The American tragedy of 11 September, with thousands of victims of Islamic terrorism, has dramatically revived the theme of relations between East and West and drew attention to the situation of life in Muslim countries.
The main questions, and most especially for us Europeans, are concerning the role of women in Islamic countries.
Women we see on television or in photographs of newspapers, entirely covered by their dresses and the veil covering their faces make us imagine a contemporary reality different from ours, with a feminine world completely submissive to the male.
There was certainly some development in recent years and women have taken public and professional roles in the past, but forbidden because according to their tradition a woman is regarded as inferior to man, and this concept endures til today.
In other countries the situation is very different and the presence of women is now similar to that found in the rest of the world, but there are areas remained inaccessible to women's participation, such as the army, the bureaucracy, justice.
The obligation of the veil in most Islamic countries is however still present and this is made known by Amnesty International in a report on women in 1995.
In Western society the veil Muslim women is interpreted as a symbol of oppression and at the same time of the backwardness of those countries that impose these rules.
Another problem is that of double dignity: women are often given in marriage when they’re still young. Marriage is arranged by parents and children must submit without possibility of dissent.
The idea of women in the countries of Islam, is considered to be inferior and weak, and is also widespread in the literature.
As early as 1859 Gustav Flaubert in a letter to his friend Louis Colet wrote:
"The woman is a machine and nothing more; no difference between a man and another man ".