It seems that the Middle East is starting to open up to new ideas. All due to the famous words of Globalization. Shows like Oprah and other Western shows are bringing in topics that previously were not even allowed to be discussed in this Islamic majority area. Turkish soap operas are bringing in topics such as alcohol, being with the opposite sex, and sexuality. The shows are beginning to open up all generations to these topics which permeate underground throughout the Islamic society and are crossing boundaries which have never been crossed in over 1000 years. It has been found that these shows are changing how everyone views their society and hopefully will change for the better. It's becoming understood by the people that women need some 'role models' as World Focus put it to guide them. And the Turkic soap operas and Western shows are giving women role models by which to follow. Women are becoming aware that they can actively fight for their rights and men are becoming increasingly aware of this and respectful of women's rights.
The reason these shows are so important is because we as Westerners, as well as Arabs, are becoming aware of each others culture's and values. Globalization, while sometimes can kill culture, in this case is spreading culture and improving on the already bright society of the Middle East. It's necessary for everyone to accept everyone and accept that that is their culture no matter how strange it could be.
What would it be like if the Middle East was totally different than it is today? What would it be like if they did not have a majority of the terrorists in this world? What if we the Western world was, in their view, the enemy? What if the Middle East had peace and prosperity on all levels? I feel that these questions can not be answered thoroughly without an understanding of history of this area and also of how it fits in with the rest of the world and it's part in history.
This area, being between Europe and Asia, I believe was destined for trouble. It's between to very different views of life and life purpose's. The Middle East created a very important and respectable religion which has changed the way the world thinks and how the world works. Islam by no means is scary or bad. Just it has had a dark light cast upon it since the Crusade of the 1100's. Jihads then were created and are still occuring. Along with this, we have the disagreements and differences between Shi'a and Sunni Islam which split along the lines of who thought who was Muhammads successor. In this area, as many others, succession and 'booty' (goods) are very important and have dictated the outcome of this area of the world. Along with the sects of Islam, you also have the major religions Christianity, Judaism, and animistic beliefs.
And that's the end of the history lesson. But seriously, taking into account this new knowledge, how would you answer these questions now? How do they differ from your previous answer? I answered them pretty differently when I did this too. This is why it's so important for people to have some background before they talk about topics like this. Just as you never judge a book by it's cover, you never judge a person by what the news channels say. Which exaggerate everything and give false labels.
To end, a quote:
Religion in fact is not knowledge, but a faith and aspiration; it is justified indeed both by an imprecise intuitive knowledge of large spiritual truths and by the subjective experience of souls that have risen beyond the ordinary life, but in itself it only gives us the hope and faith by which we may be induced to aspire to the intimate possession of the hidden tracts and larger realities of the Spirit. That we turn always the few distinct truths and the symbols or the particular discipline of a religion into a hard and fast dogmas, is a sign that as yet we are only infants in the spiritual knowledge and are yet far from the science of the Infinite. - Sri Aurobindo