Veiling And Male Cousins Noted

Veiling and Male Cousins

Noted ignoramus Stanley Kurtz, an India anthropologist who wrote his dissertation on a psychoanalytic theory of Hindu mother goddesses and who knows nothing about the Middle East, has delivered himself of the theory that “veiling” protects male cousins of Muslim women from the competition of outsiders seeking their hands in marriage.

For an Iraqi Muslim woman’s response, see:



What she doesn’t say is that veiling in the sense of covering the face has for centuries been a solely upper-class practice, that the vast majority of Muslim women has never veiled or been secluded (hard for peasants or pastoral nomads to pull off), and that cousin marriage in the Middle East is a minority practice, mainly among landholding families as a way of keeping estates together.

Kurtz has been pushing himself with the Republicans in Congress as a Middle East expert who deserves to get to tell people like me what they can and cannot say. It must be nice to be in the pay of eccentric old rich conservative men, who arrange for you to testify in congress about things you know nothing about. Or, maybe not. Imagine what they must demand in return.

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