National attitudes to bellydance and bellydancers

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bin_rodi

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Bin Rodi,
And did you live in Saudi Arabia after the 70s and are you Saudi? And are you a woman who would be in a position to see what goes on in fitness clubs there, or in beauty parlors for women, or the womens' side of the mosque?
I think that my best friend feels safe enough with me to tell me the truth of her life in Saudi Arabia. You have no idea of our history together and I resent you trying to imply that I am being told lies by my friend.
There are no venues for seeing belly dance in Saudi Arabia;no nightclubs, no theatres where it is presented, etc. If you choose to twist my words, go ahead. People belly dance in their own homes and at parties and they obviously are able to learn the dance at fitness clubs. If you choose not to believe it, then that's just fine, but don't come here on this forum and try to say that I don't know what I am talking about. Just because YOU did not see Soheir Zaki dance does not mean she did not. Just because YOU think people are "savagely punished" for dancing in Saudi Arabia does not mean it is the last word about it.
I have been a dancer for almost 33 years.... I am probably dancing longer than you have been on the planet. It is my passsion and my job to know what I am talking about in this field.
I am not a Muslim, I am not a Christian or a Hindi, etc. If you want to know my religion, I am a Panthiest who believes that there is not one thing that happens that is not from the mind and soul of God. However, this does not mean that I do not know anything about Islam or Christianity; only that I must dig a little deeper to get the answers about specific religions. Fortunately, my best friend is a Saudi Muslim and I have access to the knowledge and experience of Muslims from all over the world. I had dinner two nights ago in a restuarant that is owned by two Yemenis and a Jordanian. My companion was a Saudi. I feel free to ask any of them any relgious question.
I am not going to get into an argument with you here, unless you can back up your statements. I have proof on video that Soheir Zaki was dancing in 1990 and I trust my friend to tell me the truth. I am done responding unless you take a better tone.
A'isha Azar

being an egyptian means i live in a muslim community which also mean i know how muslim communities thinks and behave
may be there is levels of "islamization" in each muslim communities but still muslim community

your friend as a muslim -according to my face to face experiance with them since i born- will never expose reality of islam not because she is scared of you or the rest of muslims, but because she is "loyal" to islam
and islam says "eza bolaitom faestatero" or "if you did something wrong then hide it"
so she will hide how bellydancers in Saudi arabia treated to hide the unaccepted face of isalm

if you like her a lot this never mean she is honest, with all respect to you and her
 

taheya

New member
Aisha and bin rodi, sometimes personal experience can cloud judgement and i think as human beings we can put values and meanings on to things because we experience them or take on board what other people say and see it as 'truth'.
To really find out about what is going on in saudi arabia we would have to do some proper research into it....until then everything else is heresay. Aisha i think maybe bin rodi is coming across as blunt through language barrier, i wouldnt take offence.
 

Aisha Azar

New member
Attitude

Dear Taheya,
I had freindships with Arabs for practically my whole adult life, I do have some experience with the language barrier thing and thnis is why I am insulted by Bin Rodi's reply. I understand the deeper implications.
Because Islam works one way in one country does not mean it works that way in another. In fact the Prophet himself ( Peace be on him), said that the religion was for all people and that it was adaptable to different cultures. What I reported here is what I have learned from the people themselves. I report it as it was told to me. Not my opinion or my judgement, but what is related to me. What is possible in one part of the Islamic world is not possible in other parts, and often the culture in one place is completely different than the culture in another. The way that the religion is interpreted is very much reliant on these cultural differences, just as you see in any other religion.
Basically Bin Rodi has said that my freind will not tell me the truth in order to protect her religion. He is completely incorrect in this and should not have implied it since he does no know the situation between her and me. I have many times discussed this trait among Arabs not to disclose too much to those they do not know well. His attitude is correct in many cases, but he should not assume it is the same between me and my freind.
I have done "proper research" into the cultures and dances of the Muddle East and North Africa for over 30 years now, and I have accurately described what goes on in Saudi Arabia re belly dance. Not one opinion, but many years of listening to the Saudi people, watching private videos, being very close friends with several women, and attending parties given by Saudis.
Regards,
A'isha
 

Aniseteph

New member
ahaa you are a muslim then why did you lied about being a muslim??
that's explain anything then
dialog is over with you
you don't have credibility enough
WHAAAAT!!? :shok:
If A'isha has stated she is not Muslim and is using this phrase it just says to me that she has a deep respect for other peoples religions and is referring to the Prophet (peace be upon him)* in a respectful way. IMO she is wishing to avoid causing offence and show respect for Islam. That's all.

Things that mean one thing in your own community with one cultural background can come across completely differently to someone in another one. We are more local than we think, and you can't assume the rest world sees things in the same light as you do, even when you have religions or languages in common. That's why I posted this thread in the first place.

(rant about world peace and greater understanding deleted)

Cool Solstice Celebrations of whatever persuasion,

A
 

bin_rodi

New member
WHAAAAT!!? :shok:
If A'isha has stated she is not Muslim and is using this phrase it just says to me that she has a deep respect for other peoples religions and is referring to the Prophet (peace be upon him)* in a respectful way. IMO she is wishing to avoid causing offence and show respect for Islam. That's all.

Things that mean one thing in your own community with one cultural background can come across completely differently to someone in another one. We are more local than we think, and you can't assume the rest world sees things in the same light as you do, even when you have religions or languages in common. That's why I posted this thread in the first place.

(rant about world peace and greater understanding deleted)

Cool Solstice Celebrations of whatever persuasion,

A
i say to muslim people in egypt just "muhammad" and i never say (PBUH) and nobody of them accuse me i don't respect muhammad

i know alot of people egyptians, arabs, and from europe, america and south america respect the beliefs of the muslims and they never say the (PBUH) after muhammad word
she doesn't need to say (PBUH) to show her espect to muslims beliefs

the only who do is muslims
the only who do is a people deeply believe in him as a true prophet

that's explain why she defend beliefs she does not believe in
 

sstacy123

New member
i know alot of people egyptians, arabs, and from europe, america and south america respect the beliefs of the muslims and they never say the (PBUH) after muhammad word
the only who do is muslims
the only who do is a people deeply believe in him as a true prophet
You know A LOT??? A LOT is not all, so unless you know all, who are you to say? Just because A LOT of people wouldn't say it doesn't mean no one would. I think she knows her own religion better than anyone else, and there is no reason to question it.
 

Moon

New member
Bin Rodi said:
she doesn't need to say (PBUH) to show her espect to muslims beliefs
That she doesn't need to say it doesn't mean she has no right to say it. If she feels the need to say it this way out of respect or maybe for another reason, she has the right to do so, even though she's not a Muslima.
I think, that if she was as Muslima and had a lot of respect for the islam and for Muhammed she wouldn't say she isn't a Muslima, right?
 

taheya

New member
Bin rodi you have misunderstood what aisha is saying here, like anisteph says Aisha was being respectful of islam. She really has no need to lie about her religion!
Aisha, I very much respect what you have done for bellydancing, and the research you have done also. I also admire you love of authentic dance and your dedication to it is inspiring!
However I do get the impression that regarding saudi arabia and the dance scene your research may be a bit anetdotal. Living amongst saudi people and hearing their stories and watching videos is not the same thing as proper research. It seems that what you are talking about is your friends experiences and that cant be generalised to the whole population. Im not saying that what you are saying is wrong, but i think we need to keep open minds.
 

bin_rodi

New member
That she doesn't need to say it doesn't mean she has no right to say it. If she feels the need to say it this way out of respect or maybe for another reason, she has the right to do so, even though she's not a Muslima.
I think, that if she was as Muslima and had a lot of respect for the islam and for Muhammed she wouldn't say she isn't a Muslima, right?

i never said she has not the right to say it
i just wonder why she say it as long as she don't believe in islam???
what is the purpose as long as it's not insult to say it without the (PBUH)
 

belly_dancer

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at the risk of being "black balled" as a mere junior member... daring to speak out against the "elders" (meaning # of posts... no age discrimination here!)
I think, ESPECIALLY since someone ASKED for the imput of someone LIVING over "THERE", that we should RESPECT bin_rodi's viewpoint, just as much as A'isha's. Remember, he is experiencing his "muslim-ness", & his views on such, EVERY day for his whole life IN THAT CULTURE..... & even though A'isha has best friends who inform her (more truthfully than bin-rodi thinks, I would believe!) it is NOT the same as experiencing for oneself. IMO, I think that bin-rodi has been made to feel he needs to defend himself, due to previous posts to his explanations of what are his experiences.... I am sure that that is NOT what the people on this thread intended, just as I am sure he did not mean to insult people personally....
I have total mastery of the english language & western culture, & still, I feel very intimidated trying to make sure what I am TRYING to say will not be misconstrued by the rest of you... even though I am sure it will by some... (nothing beats face to face contact... no typos.... no type-overs.... body language, facial expression, tone of voice etc are ALL such an integral part of our "language"... where these flat typed words (not even hand-written to help see the "personality"!) can be SOOO easily misconstrued!!!)
so let us all presume.... that both sides are innocent until proven guilty...
it is sounding like a domestic squabble!!! (I do not like your tone of voice!!! etc) I think BOTH sides are trying to make their side known.... and just because one persons experience is different from yours, does not automatically mean the other person is lying.....
also.... not only is there a difference in culture, language barrier, sex (assuming bin_rodi is male!!) but there are sooo many other things that make a point of view VERY different... economics being a chief factor... the very poor viewpoint is a WHOLE different ball of wax than the prosperous one.... & we very few clues to guess economically, where these observations are coming from!!! I hope no one feels offended by my opinion, as that is not what is intended. Peace
 

taheya

New member
Belly dancer, you have a right to say what you think and i agree with what you are saying. I think it is so easy to get the wrong impression from posts and how people phrase things. I think i come across as being blunt when i write but hey ho! Its interesting listening to different points of view and it would be a bloody boring forum if we all agreed on everything! :lol:
 
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Aisha Azar

New member
Attitudes

Dear Belly Dancer and Taheya,
Yes, people are entitled to their opinions. When I state mine, I try to do so without calling another person a liar, or making decisions about what their religion is, or saying that they can not trust the word of their best friend without knowing either party or the things that they have gone through together. When I said that I don't care for the tone that Bin Rodi was taking, perhaps I am aware of something there that you are not.
Belly Dancer, not all people from the Middle East are knowledgeable about dance, especially one person might not know anything about how the dance manifests in another country, or often even in her/his own. I know that Bin Rodi has made several mistakes in what he stated about belly dance, partly because of my own physical evidence and partly due to the statements made by people from Saudi Arabia and video that I have seen of parties there. I stand by everything that I have written in this thread, most of which is NOT my opinion, but factual statements.
I will add here that even though I am not a Muslim, I do believe that Mohammed ( Peace be on him) was a messenger of God, just as I believe there have been many before and after him. I respect him for being a man who thought to educate women, let them inherit, give them a voice in government, let them own and buy and sell their own property, and many other things, in a time when most of the world was still treating females as cattle. He was a man of vision and intelligence beyond his time and place, and I think he heard the voice of the Devine and responded.
Regards,
A'isha
 
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There are times when these reading posts make my eyes hurt. Aniseteph made an excellent analogy about the blind man and the elephant. It's obvious that Bin Rodi and Aisha are see two different parts of the same elephant. Since everyone has an opinion, here's mine: There may have been other members willing to contribute to the thread but couldn't get a word in edgewise.
Yasmine
 

Aisha Azar

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Attitudes

Dear Yasmine,
Re Aniseteph's comment: we are not even feeling the same elephant.
One of the positives of the written forum is that everyone can have their say. If they choose not to contribute, then they make the choice. I know I have decided against speaking out a time or two...
Regards,
A'isha
 
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bin_rodi

New member
I do believe that Mohammed ( Peace be on him) was a messenger of God, just as I believe there have been many before and after him. I respect him for being a man who thought to educate women, let them inherit, give them a voice in government, let them own and buy and sell their own property, and many other things, in a time when most of the world was still treating females as cattle. He was a man of vision and intelligence beyond his time and place, and I think he heard the voice of the Devine and responded.
Regards,
A'isha
okay why didn't you said this from the begining???
come on! being a muslim is never a shame

even name Aish is the name of muhammad's wife who married her when she was 9 years old

Aisha - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

belly_dancer

New member
Dear Belly Dancer and Taheya,
Yes, people are entitled to their opinions. When I state mine, I try to do so without calling another person a liar, or making decisions about what their religion is, or saying that they can not trust the word of their best friend without knowing either party or the things that they have gone through together. When I said that I don't care for the tone that Bin Rodi was taking, perhaps I am aware of something there that you are not.
Belly Dancer, not all people from the Middle East are knowledgeable about dance, especially one person might not know anything about how the dance manifests in another country, or often even in her/his own. I know that Bin Rodi has made several mistakes in what he stated about belly dance, partly because of my own physical evidence and partly due to the statements made by people from Saudi Arabia and video that I have seen of parties there. I stand by everything that I have written in this thread, most of which is NOT my opinion, but factual statements.
I will add here that even though I am not a Muslim, I do believe that Mohammed ( Peace be on him) was a messenger of God, just as I believe there have been many before and after him. I respect him for being a man who thought to educate women, let them inherit, give them a voice in government, let them own and buy and sell their own property, and many other things, in a time when most of the world was still treating females as cattle. He was a man of vision and intelligence beyond his time and place, and I think he heard the voice of the Devine and responded.
Regards,
A'isha
I do not think from my post that I said that people of in the middle east "know" more about middle eastern dance JUST because they are middle eastern...although I would take the word of one who had the experience over one who was just told about it... (as would any court in America... I still believe that "hear-say" is not admissible as evidence) however, one would assume that bin_rodi would at least have an interest, or he would not have been on this forum... what I was defending was his right to his OPINION... & if you go back to his 1st couple of posts... it looks like what I have heard from most "educated" people here.... yes the top belly dancers there were loved /"and a little respected" but most "(the 3rd class") were /are looked upon as hookers and even with the top "respected" dancers.... STILL to this very day, they are "looked" down upon in society, as in they were basically "disowned" or had to run away from their families, they cannot marry into a "decent" family, as no "respectable" family wants their son to marry a belly dancer etc.... and you I think basically agreed... but said he was telling only one side (thus maybe putting him on the defense, even though I am sure this is not what you meant to do).... well of COURSE he was telling only one side....the side he experienced which I BELIEVE was how this thread started.... as a question about "how belly dancing was viewed in your area".... & I think bin_rodi was just trying to say what he viewed... being a "viewer" as opposed to a "viewee" in his experience... but then he was made to feel as if he had to defend his position.... in a foreign (to him) language!!! and from a "scholarly" WOMAN(no less!!!!) with "royal" friends.... so all I was TRYING to say is it SEEMED that he was sharing his experience ( which may be more average joe than privileged, which is of course the majority of the country.... & if true, may also explain his defensiveness)& he felt he got knocked for it, & then got a tad defensive.... & it all escalated from there...
you mentioned that everything you wrote in this thread was a "factual statement" (which I am NOT disputing!)... well he is an Egyptian/Muslim
factually stating how he and his countrymen felt about bellydancing..... so I guess my big ???? is
(insults on all sides aside.... not to mention the insult about your friendship with another woman thing not to be trusted...grrr... not just an American MAN thing to do :rolleyes: :rolleyes: I guess but world wide!)
why do you feel your "facts" are MORE "factual" than his??? I think they are different views of the same scene.
oh one more thing... what is the thing you know that we do not.... regarding his tone???
(btw... am not trying to make enemies... & other things you have posted lead me to believe that you are one cool chick A'isha... but I have a bad habit of always standing up for the underdog... & asking too many questions til I understand!)
 

Kiraze

New member

being an egyptian means i live in a muslim community which also mean i know how muslim communities thinks and behave
may be there is levels of "islamization" in each muslim communities but still muslim community
This interesting subject has gone lately to strange debate about who or what Islam or being Muslim is. I am glad about Bin Rodi´s viewpoint in this discussion about how Muslim in Egypt see dance, but as I tried to say before all the Muslim communities are not any more similar than Christian communities. So if you know how Egyptian Muslim community thinks you still probably have no idea how Muslims think in e.g. Singapore (where Islam is one of the official religions of the country) or how Muslims in Turkey think etc any more than Finnish Christian would know about thinking of Christians in Namibia or Peru etc.

Muslim world is not homogenous place with one culture, history and language: Islam is a global religion with well over 1 billion supporters (biggest Muslim population being in Indonesia, India, Pakistan and China - so the culture behind the religion is much different in majority of Muslim communities than it is in Egypt)
 

taheya

New member
Everybody who has contributed here has valuable points to make and we can only learn from them. I think it is great to hear the opinions from somebody who is living in Cairo of the image of the dance scene there. We might not like what we hear....i find it hard to hear of the poor reputation bellydance has got, as im very dedicated to the dance but it is still important for us to hear that side of things.
Knowledge is power and when we are aware of negative aspects associated with bellydance we can work on improving that image.
 
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