All theocratic fanatics share this modesty (or purity) culture, whether Baptists in the neo-confederate American South, Haredim in Israel and Brooklyn, or Muslims. But the Muslim world is unique in having the purity cultists in the majority and wielding state power. Another differentiating factor: all Muslim states, including Iran and post-WWI Turkiye, are post-colonial states and share a common traumatic experience: seeing their culture, religion and form of governance defeated by western colonization, turned from teacher to student. In What Went Wrong? Bernard Lewis tells this story and how Muslims saw the need to import western technology without westernization. The wish to avoid importing western gender relations played a key role in this pursuit. But there were some exceptions that proved the rule:

By the late 19th Century, some cosmopolitan Muslims who had lived in the West concluded that their societies would never catch up without liberating women. One, a young French-educated Egyptian lawyer, Qasim Amin, wrote a book called The Liberation of Woman:

“In 1899 a remarkable book appeared in Arabic, entitled The Liberation of Woman, written by Qasim Amin, a young Egyptian lawyer who had studied in Paris and acquired a French girlfriend who seems to have had some influence on him. While there, he became a passionate advocate of women’s rights. The theme of his book was the need to raise the condition of women by educating them, and thus giving them access to social life and to the professions. In particular, he proposed to abolish the veil and to reinterpret the Qur’anic provisions that had usually been interpreted as authorizing polygamy, concubinage, and divorce by repudiation. Only by freeing women, he argued, could Muslim society itself be free, since a free society is one in which all its members are free.” (Lewis, page 80)

The result was the fragile toxic masculinity that you're writing about. It's certainly present as a minority subculture with fascistic incels in the US, purity cultists among American Christian theocrats.

But the scarcity of the Muslim world's exceptions like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Kamel Daoud (The Sexual Misery of the Arab World) and yourself show how weak the position of its intellectual infidels is, and has been for almost 1000 years. Here's a story of how Islam's intellectual innovators have an unbroken record of defeat:

https://medium.com/lessons-from-history/islam-and-intellectual-infidels-b83b6cdcb7fc

The history of modernizing dictatorships using limited women's rights to divide and rule against tribal opposition also drove secular democratic opposition into uncomfortable coalition with Islamist opponents of those dictatorships in a form of pick your poison politics, gendered and otherwise.

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From Latvia and Porto I write to share learning from life in 8 languages in 5 countries & seeing fascism die in Portugal & Spain in 1974 and 1976.

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Lester Golden

From Latvia and Porto I write to share learning from life in 8 languages in 5 countries & seeing fascism die in Portugal & Spain in 1974 and 1976.