The New York Times reported this weekend that Muslim clerics are increasingly agitated about depictions of premarital sex and loosened-up gender roles on TV. During the holy month of Ramadan, which is taking place right now, there have been an usually high number of programming canceled at the behest of religious leaders.
But these programs aren't anywhere near as racy as Sex & the City and Desperate Housewives. No, these shows cover content that we often take for granted in the West:
..."Noor," the popular Turkish series that ran over the summer... violated Arab cultural taboos in a number of ways: besides having Muslim characters who drank wine with dinner and had premarital sex, one of the male protagonist's cousins had an abortion... Perhaps more important, the male protagonist, called Muhammad in the Arabic version, treats his wife as an equal and supports her career as a fashion designer... Its handsome protagonist became a heartthrob, and his respectful treatment of his wife caused marital arguments and even divorces in several countries, according to reports in Arab newspapers.
Oh, my. "Respectful treatment" inciting divorces! It's curious to think that the content of a television program could be so earth-shattering to a society. But then again, it's surely not unprecedented in American society: think of how many Samantha Jones' out there felt more secure about their sleeping-around ways after Sex and the City straddled our collective consciousness in 1998.