Wednesday, September 06, 2006

And so it begins . . .

So, why exactly am I doing this blog?

I moved to Qatar a few months ago and it surprised me how it was nothing like I had expected. English is widely spoken, women can work and drive cars, and most of the non-Arab women do not wear abayas (the long black clothing that covers them head to toe), instead wearing jeans and t-shirts or whatever. No one has cared that I am not Muslim, no one has stopped me in the street to 'convert' me, damn me for my Western-heathen ways, or tell me that they dislike America/the West/whatever. It's been pretty mellow actually.

I'm a skeptic as well as an armchair scientist (i.e. I read science magazines and webarticles) and I've wondered about how it works here in an Shar'ia country. Right now in America there is an increasing amount of anti-science, whether it be the push for creationism/intelligent design in schools, new age mumbo-jumbo clogging the TV airwaves, anti-vaccination hoopla, or quack medical products like HeadOn getting more and more recognition in the minds of the consumer. Do things like this make inroads here in Qatar? Do they have some other old superstitions that we aren't familiar with in the West? How does Islam mesh with critical thinking and science? I hope over time to find out.

I will also use this blog to discuss, and hopefully debunk, some common misconceptions about the Middle East and Islam that, perhaps thanks to Western media, are widespread in the West. The Islamic world is big and involves many, many different nations. How people live under Islam differs from place to place so one can't just paint sweeping generalizations about Islamic Nations as those generalizations just won't apply in a lot of countries. Algeria is not the same as Egypt, Egypt is very different from Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia is nothing like Lebanon, and so on. Life in Qatar is nothing like, say, Afghanistan yet it surprised me how many people I've talked to figured it would be. Hopefully over time readers of this blog will see the differences.

If there is anything specific that you want to know about life in Qatar, or science and research here, let me know and I'll see what I can find out. I do requests! :)


Anonymous said...

Sorry I'm a little late. I men A LOT. well, about your question, you probably by now know you probably know the answer. there are not anti-science groups or whatever they call it in Qatar, at least by the muslims. infact, islam encourages science and knowledge, it is considered worship! except the thing that humanity began from apes, and I think most religion agree with it I guess.
again, sorry for being late and I hope i answered your question

Glen McKay said...

Hi, see my post of May 27, 2009

Abid said...

Just noticed this blog. Added to blogroll. It's a good read! Expect to see lots of comments!