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Arab Women and the Future of the Middle East

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The central theme of the 2005 closed-door and off-the-record roundtable conference on “Arab Women and the Future of the Middle East” was how to improve U.S. security in the face of threats from militant Islamic fundamentalists. As in previous roundtable gatherings on the broader Middle East, the thesis was that no genuine peace between Arab Islam and the West is possible for as long as the Arab Muslim mind-set remains anchored in the Middle Ages. Hence, there is a need to reform that mind-set—that is, the need to introduce it and bring it into the 20th century's Western tradition, grounded in the Enlightenment.

Critical in that context is the liberation of Arab women from discrimination that is justified by an extremist interpretation of the Koran. One conclusion of the conference was that the “empowerment of women can defuse the problems of the region as well as diminish the effects of militant Islamic fundamentalism that are at the heart of mounting terrorist activities perpetrated by organizations such as Al Qaeda and its ilk.” Details of how to obtain that goal are outlined below.

This is a republication of the roundtable proceedings held on April 14, 2005.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2012

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