Thursday, June 25, 2009

UNVEILING ISLAM - The burqa explained

Before this commentary gets underway, I feel that it is necessary to close the gate before the horse bolts. So first up, let me say that I am not anti-Islamic, I have lived as a Muslim woman from the age of seventeen until I was twenty two (and admittedly, found it not to my liking for a number of reasons). I have four children, two of whom are Muslims and with whom I have a warm, relaxed and loving relationship – we are a family regardless of religion. Much of my professional life has been spent working with, and for Muslim people in the war zones of Bosnia Herzogovina, Kosovo and Albania as an humanitarian relief worker, and I have travelled and worked extensively in the Middle East, Europe, Africa and Asia - so I have seen quite a bit of the world and can compare how varying societies adapt the Islamic religion to the cultural morays and sensitivities of their regions. In light of the bravery exhibited by so many women who have taken to the streets in Iran post elections I felt compelled to be honest in what I know of the dress code for Muslim women.
Tory Maguire’s piece yesterday in and the reader’s comments that followed

had much to say on the reasons often cited by western media and society about what is believed to be the motivation for Muslim women to don the burqa and headscarves. The common, misinformed perception is that Muslim women mostly wear the burqa to express their religious devotion. Frankly, I’ve lived on both sides of this debate, and I would like to put the record straight once and for all as I was instructed during my time in a moderately strict Islamic society - to wear a burqa, hijab or headscarf during daily life is not prescribed specifically anywhere in the Koran – it is not wajib (mandatory and prescribed by the Koran), but only sunat (recommended culturally).
As a royal princess in an Islamic country (Malaysia), and originally hailing from Australia, I was required, after my marriage, to undertake four years of Islamic study under the tutelage of the Royal Household’s Iman and religious teacher. We used text books primarily sourced from Pakistan and Egypt which had been specially printed in English for converts to Islam, as well as long tracts of the Koran and my tutor’s own knowledge and interpretations as he was a respected scholar nationally. The majority of these texts were from Cairo University – the penultimate centre of Islamic scholarship in the 20th century.

These twice weekly classes over four years, were never undertaken between myself and my teacher without the presence of my servants, or another royal lady who acted as chaperones – not for my chastity or purity, but, as the Iman explained to me, for his! He truly believed that I, or any woman, could not be trusted in the lone company of a male without the baser instincts of the female gender coming to the fore.

According to these books, I was to learn that it was fine for a husband to beat his wife as long as he didn’t mark her face, I was to ascertain that female circumcision was not mandatory or even mentioned in the Koran, that it is a cultural practice only. However, the father who does instigate the excision of the clitoris of his female child will be rewarded in heaven – this again, I stress, was not mentioned anywhere in the Koran, but simply extrapolated from cultural musings of a scholarly nature. In other words, female genital mutilation is not a religious Islamic practice at all as dictated by the holy words of the Prophet Mohamed. That abhorrent undertaking is about control of women and tempering their sensuality – it has nothing to do with religion and I have yet to meet any Australian Iman who would say otherwise.

I was taught scores of things by the Royal Iman, the beauty of many tracts of the Koran, the cadence of the Arabic language; but much of the teachings, as opposed to the Koran itself, were strictly cultural and archaic, rather than the pure religious teachings of the Koran. I learnt that the primary reason women are required by Islamic societies (the majority of which are patriarchal) to swathe themselves in fabrics and cover their collar bones, necks, arms, legs, ankles, calves, chests, elbows, shoulders, throats, thighs, ears, napes of necks, hair and in some cases, faces, is that women are culturally condemned to the roll of seductress and are considered untrustworthy, immoral humans, driven to tempt men and bring down the bastions of male self-control. The fine shape of an ankle, or a tendril of hair – a glimpse of which can send a mere male into a sexual frenzy, are the tools of seduction. In essence and to outline it crudely – the veil, much lauded by so called Islamic teachings, is a protection for men against we voracious vixens of the mortal world. Not, as so many pundits state, a protection for women against men.

Yes, during prayer, it is common for women to don a full-length, white hijab, but this is because no hair or overt skin, other than the face, may be visible during devotions. Similarly, a man may not have any hair come between his forehead and his prayer mat as he kneels and prostrates himself during the recitations of Koranic verse, technically he must be covered only from knee to waist, but the little white crocheted caps have become popular as they are convenient to wear during prayers and keep the hair under control.

Women must not pray at the forefront of a mosque, in front of men. Women must take their places in prayer at the rear so as not to distract the male congregation from their rituals. But even in prayer, not one of the lines of the Koran bids a woman to have her face completely obliterated by a burqa – her face may be shown to Allah and all around her.

Even culturally, under the Islamic teachings I studied and with which I was indoctrinated, not one stanza exhorted a man to order his woman to cover her face – everything else, yes, but to wend her way along streets covered in a tent with only slits for her vision was never mentioned. Similarly, I am deeply perplexed by the current custom of small, Australian primary aged girls attending taxpayer subsidised private Islamic schools, wearing hijabs as part of their mandatory uniform. There are no teachings which direct females to cover all the parts of the body and the hair prior to puberty. In other words, if a girl has not yet menstruated, a headscarf is not a part of the dress code under Islam.
I have heard it argued by a young Muslim teenager that a hijab or a burqa denotes a female as a “girl or woman of dignity”. My gentle reply was that demeanour and deeds denote dignity, not a piece of fabric. The Koran mentions modesty, but does not describe a burqa or a hijab.
Which brings me to another point, it is most often the strictures imposed by the fathers and husbands within the Islamic communities that lead women to take up the hijab or the burqa. The social pressure on the males, their fear of perceptions within male circles, leads to the demand that their female relatives cloak themselves in what they perceive to be the trappings of honour to ensure, and demonstrate their trustworthiness and prove a lack of feminine sexual sophistication. In other words, the worth of a man is valued in how they control their womenfolk. Frankly, it’s a rather akin to preserving the wrappings on valuable goods before they’re purchased.

But it is implicit within well educated Islamic circles that head coverings on women are a cultural, and or personal choice, not necessarily a religious one except during prayer.

Queen Rania of Jordan, does not don any form of veil, she wears everything from leather trousers to business suits and haute couture gowns very openly – not just on foreign state visits, but in her day to day life amongst her people. (As ironically, did Lebanese born, Empress Farah Diba of Iran). Rania’s predecessor, Queen Noor (the former Lisa Halaby who began life as an American) did the same. Both women, at the highest echelons of Islamic society have stood beside their well educated, monarch husbands and exhorted their country to educate their children and most particularly the girls. Both queens have openly discussed breastfeeding and cleverly quoted passages of the Koran to support their stances on family.

It is a shame that so many of the men who have coaxed, or pressured, or demanded that their womenfolk don the burqa, or that their toddler daughters don a hijab prematurely, are most probably unable to read the Koran in its original Arabic other than by rote and are dependent on the interpretations incorrectly preached to them by immoderate clerics, and cultural exhortations not based in pure religion. The problem with so many clerics in powerful positions within many immigrant Islamic communities around the globe, is that these religious leaders do not allow for intellectual freedom, or personal interpretation when it comes to matters of self assessed modesty and female dressing because of the narrowness in which they view women’s supposedly intemperate sexuality and the lack of self-control in men.

Surely in 2009, human beings can be trusted to walk down the street, safe in the knowledge that a glimpse of hair will not cause a riot or an orgy. A veil worn in any form should be a personal and independent choice, free of familial or social pressure, A perambulating shroud should not be used to effectively excise a woman from the society in which they live and the possibilities of the freedoms we should all enjoy. Vive l’France!


  1. I have great admiration for Queen Rania, she is truly an amazing woman. I am in awe of her and she does not cover up at all. She believes in education and change and is loved by people, all people despite their religion.
    Women should choose to wear what they like, to cover their hair or not, no country nor man should dictate their dress to them (or anyone else)

  2. 'Yasmin' was your Muslim name before you renounced Islamic faith.

    Terengganu people

  3. why did your children know nothing about islam or Malaysan culture before the kidnaping i understand that your ex husband didnt caare about what religion theire followed or the upbringing but as a parent and a person who believes in multi culturism. u know i always wondered wwhy iddin wore a klit at your second wedding and shah learnt intalian when they could have wore things from they own culture and learrnt Malay from their mother maybe im wrong but i alwAYS believe there is beauty in all langauges and cultures and its importent for kids to learn where they came from an d to know about their herritige
    this comment will probbaly get delated soon as it too personal i know jaquliine would nevver ansewer this but i write anyway
    im a iddiot

  4. To 'Anonymous' who signed themselves as 'im idiot'. Apparently, you may have read one of my books, seen a photograph, or not, as the case may be. As you have written anonymously, I can't answer directly, so perhaps you will check this page. so here a couple of comments in reply.
    1. My wedding was a Scottish wedding, the bridesmaids wore tartan, and the boys wore kilts. It has nothing to do with Malay culture or multi-culturism. Tartan is Scottish and so therefore, all were dressed appropriately. There was also bagpipes.
    2. Shahirah and Iddin learnt Italian AT SCHOOL as did the five humdred other kids who attended the same establishment. The did a class once a week. it is quite normal for children attending schools in the State of Victoria to do a second langauge as dictated by the school system. There is no choice, it's part of the curriculum. As to the language, I would speak Malay to my kids when they were little, and they would answer in English!
    Jacqueline Pascarl

  5. To another 'Anonymous' who again didn't leave a return address, but signed themselves very grandiously, 'The People of Terenggannu', Do you have a point about my former name, Yasmin?
    If you do, I'd be interested to hear it!
    Jacqueline Pascarl

  6. OK I NEVER SAID IDDIN AND SHAH SHOULDNT HAVE Learnt ittalian at school i aSk why they didnt learn malay at home as well because ii was under the impression you only spoke english to your children in melborne
    i sighned my name my name is annoymos is because i once wrote to a ffriendd of your daughter who accuse me of harraSing u i thought if you knew who i was yoou'll kick me of this board
    by the way nice work on yoour blog is there any change you start a book club on this blog its easy justt write a reveiw of a bbook every month
    ps thherre are 2 annoymoses on this board i only wrote the first post

  7. HI there, thank you for the clarification. Will contmeplate the thoughts about a book club.

    As to languages, I speak several languages in total, and tend to speak English, French and my little kids get a smattering of Greek at home. In turn, I also speak Malay and English with my elder children and my son in law. I speak Macedonian with my parents in law and Bosnian with other friends. When in Kenya I speak Maasai and very bad Swahili. My Dutch is poor and I often make huge mistakes. I am currently learning Spanish. It's not a lot do with being multi-cultural, it's more to do with loving being able to find a way of communicating where ever I work, live of play.Jacqueline Pascarl. PS: One should never be afraid to speak, only to be afraid of doing it nastily, dishonestly, intrusively or cruelly.::))

  8. The Malaysian press strongly supported your former husband and blamed you and the Australian Family Court.

    In Terengganu, people blamed you as a real abductor since 1985.

  9. Dear Anonymous. Fascinating how the most factually incorrect comments are always left by the bravely named 'anonymous'. Wonderful that the Malaysian Press supported my kidnapper ex husband, a Malaysian Prince, operating in a society that can still lock up anyone without a trial under the draconian Internal Security Act. Furthermore, the entire world knows that the press in Malaysia is highly censored and not at all free. Most importantly though, I DID NOT abduct my children in 1985, I was sent home to Australia by my then husband on tickets purchased by him with the sanction of the Sultan of Terengganu and the rest of the royal family after my husband took a second wife - a sleazy nightclub singer who was much married and fully aware that I had only recently given birth to my second child. I always find is to fascinating how history is so conveniently re-written by Anonymous and Malaysians not aware or not bothered by the truth or the legally proven facts. But in any case, thanks for ignoring the topic of my blog entry on lifting the veil on Islam and proving my point exactly. Burqa anyone?

  10. PS Brave Anonymous. Did you know that Interpol still has active warrants for the apprehension and arrest Raja Bahrin Shah, my former husband on kidnapping charges? I didn't bring these warrants for his arrest and Interpol is a global law enforcement agency. Interpol has no such alerts or warrants for me - I have been an humanitarian ambassador in war zones and am now patron of a global charity - none of this would be the case if I had indeed abducted my children as you assert. Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

  11. Oh, OK. You had strong arguments. I've read your book, Once I Was a Princess, two years ago. Even though your books had been banned in Malaysia, don't know how I can still got it at a bookstore in Kuala Lumpur.'tapi jelas cerita kamu amat menyedihkan'. Maybe you understand my word in Malay

    from Kuala Terengganu

  12. i just read your abducted i was saddened by your story.But even more saddened and angry and dissilusioned with the australian government,the children should never have the country you had custody you were doing the right thing by the father and your children,And basically the australian has let a kidnapper get away because hes royalty.So are we sending the sending the message its ok to break our laws just so long as your important enough.I have always loved being an australian but i am disgusted this could happen in our country and as for religion australians are generally open minded and there is every religion here i believe children as well as everyone should have the right to learn any religion and choose their own.also i think which is also sad religion is sometimes used to control.

  13. Hi there. I am currently reading your book Abducted (about half way through). Thank goodness I know there is a happy ending in sight because it helps with the genuine feelings of sadness and anger I have felt while reading your book. I am a mother and a psychologist and I am completely inspired by the strength and courage you somehow managed to maintain throughout your traumatic ordeal. I hope you and your family are all well and happy.


  14. MAJOR CORRECTION: Empress Farah Diba of Iran was NOT born in Lebanon. Empress Farah is 100% Iranian, and was born in Tehran,Iran. Her mother's family came from Gilan in Iran's Caspian region, and her father's family from Iran's Azarbaijan province.

  15. I have just finished reading your wonderful book 'Once I was a Princess' It has sickened me to the core to think that a father could do that to his children, and what you have endured during your marriage and through the kidnapping ordeal. I am craving more and am eager to read the next installment. I was also very disappointed ... to say the least, at the way the Australian Government dealt with the situation. My heart goes out to you and I am glad you are all finally reunited.

  16. I recently read "The Raja Bahrin Story" and sympathised with his plight and admired Bryan Wickham for his selfless deed - that is, until I read your "Once I was a Princess". Your book really shattered my impression of Bahrin and I could see the many holes in his version. I'm not surprised many people in Malaysia consider him a hero as they've only ever heard his side of the story. How tragic!

  17. Anonymous said...
    I am a muslim too, but I do not believe that Raja Bahrin has done right by his wife or children. It is so wrong and against our religion to force any non-muslim into converting and also to kidnap their children. We try to show how kind and considerate we are, but people as wrong as Raja Bahrin show our religion to be so wrong, this is why we are not liked so much. Shame shame shame on him, especially being a royal blood and swearing so many times on the Koran that he will not do the things he has done. Us women are usually forced to make our husbands happy (without a thought to our feelings) and belittled by them. We are forced to wear veils to cover ourselves, whilst our men go out and hunt for flesh. Even being a devout muslim, I am so against his way of treatment. Our men lost diginity for themselves such a long time ago. Who brought them into this world...a woman... who has to take care of them as they cannot do this themselves....a woman. So why treat us the way they do and be honoured for this? I think as so many women from my family that Jacqueline was so right to take her children away from there to have a decent life.

  18. I am still fascinated by your book "once i was a princess" the end all ended well, you have your children back in your life...and as you said you love them millions, billions and trillions and always will...i have two sons and their father has custody of them (i do see them regularly) and yes i too love them millions, billions and trillions and always will!!

  19. I remember your case in 1992 had attracted much attention and great deal of misunderstanding between both sides.
    The different cultures and religious made people in both countries see the matter in different light.

  20. i find it interesting that, instead of pointing fingers to anyone, how parent would do anything for the children, that's inspiring.

  21. dont know what URL is! happened upon your 1st book & have been following your lifes' story via the computer.You are a beautiful human being.I admire your strengths.Am glad you found happiness & fulfillment.You make my heart happy.

  22. hi jacqueline..i have read both sides of the story from the internet; from the perspective of Australia Press and Malaysia Press. i wasn't born yet when the incident happened. I am sorry for what had happened to your previous marriage with Raja Bahrin.

    People in Australia would go and accuse Raja Bahrin as a kidnapper. However, I wonder.. why did you took the children flew back to Australia,and later you wanted to be divorced from Australia?

    Why can't you settle everything before you flew back? Or why can't you flew back to Malaysia and discuss over it,settle everything with Raja Bahrin?

    Forgive me if it may sound that i am taking Raja Bahrin's side but don't you think that,it seems like you were plotting something back then by taking the children back to Australia and sent the divorced news, only allowing RB a permission to visit his children once in a while?
    There must be some sort of explanation. Last but not least, thank you for reading this comment. Apology if there's any harms in my words. TQ.

  23. I believe both sides need to be heard. It can be said that almost the case news were on behalf the mother side and it's not good to hear only one-side story, like a world problem when Australia made 'a lot of noise' back then in 1992/1993 about the case.

    But in Malaysia, it was in a reverse position. They reported about the case to be resolved as a family matter. They said, if the Australian media really concerned about the children's welfare, then they should let the matter simmer down, not to blow the issue out of proportion or to publish provocative writings.

    Anyway, the children are now adults and had been reunited with their mother in 2006. A happy ending. Let them live in a peaceful, undisturbed.

  24. Dr. nurulhuda che lahThursday, 21 March, 2013

    ISLAM is the only true religion said by Allah the almighty in Quran..

    there's 5 pillars in ISLAM:
    1. beleive in Allah
    2. beleive in angels
    3. beleive in the Holy Books: Zabur (during prophet David pbuh time), Injil (during prophet Jesus pbuh time), Taurat (during prophet Moses pbuh time), Quran (during prophet Muhammadpbuh time till now)
    4, beleive in prophets
    5.beleive in the day of hereafter

    In Islam: we have to follow two guidance: Quran and Hadith prophet Muhammad pbuh

    if u really interested in learning Quran,please come to Kelantan, Malaysia..I love to explain it further..Insya Allah..have you met Tuan Guru Nik Aziz NikMat? come and lets learn the beautiful of Islam

    Quran is a very unique mukjizat..Ulama' have a deep (I mean deep learning regarding Islam) and we should follow Quran and its meaning has been well elaborated by these ulama':

    1. imam Shafie rahimahullah
    2. imam Hanbali rahimahullah
    3. imam Maliki rahimahullah
    4. Imam Hanafi rahimahullah

    good luck for ur learning in Islam..its only the starting point

    1. Dr. nurulhuda che lahThursday, 21 March, 2013

      sorry, correction

      rukun Islam:
      1. say NO GOD BUT ALLAH and PROPHET MUHAMMAD is the Messenger

      2. Pray 5 times a day till our death (Subuh,Zohor,Asar, Maghrib, isyak)

      3. fasting during ramadhan

      4. pay zakat

      5. go for Haj at Makkah

      rukun Iman (beleiveing pillars):
      1. beleive in Allah
      2. beleive in Angels
      3. beleive in Holy Books (as I mentioned earlier)
      4. beleive in Prophets (prophet Adam pbuh till prophet Muhammad pbuh)
      5. beleive in qada' and qadar (the predestined fate determined by Allah)
      6. beleive in the day of hereafter (that we will be alive after we dead- Allah's power)

      wallahu a'lam

  25. Dr. nurulhuda che lahThursday, 21 March, 2013

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Dr. nurulhuda che lahThursday, 21 March, 2013

      you can search the meaning of verse 30 and 31 Surah An Nur (from Quran)in English Languange..

      the main points here is:
      verse 30: Allah order male to low their sights from seeing women not covering their aurah (which is haram for them to see except the lists of man explained in the next verse which is verse 31- which include their husband, father, male siblings, nephew, etc)

      here, Allah first order Muslim male to lower their gaze in order to prevent them from any sexual arousal which can lead to zina (sexual intercourse NOT with their own husband or wife)..only after the verse 30,Then, Allah ask Muslim female to cover their aurah especially by covering their head until lower than the breast..the explanation regarding this can be founf in hadith prophet Muhammad pbuh and in all ijtihad ulama'muktabar: Imama Syafie, Imam Hanbali, Imam Hanafi and Imam Maliki rahimahullah unto all of them

      wallahu a'lam

  26. When the Arab traders came to the Hindu/Pagan Malay peninsular about six centuries ago, unlike the Dutch,the Portuguese and the English, they mentally colonised the Malays some of whom become fanatical and unable to use their brain and move with the time.

    Mistaking "Rukun Islam" with "Rukun Iman".... gosh that speaks volumes about some so-called Muslim! No need for you to patronise Jacqueline. Wishing Jacqueline all the best and May God bless you.

    1. Do not be so judgemental..obviously the commentator above has said that she is a native Malay language speaker and obviously your English is waaayyy much better than her, and me it's not very surprising that she could mistook Rukun Iman for Rukun the way you condemned her just for that is just so inappropriate..

  27. if u ask them both - iddin and sha. they thank theirs father and brian for that impossible mission.

    if u ask them both - iddin and sha. they thank theirs mother - you, for coming to this world.

    sometimes, i dont get it. a best fucking scene for 4 years, becoming the endless of war.

    do raja bahrin a satan? sha got 5 A's in school and go to university and hapily married.

    then idin and sha enter 18 years old - he give his permission to them see u. and invite you also in sha wedding.

    do love not hate. this world is just a place before we all die.

  28. Do not speak of burqa or hijab or Koran if you have only surface knowledge of these. Koran is not like the book you wrote, or any other book for that matter. It is so sacred and holy. You have to get someone who is pious to guide and translate to you the content.

    Yes, it does not state that women must cover their heads and certain parts of body (literally/directly). But it says that you must cover parts that are aurah/aurat to women from men who are not muhrim/mahram (non related).

    Muslim men CANNOT simply hit their wives-that is NOT permitted in Islam UNLESS the wives are stubborn in performing prayers, commit adultery and ignore what muslim women are supposed to do, act or avoid. Men can only hit women on the parts that wouldn't cause fatal injuries....that is...if his advice is ignored 3 times. If the wife is still stubborn, the last resort is to teach the wife by sleeping separately.

    We have many muslim people in our country. Hitting women is known as a sin. Islam asks men to cherish and respect women and mothers.

  29. What we are witnessing in Middle East countries where people label them as terrorists, are true wrong teachings...Islam never permitted killing and self bombing. Anything that will lead to destruction is WRONG. Islam does not permit a muslim to harm a non muslim. It is Allah's right and duty to take someone's life. Not a human being.

    As for your case, Raja Bahrin was right in making sure that the children remain as muslims. It is his responsibility or he will be questioned on Judgement Day. BUT he was wrong to totally shut the children from you. A mother regardless religion will always be a mother. Even is Islam, if you convert to Islam and your mother is not, you MUST inexcusably respect, cherish and love your mother. The heaven is under a mom's feet. That is where mothers are positioned in Islam. Because a mother sacrifices to bring a child to this world. However, since religion must come first...Bahrin should have taught Iddin and Shahirah to be loyal to Islam without forgetting you as their mother.

    Despite all that, I understand your grief losing your children for a long time. A mom's love can never be compared.

  30. The Australian press made a lot of noise in 1992/1993 about an evil Muslim "Prince" stole two "little Aussies".

    If the media were really concerned about the children's welfare, then it was best to let the matter simmer down.

    Malaysia's The Star newspapers, July 28, 1992 :
    Don't make a big issue, foreign media told

  31. I am just an ordinary person, a Muslim who tries my best to follow the Islamic teachings and practice in my life. I am no scholar to tell you all sorts of things, to tell you whether you are wrong or whatsoever..but from what I read above, you have many misconceptions about the real Islam. but I don't blame you, because these thoughts are instilled in you by those around you when you were a Muslim. Many of the old Ustaz and Imam are educated traditionally and have traditional way of thinking. But nowadays there is a surge of a new Islamic way of thinking in Malaysia where the younger generation no longer put much emphasize on the cultural aspects of the Islamic practices in Malaysia and try to bring back and practice the real teachings of Islam as taught to us by our beloved Prophet Muhammad pbuh..I proudly say that I am a Muslim women who proudly covers my whole body. I don't wear burqa, I don't wear veil to cover my face, I don't wear black clothes all the time. I wear all colours and sorts of clothing, jeans, t-shirts, etc..but I make sure that I cover my aurat properly because I am so proud of my body that I don't want any men just to see them. It's not because I am afraid that men will be lustful if they see my body but it's more like I want to cover up because I feel comfortable and I feel dignified. Not approached by men doesn't mean that the woman is not hot enough. My unrevealing clothes 'cares' for me and keeps me away from unnecessary attention..this is what I think but of course every Muslim women think differently..

  32. Im proud of u jacqueline

  33. I think there were faults on both sides. The children should have been able to divide their time between Malaysia and Australia, as having a good amount of time with both parents is important. Bahrin was wrong to not allow the children to see their mother for years, but Jackie was wrong to take them out of Malaysia and change their religion. Jackie did let Bahrin come and see the children when they were in Australia, but just seeing your children once a year isn't enough. Whether you believe in God or Allah, it takes two people to have children, and children should know both parents. It is neither Islamic nor Christian to take children away from their other parent.

    Bahrin was totally wrong to take another wife after swearing on the Qu'ran not to, so Jackie can't be blamed for wanting to divorce in the first place.

    Jackie mentions servants in this post and in the book. If she wants to fight for the rights of women, she should include all women in this. Many of her servants were probably forced by poverty to leave their children behind in other countries. Jackie's servants lived in the palace, sleeping in her living room on a fold-down bed (that is from the book). Why is there no concern about when THEY are allowed to see their children? And surely there were enough rooms in the palace with proper beds for the servants?