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Posted in: American Bride

Published on Mar 10, 2014 by Phyllis Chesler

Written for

READING GROUP QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION

An American Bride in Kabul


Why do you think the author waited 50 years to tell this story?

What do you think drew her to the East?

Could you have traveled to harems in the 19th century or climbed mountains in dangerous countries as a woman alone--as so many Western women travelers have done? Chesler recounts some of their travels. Who did you like the most?

Phyllis had no clue that Abdul Kareem would change when he returned to Afghanistan. Why do you think he changed so abruptly and so radically?

Can you imagine what relationships might like between wives and children in a polygamous household?

What would it be like to live with your mother-in-law and to have to obey her?

Female modesty is a tenet of a number of religions. Do you think women who follow those religions welcome these requirements or see them as burdensome restrictions?

Why do you think female modesty is an issue in religions? Can you think of religions that also stress modesty in dress for males?

In Islam, there are various degrees of clothing used in the pursuit of female modesty, the most extreme being the burqa. Chesler likens this to a sensory deprivation isolation chamber. How would your daily life change if you wore a burqa?

Abdul Kareem wrote to Phyllis after she returned to the United States, pleading with her to return. Why would someone want to be married to a person so clearly unhappy in the relationship?

Chesler feels that the events of 9/11 set her life on a new path. How would your life be different if those events had never happened? Recall that 9/11 was plotted in Afghanistan.

Today, Chesler works with Muslim dissidents and feminists and believes that our governments should do likewise. Why do so many governments consult with the most fundamentalist of Muslims in the West as opposed to those in favor of human rights and women's rights?


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