Arab men and dating

04-Oct-2020 14:00

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The freedom of choosing one’s spouse has always been a right reserved to men in the Arab world, and while some women still choose to date and marry outside their religion, they’re often met with the harsh reality that the act is frowned upon.

It’s a pretty sensitive topic, particularly for Muslim Arabs. For men, interfaith marriages are in line with Sharia law, and societally widely accepted.

AHMED, who lives in Cairo, allows his wife to work.

“At first, I insisted she stay at home, but she was able to raise the kids and care for the house and still have time to go to work,” he says. “Of course, as a man, I’m the main provider for the family.

Some 70% of Egyptian men still approve of female genital mutilation (FGM).

Well over half of Egyptian women also say they approve of FGM.

A new survey by the UN and Promundo, an advocacy group, examines Arab men’s views on male-female relations.

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But the attitude persists even in relatively liberal parts of the Arab world, such as Morocco, where 77% of men believe it is their duty to exercise guardianship over female relatives (see chart).

Another explanation is that a general climate of religious conservatism makes men suspicious of newfangled liberties.