon after her case became an media cause célèbre. > > "The Qatif girl was heard outside the country, and she was helped," Mohamed said. "But we need to have Saudi women who help women here. We need to have women social workers, women judges." > > "We have a very male-dominated society, and it's very hard sometimes," Mohamed said. "But for now I have my coffee, and sit, and I watch Oprah. > > "It's my favorite time of day." >